I have found the zen for travelers. Well, I think so anyway. In my last post, I stated that I learned my expectations exceeded what the island people wanted to give. And that if I stopped expecting something from them, I would perhaps be better accepted in return. I went about letting what will be, be. Today, I decided not to ‘try’ but to just be in the moment.
My Canadian friends, who left the island had told me about a little sandwich place and I went about looking for it. Much to my surprise, all along the way, a few restaurant workers smiled at me in recognition of my appearance in their establishments during the week. But when I got to the sandwich place I was greeted with smiles by a mother and daughter. The daughter waited on me and put together a sandwich and then put it in a toaster and handed it to me. She told me where I could sit and order something to drink. A bit later, she came out and sat with me and we began to talk about the Croatian people, her college studies and my traveling experience.
Her name is aptly suited for her: Glloria Raci. She is finished with her college studies except for the desertion on bilingual education for children. She told me that many islanders have come from Armenia and do not speak Croatian which causes difficulty not only for the child, but for everyone. It’s a problem and is something dear to her heart.
She, her brother and parents moved to Croatia from Kosovo about twenty years ago when the country was at war, so she is sympathetic to the language difficulties of immigrants.
Glloria is beautiful: shiny black hair, dark eyes and clear complexion. She beams out of a smiling face, friendliness and acceptance with a big dose of humor. Her ultimate goal is to work with children.
In the town, Children run, ride bicycles and play on the main street facing the harbor, where the tourists and locals gather to drink, eat and people-watch. I noticed two girls on a bicycle one day, riding back and forth, back and forth. A small Asian girl road backwards on a bicycle driven by an older looking blond headed girl. Both looked confident in their chosen place on the bicycle.
Tonight the little Asian girl crept up to Glloria to say hello, and it was then that I noticed Glloria’s love for children.
When the little girl left, Glloria said the little girl had been adopted from Taiwan and this was her first summer in Komiza, and the little girl assimilated very well in the new environment.
That was easy to see.
Glloria gave me another insight into the Croatian people. Some older people may feel a bit left behind, or trapped in a life style that doesn’t have an interesting future. Young people go off to college and most do not return. “The older people may be feeling a bit frustrated with their routine life,” she said.
I had my sandwich and Glloria told me to come back in the evening and she would treat me to a typical Croatian sandwich. And that I did. It was sardines, cheese and a nice sauce inside toasted bread. Delicious.
I sat and talked with her and met her brother, who was waiting on tables for drinks, while Glloria took her turn at the sandwich counter.
The family also has a jewelry store and her mother was taking care of that shop.
The evening was lovely and I wish I could stay a bit longer now that I have a better understanding of the people, and by the way, a better understanding of myself.
In the afternoon after meeting Glloria I took a walk into a different direction and found the high school and the grade school, by walking up a narrow walk-way on a series of steps that were placed far apart.
Three little boys came walking down the steps and when they saw me take a photo one of the boys made a face. I thought that was so cute that I asked him to do it again. The little ham he is, obliged.
Also on the walk, I came to a doctors office while a woman walked down out of the building. “Do you remember me?”
“I’m not sure. Where have we met?”
“You sat next to me on the bus on that rainy day from the ferry to Komiza.”
“Oh, yes, I remember you now.”
“Have you had a good time here in Komiza?”
“Yes, once I got familiar with the people.”
By the way I learned that with the choices of coffee: cappuccino, espresso coffee, and black coffee, coffee with cream, coffee with milk, there’s one called American coffee. “What is that,” I asked a waitress.
“Oh, that’s just plain coffee in a bigger cup.” Talk about cultural exchange
I also learned the stone steps I saw all along the walkways in Split and some in Komiza, are indeed lime-stone, quarried from Croatia.
The White House in Washington, D.C. drew upon a type of Croatian limestone to help build its white columns.
This is my last evening in Komiza. I will leave on the ferry back to Split tomorrow around 2 p.m., stay all night and then I’ll be off to…..