This story was written in Croatia in December but I’m finishing it up currently in Cambodia sitting by the beach in May! It’s long but there’s a good moral to the story Please let’s skip the discussion about procrastination! Enjoy!!! It’s been a long time coming:
Ahhh time for a blog I suppose. I’m feeling so sleepy but as usual, pushing through and staying up later than Ideal. Croatian winter days are short. 7 a.m. sunrise and then it already slowly disappears by 3 p.m. and by 4:30 it’s almost dark! Today has been unbelievably stressful but it turned around as the day went on. Right now I can hear one Canadian guy snoring lightly and there’s also an Argentinian girl in my room. I awoke this morning and started packing after a nightmare situation of picking an airbnb that is so noisy all day with construction work.
I arrived in Dubrovnik on November 23. I was sad to leave Split as I had just met a local guy that I had a great time with and had finally settled in and felt a bit at home. But it was time to go. I had rested from my long travels and had many new adventures awaiting.
After spending a month in Split working on building this blog, I packed up and said goodbye to my sweet local airbnb host who I lived with for the past four weeks. I hoped I wouldn’t have to go far with my heavy luggage and thankfully ten minutes and a few turns later I found the bus station. I put my luggage under the bus and climbed aboard. I wished that I had booked an earlier bus as I wound along the road with very dark views of the mountains.
When I arrived to Dubrovnik, I met a chubby soft spoken man in his late 20’s who directed me to the bus to town. He had black curly hair and was pretty tall and big in general. Luckily he was going in the same direction and kindly told me when to get off the bus.
I awkwardly pulled all my luggage on the bus when it arrived and after about five minutes I got off and asked a man about the direction of my airbnb. This guy is a local who plays guitar all day long in the old town and is known to be a bit eccentric I’d find out later from my airbnb host. He grabbed my luggage and we walked in circles up and down the cobble stoned roads until finally my host of airbnb met me. She’s just 21, dark hair, light skin, and brown eyes. Her brother was also there. Age 14. When did 14 start looking so young? I was annoyed already at the beginning with this girl and her lack of directions and assistance in finding the place. I got used to the help of my previous hosts and staff at the hostels I suppose so I expected something similar here. The location was hidden in some bushes and VERY hard to locate even with maps.
Ready to hurry up and ditch my luggage, I followed them to my new home for the month. I thanked Sandro the guitar player for helping me and then I was left alone. For the next several days wind ripped through the house and it rained all day every day. I was going mad. I was stuck inside with no social interactions. I had to get out meet locals soon or make friends soon!
The weight on my shoulders got heavier as I had no sun and was stuck inside so I had to fix this problem! I got on couchsurfing and tinder–two good apps for at least getting out, meeting new people, and learning about the city and people. Tinder is not the best in Croatia. There are so many f*ckboys who just want one thing but couchsurfing isn’t that popular in the Balkans so sometimes tinder is worth a shot. I used it in the past and found the guys can be really interesting and I learn a lot and had fun exploring the city local style and showing them the city through a tourists eyes!
One of the rainy nights I couldn’t tolerate the isolation any longer and invited one of the couchsurf guys over who I was supposed to hang out with every day since three days ago but never did because of the rain. He had very good reviews and he brought a bottle of wine and mixed it with sparkling water as his trick to avoid a hangover. I tried it..not great and ironically it was the worst hangover I’ve had since the time I met a group of Australians who went crazy buying shots and drinks all night for everyone in Hong Kong. I was surprised how hungover I was the next day! I didn’t think I drank that much and drank water but I took a break from alcohol all of November so maybe my body was in shock.
The couchsurfer guy’s name was Mateo. He had light brown short haired and slightly above average height with a sporty build. The night was really interesting as he talked majority of the time with tales of filming movies in the city and what it was like being an extra and doing random jobs for the celebrities. He had some interesting and funny quirks in his personality. For instance, he said he loves when guys can eat a lot and talked about one celebrity eating so much that his friend who was the chef and instructed to cook 5 meals a day for the celebrity began to realize how challenging it would be when he saw how much the guy could eat! He said he liked bananas and ate them so often that it was like three trash cans full of bananas.
He talked about the horses and how the stone was rough on their hooves even with the shoes but how cool it was to see them in the old city like it was so long ago. We talked about the apartment and the problem with the noisy construction all day. He was surprised walking in to see all of my clothes in the sink because the washing machine also didn’t work and they couldn’t guarantee they would fix it. He told me I should try to get out and it wasn’t right and that he worked for a rental company and everything should be perfect. The night ended after listening to some serbian songs and him telling about the amazing summers in Dubrovnik and how he had to insist to one club that he pay entrance because he would always be in the club and buy too many drinks and party too often when the owners let him in for free.
He told me another funny story of his dad asking to go out to the club with him because he was a really good dancer in his day and how shocked he was to see how clubs are now. He was trying to dance to techno and surprised at the people. It sounds like it was quite an adventure for him!
When we were well into the tipsy zone, I noticed the time! Five hours! It was already 3 a.m.! I was tired by then and he had to work so we said goodbyes and he went home and I straight to bed.
After realizing the construction was going to be a daily occurrence in the airbnb and that the laundry machine was broken and not going to be fixed, I had to get out of there. I asked for a partial refund and recorded on my phone how loud the construction is and sent it to the host. Unfortunately I had to fight for the refund and get airbnb involved and my suitcase wheel broke off as I had to walk 20 minutes into town. I could push on one side of it and slowly make my way to the old town . . . but it was a struggle!
I learned quickly that this is not New Zealand! The people are not friendly or helpful like in NZ or other parts of Europe and America. I sat on my suitcase on the sidewalk trying to inspect my suitcase to see if I could push the wheel back in to make it long enough to get to town. As I inspected, I was surprised at all the people just walking by minding their own business. Even when I struggled with my three legged suitcase and two bags, no one stopped! NOT ONE asked if I am okay. In New Zealand and the US, I know at least one person would help a sister out. True, I didn’t get robbed like in some countries but I was so disappointed in Croatia.
In these moments, I began to question what I am doing. Why am I HERE?! This is not fun anymore. Slowly but surely I got inside of the Dubrovnik walls and then saw I had the steepest and smallest stone steps to climb with my broken luggage! But this time I decided to grab the two guys walking by and asked if they would please help me carry this broken luggage up the stairs. They agreed and one more guy gave me directions on the way. Finally I made it to the hostel I would stay for now. So, Croatia just has different societal rules I think and one MUST ask if you need help. Every country is different and sometimes it just takes some patience and time to understand the differences and adapt.
I got into the hostel and saw the tiny room crammed with four beds but I knew it was temporary so it would be fine until I could find a new suitcase and figure out where I should go next. I met my new roommates later. An American guy from Ohio, A Mexican guy, and an Argentinian girl.
It Turns out that this disaster was actually the best bad situation! The rain slowed and I was going hiking, drinking mulled wine, enjoying the Christmas Markets, and listening to the concerts that I had missed by being out of the city and unwilling to trudge through the rain in the dark! I had one fun night with Mateo at the air bnb but the rest of the time I was alone in that house feeling way too isolated for the 70% of my personality that’s extroverted.
In the hostel had a fantastic group of friends now including a Russian girl and American girl. I stayed for three nights and had such a nice time in Dubrovnik! I went to some sights of the Game of Thrones and took many pictures of this enchanting town.
The moral of the story is DON’T GIVE UP even when something doesn’t seem to be working out. I find that every time things aren’t working, the problems lead to something so much better! Whether this is a crumbling relationship, getting fired from a job, missing the bus, missing the train (there’s another story for that one!!!!), circumstances ALWAYS work out. Whatever you’re struggling with, keep working at it and persevere. The best place to look for the solution is inside of yourself and ask hard questions! If something isn’t working, examine it and figure out what you need to do. But, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Thanks for reading! See you in the next post.