As I sit here, it is now 5:15 PM in Zapresic, Croatia but my body and mind still feel as though it is about 10 AM or probably more accurately, somewhere in between as I adjust to the seven hour timezone difference. It’s been an interesting last 48 hours. As I’ve experienced my first timezone crossover, I would describe it as pulling an “all nighter” only this time it’s as if you are sleeping during the day and staying up at night every day and night for the next two weeks.
It’s all like a dream.
If you’re old enough and nerdy enough (or should I say COOL enough ) to have seen The Matrix movies, it’s like what the guy at Neo’s door tells him about being on some drug. “You’re not fully asleep, but you’re not fully awake” OK, that’s not a direct quote, but you get the idea. This has been my face the last couple days. Anyway enough about that.
Today we had our first informational meeting. Only two showed up; one man and one woman, but we are having another meeting 90 minutes from now. This will hopefully draw in much more people as they will have been off work for the day. We expect to have around 20 or so. Hopefully even more than that.
I sat down with Anita today who is an endoscopic nurse in Zagreb. We went through lesson one of the book of Luke, the first and main book of the Let’s Start Talking program.
A quick rundown of LST: You sit with someone who wants to learn conversational English. You have them read a short excerpt of the bible, in this case Luke, and you talk with them about what they’ve read. It’s dually beneficial. They get to hear/read the gospel and learn English with a native speaker simultaneously. I sat with Anita today and was impressed with her understanding and knowledge. She said many people are taught English in grade school all the way up to college. It’s the primary foreign language taught here. Most people also know a little bit of German, few know Italian and Spanish as well. Marijana, one of the workers of the church, knows all four. Pretty impressive. Many Croatian words have a German root as well. I learned that this is because Croatia used to be a part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire about 100 years ago or something like that.
We will be getting a day or so to travel in this two week time frame. We were initially thinking about visiting Vienna but as we have found out the travel time would most likely be like traveling from Tulsa to Dallas (4-4.5 hours), we aren’t so sure we’re going to do that now. I think we’re leaning towards traveling to the Coastal region to the West. The beaches are supposed to be very beautiful and there is a national park that is ranked as one of the most beautiful areas in the world. It is called Plitvice Lakes National Park. You can see more about it here:
I’m certainly not opposed, as you can see! I love the beach too. So yeah, that’s probably what we’ll do.
We went to Kaufland, a German grocery store this morning. I was pretty proud of us. For the most part we figured out what we needed to buy and although we couldn’t read most labels, most places have the staple foods: bread, lunch meat, milk, cereal, chips, pasta, juice, etc.
We didn’t really see too much out of the ordinary (or what Americans would call ordinary) We did noticed Paprika was the chip flavor of choice. We found some BBQ chips that were simple referred to as “Western Style” 🙂
I met a few kids yesterday and we played a little bball on the church’s bball court. Their names were Peter, Ian, and Luke. Probably not how they spell them, but I’m sure I’m close. Good kids. They did not want me to stop playing but dinner was ready and I was plagued with jet lag so I was very hungry and very tired. Maybe I should have pushed through a little longer, I don’t know.
Today we drove around to more of the area and registered ourselves with the police. It was kinda funny the way Ivan (the preacher) phrased it at first. He said he was going to have report us to the police. We were like, “did we do something wrong?” but we figured out what he meant pretty quickly. In Croatia, if you aren’t a citizen, you must report to the police within 24 hours if you plan on staying longer than a day. We are only here for two weeks so we are considered tourists and don’t have to get visas or anything like that. It was a fairly simple process. We just showed them our passports and filled out a little form.
Then we went around with Ivan to witness him do some of his business with banks. Billy and I were especially interested in this since we both work in the banking industry back home. It was interesting when you go into the branch because they have a machine there with different buttons. 1 would be Checking, 2 Savings, 3 Credit, etc. You would push a button and then get a receipt with a number on it. Then when they called your number, you could go up to the teller line. It was interesting, but not as much to you non-banker folks.
Then we drove around a few of the neighborhoods. We saw some duplexes Ivan said were about 1500-1800 sq ft. He said they went for $200-250k. Unbelievable. It’s like what you would pay on the coasts in America I guess. Oklahomans really are lucky in that the cost of living is so low.
It’s been fairly cold and dreary these last two days. I hope it warms up soon because I only have so many jeans! I brought many shorts and short -sleeve shirts and I plan on using them.
All in all, it has been a great experience here so far. Let’s see what these next few days bring. I’ll try and keep you updated as much as I can.
Until next time…check out this view! We’ll see if I can see it in person.