I went to Makarska, Croatia with Kent and Rebecca for a last hurrah on the seaside this weekend. Croatia is absolutely beautiful, and Makarska is a nice coastal town that has tourists but isn't one of the main tourist cities. It seemed like most of the people on the beach were Croatians who rent summer apartments, Germans and other former Yugoslavian nationalities... I didn't hear much English other than a few Australians.
It was an amazing few days, we rented an apartment a bit up the mountain and walked to the beach. We had "sunrise" coffee the first day, which involved Kent waking us up at 5:30am and listening to us complain while he made us eggs, and then having coffee on the beach before the rest of the world was really awake. The nice part about sitting on the beach all day is you can sleep off the fact that you got up at dawn, as long as you generously apply SPF 50.
We had big plans to go to the little islands off Makarska, but hanging out on the pebble beach and walking the boardwalk turned out to be plenty for the two full days we spent there. I loved the little seaside shops with Croatian products and crafts, I really wish I had the money to buy artwork and have it sent home. Rebecca and I continued the matching bag epidemic, buying matching nautical striped beach bags for about $20. The beachside restaurants were extremely cheap by American standards, a little pricey for Croatians/Bosnians but I don't think $8 (45kn) is bad for salad, fresh fish filets and veggies by the ocean.
I rented a chair and umbrella on our second beach day, because my best efforts with SPF 50 are still no match for the Croatian sun. Of course, that was the day it started raining at 1pm... but my favorite moment was when a Croatian man selling locally-made tanning oil stopped by my chair. I'm literally as white as they come, I always buy the second or third palest shade of makeup available and Do. Not. Tan. Ever. He was speaking Croatian so I only understood "dobro" (good), but judging on how long he talked at me despite me saying "ne, hvala" (no thank you) about 10 times I think he was telling me "You're extremely pale and need all the help you can get, honey.. so use this great oil while you're under that umbrella so you stop blinding everyone with your whiteness"!!
As far as the next step in my life, when I get home I'm excited to start a new chapter in a new place... New York City!
I decided not to return to Las Vegas, so I won't be in school this fall. I wanted to be closer to my family since my dad was sick, and over the course of this year I fell in love with a pretty amazing guy who lives in New York. So Aleks and I decided to move in together (with Rudy of course) in Jersey City. I'm planning on freelancing and teaching as much as possible, and will most likely have a part-time job at a web development firm in Manhattan. I think New York will have a lot to offer, and I'm incredibly excited to make the move! I'm playing a gig in Virginia at the Ash Lawn Opera Company July 23-August 12, and then I'll fly to Las Vegas to collect/sell my stuff, see friends and drive back to New York in early September.
I'm looking forward to being in America again, but I'm glad I'll be living in New York where almost every culture known to man is squished into one huge city. There are a few Bosnian markets and cafés in Queens, so if I'm ever pining for a Kiseljak or some Milka chocolate, I can hop on the train and go get it. I think NYC is one of the few places in America where I'll hear as many languages as I have on a daily basis here in Europe.
It's kind of amazing to look back at old posts and journal entries and think about how much I've grown in such a short period of time. I'm not afraid of much any more, and I think my perception of the world at large and my place in it has changed for the better. The only thing limiting me was me. I don't talk much about Aleks on here, but I'm incredibly thankful I have him in my life. I never thought I would find someone so loving, generous and kind, someone who gets me the way he does and accepts me for who I am, or that at the end of this trip I'd be moving in with such a fantastic guy. As my mother said, I'm the only person she knows who would have to live halfway around the world to fall in love with some guy from New Jersey... But I'm so very glad I did.