In Zagreb city, there’s none of that customer bullshit stuff. It’s quick- ‘What do you want?’ And if you don’t know- best get out of the way. There’s no fancy names for things to make up for tasteless food. That’s because the food speaks for itself, dancing the Kolo on your tongue!
There’s no special sizes or additions- ‘This is what we have, you want it or not?’ The old women in the market sell their goods and laugh as deeply as their wrinkles. They’re out there every day, cackling away, underneath red umbrellas.
“Hvala!” I say. And a jumbo smile comes tumbling right at me every time. It’s genuine. It makes my day.
While walking city streets I spy illicit expressions adorning walls, walls that shed skin like snakes.
All this makes me wonder, what are the messages that Croatians grow up hearing. What is valued?
Well, the best way to understand someone is to look at what they do.
Croatians are honest and at the same time have a sassy sense of humor.
When at work they really seem to enjoy what it is they’re doing! The bus drivers are smiling, the dentists are cracking one another up, the bakers are laughing, the police are enjoying a casual conversation with a neighborhood resident. I’m not saying theirs is a utopia, but I get the sense they don’t feel like they have to fake it.
And when they’re not at work, they’re in an outdoor cafe, sharing a cappuccino with friends. No rush. The visit can go on for hours.
From apartment buildings I smell delicious food cooking.
From the tiled corridor I hear women singing… Such bewitching traditional music. Their voices reflecting off walls, they play. I slip closer, hypnotized like a lizard receiving a belly rub…
An old couple hold hands while taking an evening stroll.
Croatians have learned that success is not about being perfect. Nor is it about what kind of work you do, or how much money you make. Rather, it’s about HOW you live. Do you play? Do you laugh? Do you tell it like it is? All we have is this moment right now, so live it well.