I let a lot of things go unsaid because actions speak louder than words. I always assumed that by living in Croatia it was a clear sign that I wanted to be here.
This simple assumption doesn’t seem to be the case for lots of people and this goes for Croats and non-Croats alike.
This being said, I still can’t figure out why I keep getting asked what I’m doing here in Croatia. I suppose that common logic assumes that since Canada - the country of my birth - is “better” than Croatia, I must be out of my mind to have chosen to live here.
Now, I do tend to make my fair share of assumptions, but we can safely say that neither Canada nor Croatia is burdened by cases of war, famine, over-population, persecution or extreme poverty that exist in many countries around the world. Therefore, we should be able to conclude that for the most part people are living in those countries because they choose to. So, again, why does the question keep coming up?
In my experience, Croatians ask this question because they have a tendency to think problems such as corruption, nepotism, cronyism, low wages, or a slow and over-burdened judiciary are unique to Croatia or are somehow particularly acute here. This is clearly false because these problems exist in every human society.
But the question keeps coming up, so I’m not sure what to make of it. At the same time, I’m definitely not the only one who has moved to Croatia (Croat and non-Croat alike) in search of a completely subjective idea of a “better” life.
This is precisely why I was confused to have been asked this question by a couple of Canadians living in Croatia with no pre-existing Croatian bias (for good or for bad). I’m talking about a highly-educated successful couple here on a temporary work contract who have lived all over the world. They have the benefit of perspective - which many Croatians lack - so that’s probably why I was taken aback.
I love and respect both countries, but I’m here in Croatia because, for me, there are more pros than cons. That’s it. Maybe I’m the crazy one, but in any case, no matter how you dice it, Croatian problems here are definitely “first-world” problems.
I live here simply because I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.