Originally from Canada, I’ve been calling Croatia home for almost ten years.
I’m an early riser, and I wake up every day at 6 am. I love waking up early; it gives me a sense of eternity, a feel that there is a long day ahead to enjoy.
I am a total coffee addict, and the first thing I do in the morning, with my eyes still half-closed, is to turn the kitchen stove on. I always prepare my moka pot previous night, before going to bed. So the only thing to do in the morning to get my cup of joy is to turn on the stove’s knob.
I am usually always on the go, and cannot sit still for a very long time. But mornings are different. I like to take it slowly. Being expat in a country whose language I don’t really speak, and where nobody really speaks my language, defines my morning routine: I like to watch Télématin followed by Le Journal de Radio Canada while enjoying my morning coffee. I’ve never done this back home (I used to listen to a local radio). But this is the only time of the day when I hear French, and it feels good.
I work from home, but my girlfriend holds a steady job. That means that I am in charge of housework. We live in a small village just few kilometers from Poreč. A public transport is not frequent and thus, not a feasible option to get around. This means that we depend on our car a lot. I drive my girlfriend to work, and then go to the local green market to get my daily provisions.
Back at home, I prepare our meal for a day. People often think that I love cooking. I rather say that I don’t mind cooking. I work from home, I have time to cook and I truly believe that what we eat is extremely important. This is why I cook. I cook from scratch every day. Great thing about living in Croatia is that we still get really fresh and locally grown produce. I always shop at the local market, and know exactly what produce to buy from whom. I have my fishmonger, my cheesemonger, my tomato guy. I buy homemade anchovies, both salted and marinated, and kefir (a creamy and sour milk product similar to yoghurt but so much healthier) from my neighbor. I buy my olive oil and excellent wine directly from small producers in nearby villages.
I usually spend my afternoons working either on my blog or on other projects I take on. My neighbor comes for a coffee every afternoon. He’s on paternity leave, so the three of us, I, he and his little daughter Stella, have an afternoon bite and a coffee together (okay, we don’t make Stella drink coffee, I promise!).
The best part of the day is late afternoon when my girlfriend returns from work. Whenever possible (summer almost every day, and winter when it’s not raining) we eat our dinner outside. But not at our terrace or garden. Instead, we go for a picnic by the sea. We have our favorite picnic spot, at a small beach not far from our house. We have a picnic bag where we carry all that’s needed (including a bottle of wine and two fancy wine glasses), two folding chairs, and a hammock. This is our time. We love it and wouldn’t change it for anything. Life is simply great!
All the benefits of living in a small town by the sea pay off at this very moment. True, we don’t have a rich cultural life at our disposal, exotic ethnic restaurants, or take out to order from at 2 am. But we do have the sea, we don’t have traffic jams, and yes in a same day we can go to work, come back, go to the beach, enjoy a picnic, and have a swim, or a bicycle ride.
Before heading home we always go for a glass of wine at Vitriol, the best sunset bar in all Istria. Vitriol is located in Novigrad. It has a wonderful seafront terrace, a good vibe, a great selection of imported beers, and local wine by glass, and really affordable prices.
I am usually in bed by 11 pm.
Weekends we spend with friends, either cycling, restaurant hopping or touring wine cellars. Istria, the northern Adriatic region of Croatia where we live, is renowned for its extra virgin olive oil, white wine Malvasija Istarska, and other fine produce like truffles, wild asparagus, and goat cheese.
There are lots of gourmet events all year around. These events celebrate seasonal and local ingredients. They include anything from sole fish, spider crab, wild asparagus, olive oil, prosciutto, wine, truffles, and alike.
This is my everyday life in Croatia. It’s not filled with exciting adventures, or constant travels, but this is the life I made here in Croatia and that I love. Life is about small things, small joys, and making yourself happy wherever you are.