"...There is the endless coffee-drinking, there are dangers of mysterious drafts that lurk behind every open window, there are mothers-in-law, ubiquitous pillars of society and the absolute importance of wearing slippers, but there is also the meaning of friendship and life being lived in a slower, more connected way..."
The author, Cody McClain Brown is an American who fell in love with a Croatian girl called Silvana. He met her in Oklahoma while they were both studying at the same University. At first he thought she was Russian (a common mistake I hear :) ) but when she corrected him and told him she was from Croatia, the author had to admit the lack of knowledge of the aforementioned country.
You see, the author envisioned Croatia as a post-communist, socialist, poor country torn by war where the girls walk around looking like peasant girls with kerchiefs on their heads and the buildings are all grey and warned down by time and neglect.
Let's just say that this wrong perception created a little gap between him and his future wife. After some chasing and pleading and a lot of patience, he managed to woo her and they flew to Europe. They lived and worked in Istanbul for two years before they moved to Croatia.
The first visit to Croatia for the author had been more than enlightening. He visited the city called Split, one of the largest cities along the Croatian coast. Split is a city filled with history, music, homemade food, kind people, beautiful women and a view on one of the cleanest and most beautiful seas in the world called the Adriatic Sea. This is the city where his wife was born and where his in-laws lived.
The author learned just how wrong he was about Croatia. He learned of our culture and our origins that go back to the seventh century a.d. He learned of our customs that some still don't make any sense to him. He learned of our fears and strong bonds we share with our friends and neighbors. He learned just how much a mother-in-law (punica) means to our families. He learned how to be a good father in this foreign country. But most of all, he learned how easy it was to call it home.
I find this book a perfect guide for all the foreigners who wish to learn more about Croatia and/or want to visit it. It is easy to read and understand. It has helpful tips and advices. Through humorous anecdotes the author gives readers a feeling like they have lived here in Croatia at least through the length of the book.
I learned a few things myself. Mostly about the American customs I wasn't aware of. About their too pushy so-called kindness while entering restaurants or their lack of good coffee shops. Through this book I also learned to appreciate my country more and see it from a different perspective.
I would recommend this book to everyone who is willing to learn more, laugh along the way and start to appreciate little things we take for granted. The author made a great success with his blog called Zablogreb which I read since it started where he made similar remarks as he did in this book. So, if you like this book I recommend going through his blog and vice versa. I'm sure you will enjoy every single word :)