Nine Random Notes About My Nine Months In Croatia

Marijana Čuvalo
3 min readAug 14, 2022
Brela, Croatia. Photo taken by author.

I've been living in Makarska, Croatia, for nine months.

That's three seasons.

I'm in Season Three (Summer) of the Marijana in Makarska show. Except, get this, it's not a show. It's real life. It's my life.

Anyway, here are nine random notes reflecting on my nine months.

  1. Summer has been the most challenging season. And I accept the challenge! Yes, you can roll your eyes now. But I never claimed to have selected Makarska for its summers. I won't be running away from it anytime soon. I will figure out how to thrive in the heat. Because that's what life is all about, figuring things out.
  2. I have a new love interest. And its name is tennis. Yes, I write about tennis a lot. What can I say? I'm in love. I do not claim to be good at it…yet. I've learned a lot in nine months. I can see my strengths. I can see where I need to improve. I have goals when it comes to tennis. It's something I want to get better at. Who'd a thunk?
  3. Sometimes even the locals don't know the rules. I was waiting in line in a government office. I had a ticket with my number. I lost my place in line (distracted by a local celebrity), and when I asked to be let back in, no one wanted to let me in. The office personnel said that someone should let me in. No one did. I said to the individuals in line: I am not from around here; tell me the rules, and maybe then I can follow along. One man responded: We don't even know the rules. Problem solved. I now go with the flow. And pay attention when in a lineup, even if there's a celebrity around.
  4. Those Adriatic Sunsets! I could see Lake Ontario from my condo rooftop when I lived in Toronto. Not the same. Something about those Adriatic sunsets! Sublime. Mother Nature is a genius.
  5. Return recyclable bottles in September. Makarska has several bottle return machines. You know, the ones where you get a deposit back. During the summer months, the devices are working in overdrive—tourists doing a good thing and returning the bottles. Machines overheat or something like that. Anyway, I have decided to avoid the devices in the summer months. I'll do my part and return the empty bottles in September.
  6. Is there a tourist rulebook? And can every country hand it out to visitors? I'm now that person. The person that grumbles about how tourists behave. Sigh. I know. This one is mine to deal with. I'll talk to my therapist about it.
  7. Being called a local/domestic (domaća) made my day. I know I will never be considered a true local. I know my accent will never be perfect. I'll always be regarded as a Canadian because that's part of my identity. And I don't mind at all. But I will smile and feel warm inside whenever someone considers me a local, even if they are pulling my leg.
  8. Paying $30 a month for a cell phone plan is fantastic. I'm sure there are cheaper plans, but I went from paying $100/month in Canada to $30/month. Huge win in my books. Dear Canada, do better.
  9. Ice melts a lot faster in this heat. Obvious, yes. Random, yes. But you notice when you are filling up your ice trays three times a day. Note to self: buy more ice trays.

I'm sure there's more. But for now, those are some of the little things I navigate now that I live in Croatia. Excuse me now while I head out on my balcony and enjoy the sunset.



Marijana Čuvalo

Canadian Croatian living in Croatia/Writing about My Adriatic Adventure/ Read more about my adventures here: