I Married a Croat and Moved to Croatia: Emily Danicic from UK

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Sometimes on TCN, great content breeds more great content. The recent Croatian Returnee Reflections series has been one of the most interesting features we have had this year, with more than 50 returnees already contacting us to take part. You can follow the series here.  

Among the many replies was an email from a young lady called Emily Danicic from the UK, whose father returned to Dubrovnik after 46 years in London. Emily said she had married a Croatia and had also moved to Croatia, which gave me an idea for a fun new series – I married a Croatia and moved to Croatia. I asked Emily if she would be game enough to kick off the series, and here is her response. I guess the critics will say that because she has a Croatian parent, she is not a 100% foreigner marrying a Croat, but this is a fun read and relevant, and I hope it will encourage others to get in touch with their stories. Over to Emily… 

My name is Emily Daničić; I was born in the UK in 1977 to an English mother and Croatian father. Up until 10 years ago, the UK was my home. I now live in Dubrovnik with my Croatian husband & 3 children, 2 of which are from my first marriage.


1. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your Croatian love and how did you meet?

I met my husband when we were teenagers (as friends), as I used to come out to Dubrovnik every summer when school finished to stay with my grandparents. At the time, our paths went in different directions. Some years later, with 2 kids and a husband at the time, our paths crossed again, one thing led to another, I got divorced… we entered into a long-distance relationship, had a son together, and after our wedding in 2011 me and the children decided to make the move to Dubrovnik.


2. How much did you know about Croatia or Croatian culture before you met?

I knew a lot about Croatia and the culture due to my father being Croatian and having close contacts there.

3. Tell us about meeting the Croatian family for the first time.

This is something that I was dreading, as my in-laws were originally from a small village in Hercegovina but living in Dubrovnik. There were very old school, so to speak. But I was pleasantly surprised by how they accepted my 2 older children and me into their family, making me very welcome. My father-in-law used to give me a shot of Rakija every morning, and my mother-in-law was always trying to feed me. Sadly it’s been 5 years since they passed away, and I miss them dearly.


4. And, of course, the proposal and the wedding. Was it a big Croatian affair?

Due to us already having a son together we decided to have an intimate wedding with close friends & family (which was met with slight disapproval) at Hotel Excelsior in Dubrovnik, as we did not want to have the big Croatian wedding.

5. And you decided to move to Croatia! Was that an easy decision? What did your family say?

It wasn’t an easy decision as my children were settled in school in the UK, and I had friends and family I would miss, but they were happy for me. So I sold and packed up, and we all went off to Dubrovnik with dog in tow.

6. What were your perceptions and fears before you moved?

My worst fears were for my children having to leave there school and friends and start all over again in a new country with a new language, at the time, they were 6,11&13 years old, for my older two, it was a struggle at first, but eventually, they settled in well, although school was not easy.


7. And tell us about life here. What do you love about living in Croatia, and what do you dislike?

For the children living here is great they have so much freedom, and i feel safe when they are out. I love the slow pace of life and the hospitality of people making you feel welcome. The weather is so lovely here in the summer, and the winters are mild. I love sitting on my terrace while drinking my English tea and looking out onto the harbour. Another thing I love doing is helping the street cats; I’ve got involved (volunteering) with a UK-based charity that helps the stray street cats of Dubrovnik and surrounding areas ie TNR (trap neuter release), feeding as well as other medical needs, taking to vets for treatment they might need. (SOS Dubrovnik cats) you can find them on Facebook. I now have 8 cats at home that I have taken in from the streets, although my husband kept telling me no more cats after each one or he would divorce me haha. He is still here, and so are the cats, Although he tries to give it the big macho Croatian, he fusses over them more than me (he will kill me for this).

People don’t like to queue here and especially in the supermarket and banks. If I was given a kuna for every time someone pushed in telling me they would be late for their bus, I would be a millionaire!


8. Without wanting to start any marital wars, any comments on being married to a Croat do you think? Are there any particular quirks, positive or negative that you have noticed?

I can’t speak for all Croatians, but my husband is very impatient but is also a very passionate person about things he believes in, ie football and his homeland. One of his annoying habits is to keep going on about “PROPUH”(a draft), although I think it’s a normal thing here as everyone seems to think they are going to die from “PROPUH”, haha. I’ve learnt to ignore and carry on. He always seems to think he knows everything and doesn’t like to be told otherwise, which seems to be the case with most Croatian men. Everything is “Sutra cemo” (tomorrow), although I should point out that if it’s something important, he will get things done. He is a great help around the house when I need it and is not afraid of the vacuum cleaner haha. He is also a fantastic father and gets on really well with my older two from my first marriage.

9. Your advice to anyone else thinking of moving into a Croatian family and relocating to Croatia?

For me, it was easy as I knew the culture and spoke the language. From observing other families here, my advice would be to not live with your in-laws. I did not have this problem but know of people who did.

I have no regrets about leaving the UK and am loving my life here. I do miss my family and friends back in the UK (and the shopping), but it’s only a two-and-a-half-hour flight away.

PS If anyone is thinking of holidaying in Dubrovnik and requires airport transfers or private day trips, and would like to support a small family buisness , get in touch at – [email protected]

Thank you x


Thanks, Emily!

Did you marry a Croat and move to Croatia? Want to take part in this series? Email [email protected] Subject I Married a Croat.

What’s it like living in Croatia, and where can you get the best survival tips? TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds have teamed up to publish Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.



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