“The longer we are here, the more we are sure we made a good decision.”
In July, Valpovo welcomed four new residents: Andreas Lovrečić (36), his partner Kathrin (36), and their children Aelish (9) and Mories (7). What makes the news interesting is that they are German citizens who have decided to leave their life in Germany, to which tens of thousands of Croats move every year, and start a new life in Slavonia, reports Glas Slavonije on October 10, 2018.
“Ever since we came, people wonder why we have decided to come to Croatia when a large number of locals are moving out. But the longer we are here, and more experience we have, we are becoming more and more confident that we have made a good decision and that the future of us and our children is right here, in Slavonia and Valpovo, where we found everything we had been looking for in life,” said Andreas in not quite fluent Croatian.
Although neither Kathrin nor the children speak the Croatian language, Aelisha is a happy student of the third grade, while Mories goes to the second grade of the Valpovo Primary School. They have started to learn the language and are delighted with the way they have been accepted by other children and teachers in schools.
Andreas’s parents moved to Germany from the municipality of Marijanci in the early 1980s. Andreas was born and grew up there, and his links with Croatia were not particularly strong. There was even a 13-year period during which Andreas never once visited the homeland of his parents. Meanwhile, he completed his education, found a job and started a family. He decided to use social media to find relatives in Croatia. In 2015, they received an invitation to come to a wedding in Valpovo, where they were thrilled with the people, the landscape and the atmosphere.
They returned last year, and Andreas officially proposed to his partner Kathrin on the bridge at the entrance to the Valpovo castle. They both realised that Valpovo was the town where they wanted to live. When they returned to their town some 60 km away from Stuttgart, they made the final decision to move to Croatia.
Though it was not a simple decision, when it came to business, there was not much doubt. Kathrin decided to join her husband and continue developing an online business of selling artisanal wood items made by Andreas. The income allows them a nice life in Valpovo, where they rented a house. They now enjoy welcoming relatives, friends and neighbours, and socializing with people who have accepted them and helped them. They also enjoy going to the farmers’ market, eating home-made Slavonian food, and drinking coffee in the town’s cafes.
“We are surprised by the fact that the children here can immediately go out to the streets to play. In Germany, we had to announce it several days ahead because children have so many obligations. Adults work so much that they do not hang out, and most people are constantly grim and anxious and they rarely communicate. We simply could not live like that and we had to change something,” said Kathrin.
Translated from Glas Slavonije (reported by Lidija Aničić).