Continuing our series on Croatian diaspora returnee experiences, both positive and negative, TCN caught up with Kristina Tomasovic on April 23, 2016, a year lady who swapped the bright lights of Toronto for the Dalmatian coastal bliss of Omis.
1. From Canada to Omis. Tell us about your Croatian heritage and why you decided to make the move.
I was born and raised in Canada, however, I have always had a very strong sense and knowledge about my Croatian heritage. I have always been very involved in the Croatian community and spent my childhood attending ”Croatian School” (International Language Classes) every Saturday and was a member of my Parish Folklore group (first a student and then a teacher). My parents also made sure that my brother, sister and I always spoke Croatian at home and I can attribute my Croatian language skills primarily to them. I was lucky enough to have spent every summer holiday in Croatia and that is how I came to love it here and consider it a second home. Moving to Croatia is something that I always wanted to do and it was a relatively easy decision to make.
2. What were your biggest concerns before making the move, and did they end up being your biggest issues.
My biggest concerns about moving from Canada to Croatia were emotive concerns. Re-establishing a new social life is not something that is easy to do, however, having previously moved and lived abroad in Australia and London, I knew that maintaing an open mind, being outgoing and friendly were key. Since moving to Croatia, I have managed to establish great friendships and business relationships – I found people here to be very welcoming. My job has a great social aspect to it as well and my travels with seaplanes has allowed me to meet people from around the country.
3. How have local people reacted to you moving to Croatia?
One word: curious. When I first arrived, just over one year ago (and still today) people were very surprised when they met me and I spoke Croatian – with a very Canadian accent, of course. Essentially, people were curious as to why I would choose to move from Canada and I can understand their curiosity. However, most of my friends and family were not surprised by my decision as they knew that moving and living in Croatia was something that always interested me.
4. You have an exciting job with the seaplanes as sales manager. What is similar about life in Croatia and Canada, and what is different?
I definetely have an exciting job at European Coastal Airlines and I absolutely love it! The idea of connecting the islands in Croatia with seaplanes is innovative and I am so happy to be a part of this revolutionary company. Everyday, I get to interact with people from around the world and have the priviledge of exploring Croatia with our seaplanes – there is really no exprience quite like it!
Life in Canada and Croatia is different, yet similar. In terms of working in Croatia, I have the same schedule as I did at my previous job in Toronto. The setting of my workplace, however, is much more appealing here – offices in Toronto do not have views of the ”more”! Overall, life in Croatia is more social (there is always time for a ”kava”) and more laid back than in Canada.
5. Any regrets about making the move?
I can honestly say that I have absolutely no regrets about moving here. There have been challenges which I have faced, however, with persistence, patience and hard work, I have overcome many obstacles. I look forward to what is to come and hope to be successful in my new life here. Croatia is a great conuntry with a lot to offer and I would encourage anyone considering making the move from the diaspora to the homeland to give it a chance!