Croats in Ireland: Sailing in the Atlantic

Total Croatia News

Do you know Ajvan (Ivan), he is a Croatian? The guy with no hands and only one leg? The handyman was sitting on the floor in front of my heater fixing a pump, not even looking at me directly while firing those questions like an everyday conversations.

Ivan, the man without hands and one leg was Croatian? I was completely puzzled if he is telling me the truth or he was giving me a craic, but he looked serious and he wasn’t Irish, at least, his accent was very
much British.

Yes, he was working with me, and was an excellent worker. He used to be an accountant in a Croatian hospital, in Zagreb he said. He was an excellent worker, he continued with his conversation.

Ivan always drew attention to himself when he jumped out of the vehicle with just stumps instead of hands, carrying his tools. But he knew how to paint the walls. He did it with a smile. Always smiling. He had a prosthetic leg. I didn’t even notice that he was missing a leg. He told me.

I was already picturing this man, Croatian, that had to leave from an office job to work as a handyman, actually having no hands, my throat was completely closed, trying not to shiver of sudden sadness. Then I realised, my handyman was showing me his picture. He was showing me Ivan’s picture on his phone with a proud face. Look, there he was. I knew that I had his picture somewhere. Always smiling.

And do you know another Croatian guy, Zoran, yes Zoran, I just finished working with him the other day. And I was just waving with my head. No, I don’t, I don’t know him, I was apologising, No, I am so sorry, there are more and more Croatians every day, coming to our little town and I don’t know them all. There are too many of us now.

My thoughts started to wander, to all Croatians that I had opportunity to meet in the last three years in Ireland. To all those who had already adjusted and accepted their new situation. All of them, advancing on their jobs. Accepting promotions, even getting opportunities to further their education. Their children advancing in schools, their grades are among the highest in the class, some of them even the highest in the schools.

And I started thinking about the fact that today is Homeland Thanksgiving Day. I don’t know where to begin talking about how I feel about the whole situation with Croatia. It is just too painful.

I live in two worlds. One home is in Ireland. I fit right in here. I started to love and appreciate my new home. Even to the point that I accepted the cold Atlantic as a beautiful place. It doesn’t frighten me as much as before. The strong, cold East wind is now just a wind. I went sailing, a child of the warm Adriatic sea, and Maestral. It is if I gave up. I am losing hope that it will be better in Croatia. At least in the near future. It is my homeland, Croatia, where every memory has a bitter aftertaste. Where everything is fought hard. Where fighters are getting tired of all the battles, where decent well educated, hard workers, ordinary people, are chased off with no future.

While Ireland provides something that we are missing in Croatia. How on earth does Croatia do it so wrongly?

And as I watch the news from the homeland and I watch all the huge numbers of tourists that arrive daily in Croatia. I look at those pictures on Instagram posted by foreigners. Turquoise waters filled with young tanned bodies of Aussies, Brits… joy and pleasure.

My country that I can’t live in.

And I show pictures of my country to all my friends and telling them, Go, go on a holiday there. There is no better country in the world than there to have a holiday!

The sad fact is, you just can’t live there.


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