Being in Croatia is kind of like being in a permanent dream-like state. That's poetic, isn't it? I'm sorry, but Croatia is poetic and we couldn't very well go there and not brag about it. That's illegal or something.
After two trips to Mlini, where Danny's mom is from, the extent of my Croatian vocabulary is as follows: sladoled, pivo, hoala (ice cream, beer, thank you - in order of importance, obviously). Danny was also really intent (and sometimes straight up bossy) about getting me to say nista glupana (nothing you idiot) in hopes that I would say it to a server at a restaurant. I would be like no, stop it! you're weird! then would mumble it over and over to myself. I don't know, it's kind of catchy.
I highly recommend the business of having a mother-in-law who lives in Croatia. It's good for the soul, especially if she's the type to cook really solid meals that are accompanied by wine and followed by ice cream, and who knows where the best secret beaches are, and who takes you to bars that are inside of caves.
I'm pretty sure I could sit inside drinking tea all day and listen to British people talk amongst themselves through the window and be totally content for the rest of my days. I did this once, when I first went to Brighton to visit Danny. He would go to work and I would be sad but then I would think, I get to listen to the moms talk about how they're going to pop round to the shop this morning and I would get happy again. Everything they say just sounds better. I know you don't disagree.
Also - can we discuss how cute Brighton is? It takes me a lot longer to walk anywhere here than it does at home, simply because it's physically impossible for me to pass a storefront or house or handpainted sign without commenting or taking a photo. Even garbage cans are cuter.
We got to spend a glorious three weeks in England at the beginning of the summer, which meant lots of picnics with our sweet new little niece and lots of barbecues and lots of people with their shirts off because temps hit a cool 65 degrees. Hah. SUCH a Seattle move.
The night before we left for England I found a huge cockroach in our shower, immediately jumped out, and called for Danny.
Then I cried because in the midst of trying to squash the biggest bug that ever lived, it fell and Danny lost sight of it. (Poor Danny stood there patiently, asking what I wanted him to do while I passive aggressively whisper-shouted 'nothing i'm just upset!' in my towel). I'm pretty sure this was the universe prepping me for our departure, although right after saying goodbye to Asia I was missing it again.
Here's what I miss the very most:
Seeing families eat dinner on the floor. Dining tables aren't a thing in Vietnam. I think they probably think 'why would we need a table?' Also there is no room for that nonsense. Instead, families sit in a circle on the floor of their living area with bowls upon bowls of rice and sauces and greens sprawled out between them. Not once did I walk by without lingering for just a (creepy) moment and feeling delighted by this. I don't know, I just like it.
Dollar noodles. In Saigon, there was a woman that would set up a teeny stove on the street at night and yell "dolla noodles!" to the people passing by. We never saw anyone taking her up on the offer, and she was at this all the time, so one night as we were walking by her I was like wait, why wouldn't I get some dollar noodles right now? So I got my dollar noodles and we went back to our hotel room that smelled like mold and had a view of a brick building that sat 2 feet away and hunkered down and ate some dollar noodles (are we gross?). And they were GOOD. So good that we went back to get some for Danny. When our dollar noodle lady saw us coming her way she yelled "TWO dolla noodles!" like any good businesswoman would.
Pho is always available. And since pho can cure any ailment, this is handy. Danny and I got off a night bus at 4am to find a dark, completely deserted street except for one little corner of the road that was full of people sitting in chairs, slurping up soup. It's comforting to know that there will always be soup.
Fresh coconuts. Every day. Every afternoon.
Secret bar lock-ins. Vietnam has a midnight curfew, but instead of shutting down all the bars they just close their garage doors so the police can't see in. When you want in you just knock and someone will pull up on the door to reveal laser lights and a room packed with people. It's like a speakeasy! Only way more obvious and way easier to get in.