Thoughts on Our First Week in Zagreb

Hello! I finally have enough Internet to hammer out a post for you all. Because there are so many things I want to say, this post will be a bullet list of our initial thoughts during this first week in a new country. I hope you enjoy them! Longer, more specific posts to come soon (once we get Internet at home!).

  • Our move was scheduled for two days, but our movers got everything boxed up and shipped out in one day! One of the movers said there was an Olympic soccer game on that evening, which motivated them to work faster. Whatever the reason, I was so happy they got it done quickly. Now to see what our stuff looks like when it arrives...
  • We took two flights from international airlines on our trip over: British Airways and Croatian Airways. And guess what? Both flights serve alcohol as a free in-flight beverage! Score one for foreign airlines.
  • Speaking of flights, a storm in DC delayed our first flight and made us miss our connecting. The dogs were on a different plane that DID take off, so we stressed all night about getting ourselves to Zagreb and about picking up the dogs in a timely manner. Luckily, we hopped on another plane and were able to pick them up right when they were released. I should note, however, the crates were rocking from excited, bouncing dogs when we picked them up, so they were definitely ready to get home.
  • When we stepped off of the plane, I noticed how fresh the air was. The city and the hills in which we live are very green and refreshing. Most people in our neighborhood have fruit trees and/or vegetable gardens. We even have tomato plants! We will be asking our dads lots of questions as we try to keep them alive...
  • The jet lag from the six-hour time difference did not hit me until day two. I had a massive headache, and I was napping during the day (which I can never do normally). Apparently both of these symptoms are normal. Slowly, we adjusted our internal clocks (although we are still not at 100% energy level).
  • Our house is super cute, but there are European quirks:
    • They don't use blinds here; there are electric wooden shutters on the doors and windows to block the sunlight.
    • Toilets have two buttons: big ones for big jobs and small ones for small jobs (I'm dying even as I type that).
    • The fridge seems tiny!
    • No central heat and air; radiators and wall A/C units for almost all buildings and houses. We still aren't sure we are doing it right.
    • The washer and dryer do not hold NEARLY the amount of clothes we are used to laundering, and it takes over an hour for each one. Laundry is literally a whole day's job.
  • Driving is a bit crazier here. We are still driving on the right side of the road, but they drive fast. Also, the streets are smaller, so people park on curbs (legally - there are spots even marked on some curbs). The cars are almost only manual transmission, so I won't be driving until our car arrives. Probably better that way!
  • My first American faux pas came when I asked for ice water at a restaurant. You either order natural water or sparkling water; you don't really get "tap water" as a drink unless it comes with a coffee.
  • Speaking of coffee, cafes are SUPER popular. Like Starbucks being on every corner in large US cities, there are cafes everywhere you look. But at home, they do not make coffee the same way. Our house came with a coffee pot, but we cannot find actual filters for it. The stores only sell pour over filters. I am experimenting with different ways to make it work, but until then I'll have some grounds in my coffee. Eventually, we will get a little espresso machine.
  • The first time I got on Twitter here I was shocked. Since I am using Croatian internet, all of my trending topics are those of this country. I have to actually go to news accounts to see what is happening back home. Yes, I am all up-to-date on the Lochte situation - I am still in the loop, people.
  • With no Internet or TV at home, I quickly realized how much I relied on them back home. This is good as it will encourage me to stay active and social while posted here. Obviously, when I work from home I will need Internet for but now it may be a good thing.
  • The time difference between here and home (Kansas) was harder than I expected. We are seven hours ahead, so by the time our parents get off of work we are fast asleep. But weekends are much better, and we will soon discover the best ways to stay in touch. If you have WhatsApp, be sure to add us! You can use our US phone numbers to look us up, but they actually do not work other than that.

Whew, that was a lot of stuff. We are so thankful for your kind thoughts and prayers as we start this journey, and I cannot wait to share more! If you want to read a quick story about my first solo outing, check out this article. And if you want to subscribe to get our newsletter straight to your email, click here! Finally, if you want to use snail mail to receive postcards from us or send us a line, leave us your address here (I will be sharing ours with those who signed up soon).

Until next time,