A Typically British BBQ / Tipični britanski roštilj

Firstly, I should explain myself… This blog has only come about because I was sharing my experiences of life in Croatia with a complete stranger at a typically British BBQ that I had gate crashed. When I say “typically British” I of course mean it was raining. When I say gate crashed… I was visiting some friends that had recently swapped the smog of London town for the cleaner airs of Surrey. They had been invited and it was a chance for them to meet their new neighbours. When they mentioned that the people hosting were from Serbia there wasn’t much to think about! I knew that this would be no “ordinary BBQ”

I was right… They had driven 3hrs in a car to source the perfect sausages from a well-known butcher and don’t even get me started on the ajvar!*

The twist in this already brilliant situation was overhearing an Englishwoman speaking to her daughter: “you know what that is. You have that at Baka’s house” - I know this word… “Baka” in Croatia means grandmother…

YES! This woman was English and married to a Serbian! This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship! We of course then exchanged our similar stories about the cultural differences. Mainly the obsession for food and the fact that “no, I’m full thank you, I really don’t need anymore” doesn’t ever compute at the dinner table…. I’m still learning Croatian by the way but I quickly learnt the phrase, “voljela bih ali ne mogu*” out of necessity when visiting Mama Franic’s house!

 

So, I moved to Croatia in March this year and since the move I have had so many amusing experiences. Actually they weren’t always so amusing at the time… Some days are bloody awful and I cry with frustration at not being able to express myself. But when I look back, the stories are always full of humour.  I love sharing these stories with friends when they ask how I’m getting on but in this moment I was sharing my journey with a complete stranger. Crying with laughter she looked directly into my eyes and said, “you should write a blog about it”

This wasn’t the first time someone had said this to me. When I was sharing my latest “I said this in Croatian and I meant that!” stories to Ante’s niece she also said that I should write what I refer to as the “**** ***” down so that I don’t forget them.  I’ve since learnt a more eloquent term for when I use an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound. It’s called a “malapropism” Who knew?! Wikipedia says it usually results in nonsensical, often humorous utterances… That it does Wiki, that it does…

In this moment, with a perfect stranger, I truly heard the message though. I realised this kind of outlet is exactly what I need. Not only is this a way for me to look back at my journey and measure my progress as I adjust to life on the Dalmatian Coast, it’s a brilliant way to express what I think and how I’m feeling about these adjustments. An online purge if you will…

 

So here it is! My 1st official blog of a Jersey Bean* that has moved to Split, Croatia. I’ll be blogging regularly about all things Croatian from an Englishwoman’s perspective. Until I am fluent enough to translate my thoughts into Croatian, they will be kindly translated by my partner, Ante Franic, because quite frankly Google Translate really can’t cut it!

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*ajvar – Bell Pepper relish http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajvar

*“voljela bih ali ne mogu” – I would love to but I can’t

*Jersey Bean – someone from the Island of Jersey. The word "bean" comes from the popular Jersey dish "Bean Crock".

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Za početak, imam potrebu da vam objasnim čemu ovaj blog... Na ideju sam došla razmjenjujući svoja iskustva o životu u Hrvatskoj s apsolutnim strancem na tipičnom britanskom roštiljanju na koje sam upala nepozvana! I kad kažem “tipičnom britanskom” onda naravno želim reći da je padala kiša. A kad kažem da sam “upala nepozvana”, bila sam u posjeti prijateljima koji su zamijenili londonski smog za nešto čišći zrak u Surreyu. Oni su bili pozvani na roštilj i bila im je to prilika da upoznaju svoje nove susjede. Kad su mi rekli da su ljudi koji su ih pozvali iz Srbije znala sam da se nemam šta mislit! To neće bit samo “obični roštilj”. I bila sam u pravu... Samo za kobasice su vozili do tri sata udaljenog mesara, a o ajvaru da vam ni ne pričam!

Preokret u cijeloj priči je nastao kad sam načula jednu majku gdje priča sa svojom kćerkom: “You know what that is. You have that at baka’s house.” Čekaj malo, ta riječ mi je poznata... Baka na hrvatskom znači grandmother..

O da! Kako se ubrzo ispostavilo, žena je Engleskinja, ali je udana za Srbina! Bio je to početak jednog divnog prijateljstva! Naravno da smo vrlo brzo počeli razmjenjivati priče, vrlo slične priče o kulturološkim razlikama. Najviše o opsjednutosti hranom i činjenicom da “Dosta mi je, stvarno ne mogu više!” izgovoreno nakon obilnog ručka ili večere ne znači ništa, ali apsolutno ništa... Iako još učim hrvatski, vrlo brzo sam naučila frazu “Voljela bih, ali ne mogu...”, ali iz čiste potrebe, jer se za stolom mame Franić drugačije ne mogu obraniti od hrane!

Dakle, preselila sam se u Hrvatsku u ožujku ove godine, i od tada sam imala mnogo smiješnih situacija. Iako, u tom trenutku mi se nisu baš činile smiješne... Ima dana koji su stvarno teški i dođe mi da zaplačem koliko sam frustrirana jer se ne mogu izrazit na način na koji bi htjela. Ali gledajući unatrag, svaka mi se situacija na ovaj ili onaj način sada čini smiješnom. I uvijek ih se sjetim kad me prijatelji pitaju kako mi je. Ali evo sada sam se našla u situaciji gdje ih prepričavam ženi koju sam tek upoznala. A ona plačući od smijeha pogleda me i kaže: “Trebala bi pisati blog o ovome!".

I to nije niti bio prvi put da mi je to netko rekao. Kad sam pričala s Antinom nećakinjom o svojim “htjela sam reći to na hrvatskom, ali je ispalo ovo” iskustvima, i ona mi je također rekla da bi trebala početi zapisivati sve svoje zajebe, čisto da ih ne zaboravim. Od tada sam naučila elokventni naziv za slučaj kada se upotrijebi kriva riječ umjesto riječi koja slično zvuči. To je “malapropizam”. Tko je mogao znati?! Wikipedia kaže da obično rezultira u besmislenim, često smiješnim situacijama… To svakako Wiki, to svakako…

U ovom trenutku sam stvarno čula poruku i shvatila da je takva vrsta “ventila” nešto što mi sada stvarno treba. Ne samo da mi je to alat ili bolje rečeno retrovizor kojim ću se poslužit da pogledam unatrag na prijeđeni put i na neki način mjerit svoj napredak dok se prilagodavam životu u Dalmaciji, nego mi je to i savršen način da izrazim šta mislim i osjećam o tim prilagodbama. Jedno online čišćenje ako baš hočete... 

I evo ga! Prvi službeni blog Jersey Beana* koja se preselila u Split. Blogat ću redovito o svim stvarima hrvatskim gledano očima Engleskinje. I dok moj hrvatski ne postane dovoljno tečan da mogu sama prevest svoje misli s engleskog, ljubazno će to za mene raditi Ante jer mu Google prevoditelj jednostavno ne može doć ni blizu. 

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*Jersey Bean – stanovnik Jerseya (od milja). Riječ “bean” (grah) dolazi od naziva tipičnog jela sa Jerseya koje se zove “Bean Crock”