Saturday 29 December 2018

Surprises, love and laughter

Mama Mia, here I go again*. I'm writing in the sun. On an island, in a cafe by the sea. The locals are talking more than usually incomprehensibly, and I have had a couple of beers, which means I probably will be writing in dialect shortly. All that is missing is the other contrary one writing opposite me.

The last blog I wrote was on Mljet and since then I've had an eventful few months. I've passed a horrible work related anniversary, experienced life in yet another Croatian town, and surprisingly become girlfriend to a rather lovely gentleman. That story is true romance; my best friend in Split knows everyone in our tiny neighbourhood so when she met a familiar face they had a brief exchange of pleasantries. After commenting how fragrant this gentleman was, she messaged him and he later dropped his phone number to me on a piece of paper. 

I'm an old school romantic so this totally blew my mind - especially as I thought he hadn't even noticed me. I messaged him and we arranged a coffee in my favourite bar overlooking our city of Split. This led to many late night philosophical conversations under the moonlight, as well as complete disbelief as to how we had never met before. We are neighbours, dammit!

It's not been without hiccups. After all, he has had time in Ireland and I have regular trips to London but it works because we have something really special. Anyway, put it this way, he has been happy to join my crazy travelling life. Turns out you need someone cuckoo to complete your world; if this means entertaining an entirely opposite worldview, a certain amount of compromise with a good dollop of understanding, then it just confirms that it was meant to be. 

Our first international trip in November was a humdinger. We considered a major road trip but neither of us really have the stamina or bravery of certain ne'er-do-wells, so we stayed relatively local, ending up in Montenegro via Bosnia. Frankly after getting lost up mountain goat tracks, and experiencing a non-functioning bank card reader in a Montenegrin gas station, I wonder how me and her ever made it across Europe. Maybe she was the adult... Still, Sv. Stefan was idyllic and I wonder if the apartment's jacuzzi will ever recover. 

He is a Dalmatian man, and I'm part mermaid so water is truly our connection, and the natural driving force of our adventure. Thursday took us to Bol on Bra─Ź, and fuelled by the usual burek and coffee, we both leapt into the sea. After that there seemed no good reason to prevent us going to Vis for the weekend. 

Vis has many memories for me, and he had never been to this very different island, I was happy to select Komiza as our place to be. As if by some instinct, our tiny home is in the Molo Bonda part of town - where the fishermen lived and processed their catch. Our tiny ground floor beamed apartment is steeped in history and now has the homely scent of kobasice with kiseli kupus. 

After marenda on the beach this morning, we took a stroll around town and went up to the church of Sv. Nikola. We were in good company as Pope Alexander III visited there in the 1100s. After managing to get us as lost as ever - I'm sacked as navigator since Bosnia apparently - we discussed pirates and headed back to the tiny riva for coffees and beers.

Since then I have been musing how life both changes - and stays the same. I'm enjoying my life of contrasts. High tech, London work done within a ferry ride of ancient tradition; sunshine and relaxation within a world of seasonal hospitality hardship; combining a domestic situation of deep religious observation with sceptical fact-finding. Ultimately we find our commonality through love, laughter, friendship and thus, it brings us all together.

As the sun disappears in a smear of winter red, the village quiet gives way to another evening of local conviviality and twilight chatter. 

*Sorry, the Abba based musical was filmed here and I was lucky enough to see the film in Split's summer outdoor cinema which was very cool. Also in joke hahahaha!

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