Episode #37: My world map

People: “You live in Europe, where?”
Me: “in Croatia”
People: “What’s a Croatia??”
Me: “What? It’s a country, in Europe… OMG”

I am not surprised to find that more Europeans know about Miami than Americans know about Zagreb, especially since one of Croatia’s national television channels is currently broadcasting the eighth season of the popular Crime Scene Investigation show CSI: Miami. As far as I have seen there haven’t been any shows filmed around Zagreb being broadcasted in Miami so the general public is clueless about the whereabouts of the city in which I live in now. Also, from my middle school and high school recollection I did not have that many geography or history lessons that were concentrated on Europe as much as Europeans are pressured to learn about the United States. In fact, other than my personal choice to take European history in high school I wouldn’t have gotten very much exposure. Therefore, other than my friends and acquaintances who have heard of Croatia because of association through me and my travels, the common reaction when I tell someone that I am living in Croatia has been, “What is a Croatia?”. Similarly, some Croatians have thought of Miami as a state in the United States, rather than I city in the state of Florida, but that is nowhere near as erroneous as mistaking Croatia for an object rather than a location on the continent of Europe.

In this episode I am looking at a world map and showing exactly how far each place is from the city in which I was born, Los Angeles, to the states in which I lived in, North Carolina and Florida, without forgetting the years I spent in Jamaica and one year in Canada before moving to Zagreb in Croatia. Not only are these places far apart from one another geographically, but there are also distinct differences in culture, language and climate as well.

Miami, like most people already know, has a sizzling hot climate all year around, with densely populated beaches and local citizens walking around in bikinis and bathing suits in the middle of December. Canada on the other hand, suffers an everlasting snowy, winter climate for about 5 to 6 months out of the year – at least that’s how it was when I was there – and Croatia, where I am now, experiences roughly moderate climate changes with smooth transitions through all the seasons inland, but is much warmer on the coast where there is sunshine going into December almost like in Florida (but without the humidity).

One of the greatest things about Croatia is that for such a small country it has many different levels of culture and climate to offer. The inland being filled with rich crops and meat loving residents who are closer associated with Slovenians and Hungarians than they are with the seafood eating inhabitants of the coast who were influenced by the Italians. With a population slightly over 4 million for the whole country its size is not comparable with the population of the single state of Florida which bridges 19.5 million. And driving from one end of Croatia to the other would take about as long as it would to drive from one end of Florida to the other, 8-10 hours. Travelling between continents by plane is not short cut either of course, with a daunting 8-10 hours needed to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the 2-3 hours to get from one country to another within Europe.

Here I also talk about some of the travelling I have done throughout Europe, excluding my latest travels which included going to Bulgaria, Bosnia, Scotland and Poland. But those experiences have a long story behind them which will be explained in the next series of episodes to come J