What do you miss the most? The first question visitors ask when they discover I am an American who has chosen to retire in Dubrovnik. Not surprising is the statement from locals, similar yet different. Why would you live here rather then the USA? It was food for thought.
With no hesitation I will admit it is my family which I miss the most. Perhaps, like many families, marginally quirky, but they are mine and I love all of them even though I believe we are nuts sometimes.
Yesterday, down at the Cavtat Riva I savored the view as I sipped my small espresso and began to make a list of what I miss. In order of importance to me they are:
- Clothes dryer
- Organic creamy peanut butter
- All Arm & Hammer products
- Pure vanilla extract
Another list which came to mind, what do I NOT miss
- The annual drive to Lake Tahoe, hyperventilating the entire trip up Highway 50 because of my fear of heights with Paula searching for the barf bag
- Teri driving me across the BayBridge with my feet pushing out the floorboard, reminding her STAY IN THE MIDDLE LANE (really do not like bridges)
- People asking me “Why are you leaving the United States of America”
The past five years I have made many adjustments to my lifestyle, numerous which I have embraced easily. How I enjoy the first part of my morning when I walk down to the corner store to pick up freshly baked bread. I love the aroma of bread just out of the oven! We do not have preservatives in our breads, thus all the two day old leftovers is turned into homemade breadcrumbs. My mornings are spent puttering around the kitchen creating my variation of many traditional dishes. I love that lunch is our main meal of the day, often beginning with soup. Dinner often is a plate of seasonal vegetables with a dash of first pressed homemade olive oil, which by the way can be slightly murky in color.
Learning to live without my own car became effortless with my free senior bus pass while living in Dubrovnik. When I learned our store would deliver my purchases right to my door, the hassle of grocery shopping without a car was quickly eliminated. No car also meant my legs are getting stronger as I am now walking more, down to the corner store as well as to the bus stop when going into Dubrovnik. Of course my preferred is the leisurely stroll down to the Cavtat Riva, often stopping to admire the view.
No question the incomparable part of living here is the sea view from my terrace. The scene of ships as they glide southward to Greece still gives me chills of delight. I enjoy the sound of the wind blowing and the white foam of the sea as it hits the rocky shoreline. Watching the magnificent golden sun drop below the outline of nearby islands Bobara and Mrkan is a frequently a daily pleasure. Simple enjoyment, when I take Abby for her walk up to the top of our hillside. Our first stop is at the small point where she adds to the dry rocky ledge and I count the small wooden fishing boats. More often than not upon returning to the small apartment, my arms are filled with bunches of freshly harvested kupus (similar to kale), a gift from my neighbors.
If you are planning on visiting Dubrovnik this year and want to know what to bring me, consider this. Since a clothes dryer will not fit into carry-on luggage, my answer is always the same – pure vanilla and/or organic peanut butter. That will complete my paradise.