There are moments when Amber and I look at each other and say, "How have we been here for three months already? That has flown by." And then are other times where we sit and say, "Three months... it feels like we have been here for three years." Nevertheless, we have had a number of experiences, both good and challenging, over the last three months. Here are a few recent highlights:
A New Place to Live -
Some of you might remember that the apartment we have been living in was only available until the end of May. This meant we had to search for a new place that would allow us to have a long term lease and would preferably be unfurnished. Both of which are surprisingly difficult to find in Croatia. We searched a number of places that would keep us close to the kids school because the kids have been making friends and have a found a great rhythm in this part of Split. Also the care we have received from the teachers and staff has been incredible. As a matter of fact, every time we tell the story about all the school has done for our kids people here are amazed we have received that type of treatment. Now that doesn't mean school has always been easy. Our kids have been learning that there is definitely a different teaching style here. One that doesn't provide any fluff at school and doesn't hold back when you do something incorrectly. It has been a growing process for each of us. With that being said, we have been searching for over a month to find a place. We talked to multiple realtors, looked at multiple places and still nothing was opening up. It was feeling quite hopeless until we received a random email back from one lady saying she had a place to show us. We arrived at the location assuming that it wouldn't result in anything but we were pleasantly surprised. The owner had been wanting to rent to a family for a longer term and also the place was unfurnished. It was close to the school and perfect for our family. We jumped on it and will be able to move in on May 1st. It is truly an answer to prayer.
Visa Issues -
In Croatia we are allowed to be here for 90 days before applying for a temporary residency. If that time runs out we would have to leave the country for another 90 days before we could return. As you can imagine the application process is not simple. I think I went to the police station multiple times just to find out what kind of application form I should have. We are applying to stay here as volunteers working at a church. It shouldn't be an issue but there were certain documents we needed to obtain in order to apply. One document in particular that we needed from the church in order to apply hadn't arrived from the government yet. All I can say is that earlier this week I was stressing out big time at the thought being forced to leave the country for 90 days. We prayed and God provided! We got all the paperwork this week and were able to apply with only days to spare. Now we are "In Process," which means we can remain here until they approve our request for temporary residency. This was a big deal for our family and it's a huge wait off our shoulders. The lady at the police station was really kind and helpful. She even helped us fill part of the application out.
Language Learning -
Other than getting settled in here our number one priority is to learn the language. I have stepped up my language learning by attending a university class which I attend with a bunch of international university students. It's amazing to watch people from Germany, Portugal, Bolivia, Argentina, France, and many other countries learn Croatian. It was also fun to realize that I was at least 10 years older than everyone else there. I'm the old guy in the class but I really enjoy it.
Our family has been plagued by one thing or another over the past couple months. You name it we have had it; ear infections, sore throats, sinus infections, terrible coughs, vomiting, etc. It has been a challenge but hopefully we have made it through the worst of it all.
Other Random Stuff -
We celebrated our three month anniversary by going out and exploring a castle just outside of town.
Lastly here is a video that shows you how much Croatia has had an impact on your life already.