Američki Dnevnik 2: Love and New Places

Although for now Osijek is my home I am a California girl and California runs deep in me. So I spend a lot of time at San Francisco Coffee House to get my California fix. I usually sit wherever I can find a seat and log online to connect to my other world, an ocean away. It’s as close as Croatia comes to California for me so I take a seat and get lost in my online world. Headlines keep me up to speed; “Fire Rips Through San Diego and Southern CA”, “Oil Spill Rocks Bay Area”, “Hillary or Obama?” Emails from friends-real friends, the ones who remember where you are and why you are gone, respond to my mail, worry, and call to maintain our connection all make me laugh. I am camouflaged behind my computer as the hustle and bustle of the coffee shop whirls around me.

Unfortunately I can’t seem to get lost when I find myself surrounded
by lovebirds as they are calmly caressing looking longingly into each
other’s eyes over their teas and coffees.

As soon as the drinks are done the mouths are free for kissing and it quickly becomes its own language. I can function when there are full blown conversations all around me, loud music, car & tram noise, doors shutting, people walking by, anything really. But for me the silence of couples alone is louder than any background noise.

Don’t get me wrong. Its not that I hate people in love, I simply envy
people in love who actually get to be with their loves at their coffee
hotspot and their ‘arranged alone time’. They sit happily, updating
each other and sharing thoughts and saliva.

Yeah that’s right, I’m bitter.

When you are in love yet you find yourself alone you feel like
every couple around you is flaunting their unified happiness.

writing at SF Coffee House, Osijek CroatiaIf you are really lucky though, you catch me talking to my computer.

Yes, your very own American Lunatic, stop by to see the free show.

I see people stare in curiosity, surely questioning why I have to sit soclose to my screen or why I laugh to myself uncontrollably with no company in sight. Up until the last month that is my ‘arranged alone time’ with my love. However, I had a little bit of California come to me by surprise. Finally I am able to share in-person instead of talking crazy to my computer.

The past month I shared with him all the things I’ve seen and experienced here as well as rediscovering Osijek with a pair of new observing eyes at my side comparing cultures. Experiencing the city with my love makes me feel even more at home here.

This time last year I had a color-coded weekly notebook to organize my
study time. Each class subject, weight lifting, exams, presentations,
games, due dates, meetings, with food and sleep when there was time to
squeeze it in. Most importantly in my agenda I had a countdown to the
day I could go back to California from my university in Tennessee for
the winter break. His agenda was full of basketball competition in
Tennessee.

Now we find ourselves walking around a real winter
wonderland compared to a California winter. We casually observe
students here anticipating their break and families preparing for the
holiday season, while we are casually observing. The tables have
turned.

New Years, Vinkovci Croatia
Having him here rejuvenates this city for me as well as
energizing me personally.

Back home in Cali our adventures together consisted of hopping in a car whenever we wanted and going wherever we wanted. Jumping on the 6-lane freeway with the windows down and music loud speeding in and out of traffic, with no destination sometimes, sharing thoughts on the open road. We are forced to slow things down here and we see the change of pace as an appreciated luxury.

Here our conversations and discussions are happening on long walks along the
quiet snowy Drava walkway or picking up the jewel of the bakery, Burek
that is, and munching on it as we walk thru the center observing the
holiday action.

Now waking up involves the first thought-BAKERY!

We are actually eating breakfast instead of rushing out the door to our
6am university sports practices followed by a day full of classes and
another practice then a study hall session to end the long busy day.
As we slow things down here we have time to really appreciate every
little detail around us instead of speeding by it on our way to what
lies next in the packed agenda.

We are busy enjoying life in Osijek and the Croatian way of life.
Instead of driving fast we have learned to walk slowly, alright maybe
we still speed walk but it’s a casual speed walk.

“Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind” and Osijek lets us cruise with
no traffic and no rush with a full day in a whole new way.

So whether it’s California, Tennessee, or a coffee house in Croatia,
having love and new place makes wherever you are home.

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