I have been studying abroad at RIT Croatia, the Dubrovnik campus, for almost two months. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences so far and Croatia will forever change me for the better. There is even an aspect of Croatian life that I hope to implement to a degree at home in my busy life: going for coffee.
Now I know what you are thinking, “Amanda, Americans go for coffee too.” However, Americans do not go for coffee like Croatians, I assure you. When Croatians say that they are going for coffee, what they really mean is that they are going to a café with friends to get a beverage of some sort (usually coffee but it can differ) and talking for multiple hours. If you are going for coffee in Croatia, it has to last at least an hour; any amount of time shorter is practically blasphemous. Croatian people also go for multiple coffees in a day. My one friend had three coffees scheduled for one day. She spent nine hours getting coffee.
I, as an American, experienced a bit of culture shock when I first came to Croatia. I am a person who leads a very busy life usually, so the relaxed atmosphere here in Dubrovnik was something new to get used to. Also, I don’t like coffee. I do drink tea though.
I have gone for coffee quite a bit since I’ve arrived. I can even order tea in Croatian (caj - pronounced like chai). Unfortunately I have not learned how to specify which kind of tea I want. I'll learn eventually though!
Since Croatian culture is fairly laid back, I’ve learned a lot about taking a step back in life and actually just letting life be, even for a second. Croatian coffee is a big part of that and I want to bring that back home with me. Granted, I will probably not be spending hours upon hours at a café with my friends. Nonetheless, I want to take the opportunity to schedule a time with one or more of my friends to hang out for an hour or so and just talk maybe once a week. I feel like we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t have time to relax for a minute; to breathe.
I hereby declare that I don’t want to let that happen again. I want to make the most of life and not get so bogged down by it. That might be easier said than done, especially with my personality, but I am willing to try and I hope someone reading this post tries too.