On departures ...
It's possible that in the near future I'll become a citizen and a statistic of another country, not Croatia.
It means that Hvar will no longer be my Croatian “B” address – from now on, I’ll be a tourist coming to visit.
Fearing what awaits me somewhere out “there”, I become quite nostalgic. Although, truth be told, I was born a nostalgic and I’m prone to even being nostalgic about things that haven’t even happened yet. Nostalgia is not a particularly useful trait: it’s actually quite useless.
What am I missing about Hvar and why do I already miss it, and I haven’t even left yet?
A friend of mine, who is currently living in Munich, tells me that a colleague of his, a native of Sao Paulo (Brazil), keeps complaining about Munich being too small for him. He tells him that he sometimes runs into the same person twice in a single day, only in different parts of the city. He also tells him that meeting the same person twice in Sao Paulo in an entire month is almost impossible.
Whenever we’d come to Hvar, my husband would insist to meet our friends at a Stari Grad café a la “Cheers”. Stari Grad is the opposite of Sao Paulo. There’s a good chance you’ll run into the same person at least 5 times a day here. There’s no need to arrange a meeting. If you want to see someone, you head out to the “riva”, sit in a café, and you’ll definitely bump into someone. And even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter because you just missed each other – you’ll see each other tomorrow.
This doesn’t mean that the islanders have given up on modern means of communication or that they’re totally unnecessary: it’s just that you don’t have to arrange a meeting days in advance to establish simple contact with another human being.
Life is simpler.
I’ll miss the immediacy.
I’ll miss the beaches. The beaches!!! And the warm, translucent, turquoise sea! That I’ll miss for sure.
A straight line on the horizon, the mythical borderline of the sky and the sea, out there on the southern side of the island, and that view of Vis – I’ll miss that too.
I’ll miss the scent of lavender in July.
I’ll miss the island quiet of September and October.
The September hues of grape picking and the brisk air after the bora while I’m picking olives in November.
I’ll miss picking asparagus in the Stari Grad Ager in early spring.
I’ll miss the casual chit-chat with tourists who book our apartments.
I’ll miss the quiet understanding I have with people who have known me since forever. Their stubbornness and kindness.
Of course, I’ll miss my family the most.
I’ll miss the quiet of the Hvar Christmas Eve, the solemnity of the Holy Week, the mysticism of "Following the Cross", the dignity of Hvar palaces, the zen of the still sea after season, the gold of provincial baroque of Hvar churches, the power of the sirocco in winter, the smell of pine trees in summer, the Perseids, working on a tan, being tired from spending time at the beach doing nothing, the cakes of my childhood – pepper biscuits and “cviti”… and the neighbor who knows absolutely everything about everyone and also makes amazing cakes.
Where I’m going I’ll be sure to find some other still seas, nice people, magnificent festivities, lovely buildings, and a more quality life.
But this here is my own. And I’ll miss it.
In fact, I miss it already.
*Author - Ela Dujmovic
*Translator - Nevena Erak Camaj
*Photo Credit - Aleksandar Topalovic Photography