It was pretty a long journey for me to get to Croatia. I departed from Bali, went to KL for a night, then Srilanka for another night, then Rome. From Rome, I took a flight to Split and from there, traveled to Makarska by bus.
Makarska is a town of about 15,000 but it’s one of the famous tourist destinations of Europe. In the tourist season, grows by more than 50,000. The town has two beautiful kinds of scenery which exist side by side – Beaches with clear emerald water and the looming presence of Mount Biokovo which rises immediately behind the town. It’s the stuff of postcards and there are many to be found. The sea and the mountain communicate a combination of softness and firmness. Right away I fell in love with the elegance of this city.
Upon my arrival in Makarska, I was greeted with a plate of local food; prosciutto, pickled olives, cheese and salami, and a bottle of homemade wine. Again, I fell in love.
After one month in Makarska, I began to feel uneasy. I had arrived in time when the town was still pretty empty of tourists. As one of tourists destinations of Europe, the locals’ behavior is somehow pretty much different compared to Asians. Perhaps, because I was still heavily affected by the unpleasant experience at Fiumicino Airport, I judged the locals in Makarska to be as rude as the Fiumicino airport people. It was as if Fiumicino was embedded in my mind and I was seeing the world through the prism of that experience. On top of that, one day an old lady yelled at me just because I was trying to help her to separate her groceries from mine at a supermarket. The eyes of the elderly scrutinized me from top to toe censoriously.
I was uncomfortable with all of it, as if scraped back to the bare bones of all my traumatic experiences. Bit by bit traumas were popping up in my mind and produced disturbing emotions and I unconsciously recalled those experiences; Verbal and physical abuse during my childhood, physical and psychological abuse during my marriage, the loss of my second baby, the divorce, and of course the Fiumicino experience.
The grave of my past emotions was increasingly haunting me, bringing me to a state of despair. My state led a good friend from the UK came to visit me in Makarska to help. Thank God, his presence helped me to get back to myself. After his return to UK, I spent most of my time walking alone in the woods behind my partner’s house and meditating. Slowly I began to accept the traumatic experiences as part of my inner-self journey.
When i was in Bali by myself, i successfully managed to bury those hurtful experiences deeply. With series of spiritual experiences, I thought, I had overcome them all. But maybe, the journey in Bali prepared me to face my hidden ghosts.
Croatia could be considered as a new country. Their independence was 25 years ago and the birth of that country was part of a terrible trauma where outsiders threatened to prevent independence. Slowly i began to understand why some of the elderly looked at me so cynically. Slowly, along with self-acceptance of my traumas, and trying to think positively – the surroundings changed. The universe seemed to flow in tune with my change. A few times, I met some locals, they greet me and threw a smile and sometimes even stopped for a while to chat with me. I even managed to make friends with a Barista.
Three months in Croatia has made me aware of the energy of the universe, about the meaning of forgiveness, of loving myself, of surrender. Croatia, with its own way – a blend of hard and soft, quickly has made me learn more about myself and the energy of the universe. That they are work together hand in hand, and respond to each other.
Without kirtan, without Bali fragrant incenses, without Hindu mantras, without a spiritual guide, I give my heart to this country. This place is my second home now, just like Bali. Croatia has made me understand about the harmony between mind and the energy of the universe.