back in the bubble

I finished my last lesson at 1pm and was on a train to Ancona an hour later. My final week in Florence was a whirlwind of goodbyes, packing, and final lessons. Sleep deprived and a bit stressed, knowing that I would soon be back in Croatia got me through the chaos.

Within hours I was on board a ferry with my good friend Jason, where we would travel across the Adriatic Sea to land in Zadar, Croatia. The early rays of the sunrise woke me up at 4am, so I sat and welcomed the sun and summer – feeling extremely at peace.

Once we arrived in PakoŇ°tane, we went straight to work. It felt as though we didn’t skip a beat since last summer and that we had never left our little world.  My life in Florence felt miles and years away and my future plans were out of sight, out of mind. I was quickly catapulted back in the bubble of Croatia where the biggest problem is no bananas at breakfast and the biggest worry is whether the wind is too strong for activities on the waterfront. 

Even though I returned to paradise, perfect summers cannot repeat themselves. I am different than the person who arrived in Zagreb a year ago. I have grown, evolved, and learned more about myself. I wasn’t going to Croatia to heal my soul or find peace this time around. I was returning to a place and people that comfort me and fill my heart.

We eased our way into the beginning of the season and prepared for the staff the come. Upon everyone’s arrival, I immediately knew it would be a much calmer and different summer than last. The group is predominately British or American and I quickly sensed the loss of the appeal and diversity that the mainland Europeans bring.  Nevertheless, we were armed with a solid staff of energetic and skilled twenty-something year olds who were ready to give their hearts to hundreds of children throughout the summer. It took some time for the chemistry among returners and newbies to establish and grow, but eventually the group united and friendships began to develop. It has been a wonderful summer thus far. No better or no worse than the last, just a different group of souls offering different things to learn about each other and ourselves.

I naturally fell back into the ease of camp and enjoyed the controlled chaos. My days start with morning runs along the sea where I am constantly reminded of how blessed my life is. My nights end with thanks to God for my health and happiness and with silent prayers for friends and family that are scattered throughout the world. Life is good. 

Yet even though I am living in a place where the sun is always shining, the sea mirrors the cloudless sky, and I am surrounded by the innocent laughter of children, I cannot shake this stomach-dropping feeling. 

 I know in my heart I am where I am supposed to be in my life right now. I know that I am not ready to return to America or settle down in one country. I do not know where I will be one year from now or even three months from now- no one truly does.  But I trust that my path will unfold before me and I will travel to where I am meant to be. However, it has been a long time since I have been home and a lot has changed. Family members have moved, friends have gotten married, relationships have altered, and a loved one’s health has crumbled. My heart is full but it feels so heavy. I feel like I need to be in two places at once – Croatia and Connecticut. I feel selfish for distancing myself from home and not being at my family’s side. I feel guilty that I do not desire to return to live in the states. Even though friends and family pour out constant support and say coming home wouldn't change the situation, these thoughts creep up on me and cloud my mind. This bubble separates me from reality but I can still see through it and watch my worlds overlap.   

 Luckily I have very good friends here in Croatia. Our friendships began last summer and our bonds have evolved and strengthened over the year.  They quickly sensed the worry in my eyes and without any falter, Mick, Clare, Sonya and Jason reaffirmed that they are, and will always, be there for me.  I know they will support me in any decision I make.  They are my rocks this summer and I am so thankful for the comfort and reassurance they bring. I am so fortunate to have these kinds of friendships here in Europe and back at home. I have gotten very good at being independent and taking care of myself, but it is nice to know that I have a shoulder or two to lean on if I need it. 

If I need to go home, I will be on the next plane out. But for now, I cannot live each day haunted by "what ifs" and worry. Worrying only puts negative energy into the world and erases the day of its joy. So, I will continue to go with the flow. Travel the world while I can. Explore new places. Learn from others. When obstacles arise I will face them and when opportunities come I will take them. I will carry on with my summer in Croatia, enjoying this piece of paradise and surrounded by good old friends and new ones. There are things I cannot control and plans will change, but that is the beauty of life.


  1. You are exactly where you need to be! A kiss from Arizona. Love you!


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