American Expats Living in Croatia - Interview with Ana & Frank

Published: 16 Apr at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Croatia
Ana and Frank are currently living in Croatia, after moving here from Tampa Florida in 2010. Their family is not only a blended family because this is a second marriage for both of them, but they are also a blend of cultures on a journey to make a better life for their family. Ana & Frank's expat blog is called Our Blended Marriage - American Expat Blog (see listing here)

Our Family
Our Family

Here's the interview with Ana & Frank...

Where are you originally from?
We came to Croatia from Tampa, Florida in November 2010. Ana is born and raised Croatian, Frank is originally from Tampa, although he spent the majority of his childhood living in Germany as a "military brat".

In which country and city are you living now?
We are living in a small town of Veliko Trgovisce in Croatia. Veliko Trgovisce is about an hour drive away from Zagreb and geographically belongs in Hrvatsko Zagorje region.

How long have you lived in Croatia and how long are you planning to stay?
We have been living here for a little over three years now. We are not sure how long we will stay here. Originally, this was supposed to be a temporary move, but life had other plans. We know that one day we plan to move back to USA, but that day isn't in the near future.

Our neighborhood
Our neighborhood
Why did you move to Croatia and what do you do?
We moved here due to some personal reasons; Ana's mom being in a car accident being one of them. Frank currently works for Pro-Samp, and Ana is running her own small business providing web design and translation services.

Did you bring family with you?
Our children came with us, naturally. They are both bilingual and see both countries as their home.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
For Ana, moving from Croatia to USA wasn't actually that big of a shock, somehow she adjusted pretty quickly to American way of life. Frank has always on the other hand longed for the slower pace of European life and the scenery, and he considers himself lucky to find that in their part of Croatia.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
We think both nations are quite friendly. Croatians tend to be more relaxed and easy going. One thing that Frank noticed is that Croatians enjoy drinking their coffee for what seems hours and dinner is usually accompanied by a glass of wine; something that isn't so common in USA.

Trakoscan Castle in Hrvatsko Zagorje
Trakoscan Castle in Hrvatsko Zagorje
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
The best things in the area include exploring all the wonderful castles located in Hrvatsko Zagorje, the wine cellars, and the nearby Medvednica. During spring you can also enjoy visiting the local medieval tournament! And if that's not enough, why not visit one of the few local thermal spa's like Tuheljske Toplice?

What do you enjoy most about living in Croatia?
I would say the scenery takes the top place, closely followed by food, especially burek with meat!

How does the cost of living in Croatia compare to home?
Some things are more expensive in Croatia, some things are more expensive in USA. However, the pay is definitely lower in Croatia than it is in the USA.

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Croatia?
The bureaucracy in Croatia can sometimes be painfully slow, and some things are unnecessarily complicated. The other downside is the lack of available jobs.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Croatia, what would it be?
Be prepared for slow bureaucracy! Also be mindful of Croatian bakeries and their burek! Those things are meant to tempt you into sin.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest aspect is the fact that Frank's son is in the USA and so far we haven't been able to bring him for a visit. We miss him but unfortunately Skype and letters are all we can afford at the moment.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Honestly, we will miss the scenery and some of the food (mainly burek), but we don't believe we will have any major issues.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Make sure you research the area you are moving to. Not knowing the simple rules can make the whole experience more painful than it needs to be.
  2. Gather and prepare ALL your paperwork beforehand and make sure it's officially notarized and translated.
  3. Don't expect everything to be the same as in your home country. It won't be. Learn to accept it and enjoy it.
  4. Learn some basic phrases, at least how to say hello, ask for help, and if you are moving to Croatia; learn how to order coffee or beer!
  5. Most importantly, don't be prejudiced. Moving to another country requires you to have an open mind and be tolerant of different cultures.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
While we do blog about our life in Croatia, we also blog about what it means to be a blended family (in more than one way) and how to have a happy and healthy marriage.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
The best way to reach us is via our blog or Twitter.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingAna & Frank is an American expat living in Croatia. Blog description: We are what experts call a blended family. Both of us have been married before and on top of that, our marriage is also a blend of two different cultures, American and Croatian. We moved from USA to Croatia where we currently live.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

SJ @ Chasing The Donkey wrote 8 years ago:

I follow along with Frank and Ana - they are such a lovely couple! Hopefully one day we can meet.

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