Three Tattoos and a SIM Card

On the day I left for Croatia, my best friend Heather helped me to adhere three temporary tattoos she gave me as a gift.  One was the cancer constellation (my zodiac sign) and the others said “Dance” and “Courage”.  I set an intention for each one and consciously chose where to put them.  “Dance” went onto the ankle of my left foot. I broke my left leg in three places earlier this summer—tibia, fibula, and ankle—and this accident prevented me from leaving for sabbatical until September.  It also prevents me from dancing, which I love!  I intend to dance once I am fully healed, but that can take up to a year.  I was hoping to do the Linđo and Kolo while I was here, but I will need to watch them instead. Regardless of participating or watching, dancing brings me joy.  Now that I am done with my conference, there is the process of settling into my current surroundings. I can’t walk too quickly or far but I’m incredibly lucky, for now, to be staying at my cousin’s apartment which is close to Sunset Beach on Uvala Lapad Bay.  For the past four days, I haven’t missed a sunset and it’s striking how each night, the sun and sky are different. For those of you who see my posts on Facebook, you see that I cannot help but post sunset pictures!     

“Courage” we put over my heart.  I brought two heart necklaces with me—one from my father and one from my friend Connie.  The heart she gave me opens to reveal a tiny compass inside. When I feel lost, I am reminded to look into my heart and find home.  I have already worn them both; they tie me to my past and ground me to the present. Although I love traveling, I have not done it extensively and to be away from home for nearly a year is both exciting and terrifying.  I am someone who needs connection so having access to the internet and a working phone has become a vital part of my first week and a half here. Each day I try and take on one new task that I will need for my stay.  Two days ago, that was getting a Croatian SIM card from Hrvatski Telecom (T-mobile).

The Cancer zodiac constellation tattoo we put on the inside of my arm. Here, I set the intention that the universe would guide me. As someone who likes to plan, understand, and be in as much control as possible, I knew so much would be out of hands.

I did not think guidance would come in the form of an agent from Verizon yesterday morning.  After spending nearly two days panicking over what had happened to my phone, Adrian chatted me through over an hour of resetting it (I have an eight page transcript of that interaction should I need it again).  I’m forever grateful, Adrian, as this was not about my phone per se, but my lack of connection.

Despite my best efforts to plan for cell phone service, I have learned three things:

  1. Make sure your cell phone is unlocked from your carrier! Even if the phone is paid for, not being used, or no longer under any contract, that does not mean it’s unlocked. I was encouraged by several friends who travel outside the US that I should get a T-Mobile plan as they do not charge extra for international service.  But, their current policy only allows 90 days of such service—that wasn’t going to work for me.  So, my best option was to have two phones.  Heather gave me her old iphone, but didn’t know it was locked (I kept getting an error message when the Croatian SIM card went into it). The young woman who sold me the SIM card said it was no problem to switch my Croatian and Verizon cards in my phone. Great suggestion…not! 
  2. Do NOT put a foreign SIM card into your phone thinking that you can put your old one in without problems. It doesn’t work that way.  My phone now had two numbers—a US and Croatian one. It was confused and so was I.  If you purchase a SIM card in Croatia, know that most of them ONLY work in Croatia. Here is a good resource about cell phones in Croatia.  Otherwise, get a SIM card that can be used in multiple European countries:
  3. Most importantly, have a best friend who knows how frenetic you can get when you’re anxious and can support both your emotional and practical needs.  

Although my temporary tattoos have faded, their intentions are permanent and a daily reminder of what I will continue to need during my sabbatical stay here. 

Ples, Hrabrost, i Vođenje (Dance, Courage, and Guidance).   

12 thoughts on “Three Tattoos and a SIM Card

  1. Love the two hearts. Love that you are wearing them and remembering. This is a great reflection on how we are all connected all the time even when not in the line of sight. Rumble on my friend, a true Wander Woman! (sic)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Three Tattoos and a Sim Card could easily be the title of a book! Brilliant!
    Leave it to Heather to give you the most heart-felt body art. 🥰
    I am so sorry for the phone frustration. I wish I could be helpful with stuff like that but it sounds like you got it sorted out thanks to Adrian! 😅
    Your photos of the sunsets are simply amazing! Each and every one. I am amazed that Mato’s apartment is so close to the water. We are all under that same sun, seeing it together every single day!
    Leaving for Nepal soon! Excited but apprehensive too…I know you can relate.
    Fall is in the air here Mala! Beautiful warm sun and cool air! My favorite!
    Thinking of you, loving you always! Glad to see you’re still on Facebook.
    Let us know what your plans are, if you’re going to University or staying in Dubrovnik?
    P.S. you can sort-of-dance on one leg, eh?💃🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear Kristine! Right about the title? Coming from my book group coordinator, that means a lot! By the way, I’m reading Where the Crawdads Sing now…love! I’ve never really had time to write more creatively and I’m enjoying it. It takes me a LONG time, though. I know that you could do what you can if you could. It was so heartwrenching to not be able to communicate. Here is to the internet (and Mato having it in his apartment!). Yes, I bet you are apprehensive about your trip to Nepal. Take good care, my dear fellow traveler! ❤

      Later this coming week, I'll be spending time at Libertas University in Old Town Dubrovnik to learn about what they can offer for study abroad options. I'm sure I'll get the Game of Thrones tour!

      Indeed, dancing on one leg or in my heart!

      Lots of love to you,


      1. Wow about Game of Thrones tour! Just had 2 monarchs emerge from their chrysalis! I’ll have to figure out how to post pictures here! Truly amazing 🥰

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  3. Do not underestimate the powers but you have to make connections while their. You have always been an outgoing and social person, and those connections in Croatia will come. And fact I would suggest that you amerce yourself as much as possible into your new reality for this year, so that your connections back home do not become too much of a distraction that keep you from truly experiencing your environment and surroundings. We will all be here when you get back.

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  4. Those stunning sunsets can be reminders of the connection both here on earth as well in the spiritual realm….on this side of the ocean the sun rises and sets with you as do our hearts…you are incredibly courageous the way you’ve danced through life overseas as well as back home. Love you


  5. There is so much here that resonates, my friend. I *need* a plan, and right now I’m in the midst of an extended family circumstance that has none…. it’s making me feel crazy. When I try to imagine feeling unsettled and a continent away, I can barely stand the thought! I am grateful for those who are helping you each step of the way. We miss you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer. You and I share that need for knowing, I think. A good friend recently reminded me that “all has already been planned, you just need to let it unfold.” At least it gives me a different perspective if not a moment to breathe. Your connection warms my heart–I miss you all terribly.

      Liked by 1 person

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