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:
- 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!
- 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: https://www.traveltomtom.net/travel-tips/europe-sim-card
- 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).