Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reservations on the Island of Dugi Otok :)

We just reserved an apartment in a village called Verunic. It’s close to the village where my great grandfather came from named Veli Rat, on the island of Dugi Otok. This was one of our favorite spots when we visited Croatia three years ago. We didn’t stay long because we had to catch a ferry off the island the same day. We are staying a whole week on this island in late July. We will be fishing in the sea, and bathing on the shores of Saharun beach. We will be visiting the town of Sali for shops and dining.

Link to a map of Dugi Otok:,15.087927&spn=0.412932,0.887833&t=v&z=11

Link for where we are staying:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Small World List

History teacher at the American International School of Zagreb went to Eisenhower High School in Yakima where I teach. He was a foreign exchange student from Croatia. Then went UW.

The Art teacher I’m replacing went to school at Western Washington University, and is from Richland, Washington.

Math teacher at AISZ went to school at Central Washington University where both Katie and I went. He did his student teaching at Davis High School, which is the cross-town rival of Eisenhower High School where I teach. He also has a house in Washington.

Another teacher at AISZ has the name Mirkovich in her family tree dating back 2 generations. Her family is from the island of Susak, which is just north of Dugi Otok where my family originated from. If we are related, I don’t know but I hope to find out. :)

Went to see the Vet to get Lucy all up to date with her shots and micro chipped to go overseas. I mentioned to him that we were moving to Croatia. He said he knew someone from his church that had a daughter in Zagreb who runs a summer camp. A phone call and an email later, we are communicating and planning to meet in Zagreb. She knows someone on the Zagreb Baseball Club.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bittersweet: How a 1994 Honda Accord Made Me Cry (Katie's Post)

Our very first car was bought in Ellensburg in the summer of 2004. We were engaged, in college, and poor. We found a 1994 Honda Accord with a CD player, cruise control, and a sunroof. What else could you need?

We drove that car all the way down to Alamosa, Colorado, when Sam tried a Masters program down there one summer. He decided he didn't like other people telling him how to do his artwork, so it was just a 3 week trip for us. We took it to Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, Yellowstone. We were going to take it on our very first camping trip down the Washington, Oregon and California coastline. But on the first night of our trip, Sam got rear ended in Seattle. So we ended up taking a rental car (which incidentally got backed into in San Francisco. Ironic.)

We filled it up with all of our belongings and moved it to Yakima, where it got broken into about 5 times. It also got stolen in Yakima (all they took was the CD player and some burned CDs. I'm sure they were disappointed by my CD collection of Norah Jones and Dave Matthews.)

We picked up Lucy and took her home from the vet in that car. She loved to hang her head out the window, which she can't do so easily in our Honda Fit.

It's weird that we get attached to such objects in our lives. I remember my parents sold this gray couch when I was little. I literally cried when they sold it. A couch. Cried. It's strange.

But we have a lot of great memories tied up in that car. And today we sold it. It made me extremely sad to see it drive away, feeling like I was losing something really special. Silly, I know. We're starting to pack up our house, put it on the market. And I know that selling this house will make me much sadder than selling a car. But it's all part of the process. Bittersweet. One less thing to worry about when we move. One more step to saying goodbye.

The money we got from selling the Accord will go towards buying another car in Zagreb, which will surely carry even more wonderful memories.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Baseball in Zagreb? (Sam's Post)

I was browsing online about Zagreb and I came across a website for a Zagreb baseball club who plays in a Croatian league. I was really intrigued. So I clicked a couple of links (although I didn’t know a single word on the page because it was all in Croatian). On the site I saw a couple pictures of men playing baseball. I was really thrown back by seeing baseball being played in Croatia. Long story short, I thought it would be fun to play baseball again. What an amazing way to get to know Croatia and its people by playing a game that I once loved.

Baseball has been a tough, emotional rollercoaster in my life. From getting second team all-league for the position of 1st base as a junior in high school to getting kicked off the baseball team my senior year because of differences with the coach. Then returning to baseball in college and adapting to a new position as a pitcher. I just fell in love with the game again. After finishing college I started coaching baseball, which I grew a very strong passion for. However after a couple years of coaching in Yakima I just kept on having doors close on me. I went from having a job coaching baseball to not having a job available, to head coach turnovers, and then not getting the head baseball coach position at Eisenhower High. I realize now that I was not the right fit for the job at Eisenhower because I didn’t have the experience yet to take on that role. Through all that, I truly didn’t feel like the culture of Yakima baseball was the right fit. But there was a lot of pain in my heart over this. Over time, I’ve become thankful it didn’t work out. The best way of illustrating this experience is when a relationship doesn’t work out. Then over time, you look back and see the big picture and see that it wasn’t a good relationship to begin with. Eventually you see you are better off because new opportunities arise later... Anyways back to baseball. If I received a more permanent baseball job in Yakima I would have never applied for this position in Zagreb. It wouldn’t have even been on the radar. My life would have been so closed off to such great opportunities. So for that, I am grateful.

So I emailed the President of the team in Zagreb by using Google translator. Shortly after I heard back that they were interested in having me on the team. I truly feel that God closes doors to open better ones later. Some of the best times and the best people in my life were on the baseball field. I truly can’t wait for next year and what it will bring to us.