Did I mention I’m going back to Croatia this summer?
Well, I am.
Those of you who were following The Risible Rambler last year may recall that trip. I could blog about nothing else. I mean, I was in Croatia, for crying out loud. How often in your life do you get to go to Croatia?
The experience changed my life. In a good way. The trip came after the most turbulent semester of my life. I was rebuilding last summer. Rebuilding everything. I was rubble at the end of my sophomore year of college. Everything I had been before that year had been systematically torn down, and not by me. I was left with a pile of bricks and a memory of a blueprint.
And then, that summer, I found myself rebuilding in a country very much in need of rebuilding. I landed in a country full of people who were still aching from the war that wiped out a generation of Croatian men and raised a generation of children afraid to play in the forests for fear of landmines.
I taught English. I’m not sure how I did, actually—me, with no gift for teaching and no great gift with children. But my students were, in a word, brilliant. They were thrilled to be learning things, thrilled to meet an American, and thrilled to show me their culture. I made friends with them, and had several chances to give them the truth of God’s Gospel. Best thing in the world.
The Croatian pastor and his wife practically adopted me. Our communication was limited—I speak broken German and they are fairly fluent, so we scraped together a few good conversations—but their selflessness and their unconditional love was inspirational.
Long story short, I fell in love last summer. I fell in love with a country and the people of that country. I fell in love with travel. I fell in love with God all over again.
I debated as to whether or not I should go back. After all, this is my last summer as a college student. I could spend it working or applying to graduate schools. Or just chilling, prepping my academic muscles for the oncoming rigors of a packed senior year.
But that’s just it. This is the last summer of my college career. I didn’t want to spend it on myself. I had the thought over Christmas that this might be my last summer on earth. You never know what might happen—human life is such a fragile thing. I didn’t want to spend what could be my last summer twiddling my thumbs while there are people out there who have never heard the Gospel.
So I’m going. On June 14th, I’ll be flying back to Croatia, my home away from home, armed with a camera and a box of lesson material.
I love adventure.