The Tor Rebels in Croatia

“Joanne, you’re absolutely crazy. How can you be going to Croatia now when it’s still covid times??? And you want to risk your husband’s life as well by bringing him there?”

My mother, unlike me, has a problem fighting against her people pleasing tendencies. By a stroke of luck, I have always grown up as a natural rebel. The more someone says it can’t be done, the more intrigued I am in getting it done. But not my mother.

Sunset in zadar

I had been in split with some friends when my mum video called me. I showed her where I was and she said “Waaaaaaahhhhhhh I want!!!!!!” to which I said “technically you could come! Just have to pay for quarantine when you go back.”

Against much well meaning advice and concerns, my mother made an executive decision to come find me. Me – her daughter who powered through covid times and continued slow traveling, as though I were invincible. The recovery from grief and trauma makes you a little delirious sometimes, and that’s what brought my journey to Croatia. A few days later, my dad joined the rebel team. We were a formidable trio who had our minds set on reuniting in a few weeks.

For the next few weeks, we got everything sorted – what they needed to bring me (mostly food food and more food), where they would serve quarantine, travel insurance etc etc. My dad would ask “how many days!” and from 25! It went down to 19! Then 5! Then 18 hours!!!

Reunited after 11 months

My parents brought along 30kilos of baggage, a ton of guilt, took a 15 hour flight and arrived safe in my arms about a week ago. They were made to feel very guilty before leaving, and were tremendously afraid of contracting the virus and being irresponsible to their family and friends back home. But love prevails, and their love for me helped them swim against the tides of societal pressures. The first thing they asked me at the airport was “Here need to check in anot” I hadn’t got a clue what they meant so I said uh….. No?

After taking a test and providing their negative results to the government, they received confirmation that they could be released into the wild. They only had to quarantine for 48 hours.

After completing their quarantine, we spent a few freezing days exploring Zagreb before coming to sunny Zadar, where blue skies are taken for granted and everyone is happy and says hi to you.

Having not met them for a year, it was hard at first to adjust to being together all the time. Certain topics came to discussion and there have been tears, laughter and lots of hugs and holding hands. For those who haven’t read my personal blog before, 2020 has been, for me, a year of healing from a divorce. A divorce happens not just to you, but to your family too. My parents have also been hurting and being emotional caregivers for me, needed this break to breathe and let loose.

Since we’ve been reunited, we spend every day enjoying the little things. Being able to see each other once we wake up in the morning, borrowing tooth paste to brush our teeth before we sleep at night. We enjoy watching the leaves fall, we laugh at seagulls stealing food from pigeons. We hold hands while walking to the grocery store, we watch sunsets together, go for long walks together, and cook alot.

In Croatia, most restaurants and shops are open, although only till 10pm, which is fine because the sun sets by 5pm, making you sleepy by 9pm.

Mum enjoys taking her walks, cooking soups and then watching Korean drama shows while facing the sunset.

Dad enjoys following me on grocery runs, twirling me around like he always does when we walk, and drinking Croatian beer while flipping through Croatian TV channels.

Taking an afternoon dip in the 14 Deg water

I’ve always known my parents were special, but this trip is extra unforgettable. I’m thankful for them taking this leap of faith and trusting me to bring them around Croatia safely. Its not easy to go against the grain, and have to constantly answer to people. Luckily, now that they’re here, they realize its completely doable to keep a 5 metre distance from people if they wanted, and that its not that scary to travel amidst covid.

We have 5 precious weeks together, and I’ve got a good number of places to show them. Croatia has been one of my favourite places to explore so far, and my parents being here with me just tops the cake. Plus gelato here is $2, I think that’s reason enough to stay here for a while.

Life is a gift, and it’s up to us to decide how we want to enjoy this honour of living. When we dare to make our own choices, walk our own paths and tell our own stories, we take ownership of our lives. We stop blaming things or situations, and we learn that there are a million things that are out of our control. We only get to choose how we behave as people, and how we respond to what life throws us into.

My parents gave me this sweet breath of life, they taught me what love is, and they’ve always had my back no matter what. They’re my tribe, my people, my best friends. I’m so thankful to them and incredibly grateful that we have this chance of a lifetime to explore Croatia together – covid or not.

Till the next update! The Tor Rebels sending everyone love and light.