Moving from the face paced life of the US to the somewhat more laid back lifestyle in Dubrovnik would be a challenge for anyone, but throw a global pandemic into the mix and you’ve got a huge bump in the middle of the road. We caught up with Shawna Bošković to find how she coped with moving home across the Atlantic, from the sunshine of California to the Adriatic sunshine.
And Shawna has a rather special bonus, she is the actual Mrs. Croatia, meaning that she’ll represent Croatia at the worldwide pageant in May this year in Sri Lanka! “I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for me to get involved in my community and showcase the wonderful place and people of Croatia,” says Shawna with a broad smile on her face. In less than a year of being here she is already extremely active in the community, supporting projects from the animal shelter to co-operating with home-grown fashion designers.
Culturally it’s very different from the US
You’ve recently moved from the US to Croatia. What have been the cultural surprises for you? Have you now got used to life on the other side of the Atlantic?
I moved here in February of 2020 just before the pandemic hit the world! Needless to say moving around the world and trying to adjust is hard but throwing in a global pandemic into the mix made things a lot trickier. At first it was hard. I wanted to immerse myself in my new home but we were quarantined luckily this gave me time to research all the places I wanted to go and connect with neighbours and groups all over Facebook. I was also able to explore our wonderful Dubrovnik almost empty! Something that was truly an amazing site to see. It also showed me how hard it would affect the businesses and I become very invested in the people I had grown to love in Croatia.
. The United States is very fast paced. You sometimes feel as though you live to work. In Croatia I feel as though we work to live and because of that it is so full of life! I have met the kindest people here. Adjusting to the more relaxed open door lifestyle was different and at times difficult but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I was able to go back to California at Christmas to visit my family, it was then I realized Croatia was my forever home when I found myself missing it and very ready to come home. Not only is Croatia beautiful on the outside it is so rich and beautiful on the inside and the people here show me that every day.
It is an honour to represent Croatia as the Mrs. Croatia world 2021
You are the actual Mrs. Croatia 2021 and will be representing Croatia at the 2021 Mrs. World pageant. Can you tell us something more of this award?
It is an honour to represent Croatia as the Mrs. Croatia world 2021. The pageant is the largest in the world (as a MRS pageant) including Mrs America. It showcases married women and women with families. I love this because it shows you are not defined by a single or married status and a woman can be so much when she is also a wife. I was also somewhat trying to find where I fit into Croatia and when the Mrs world pageant presented itself I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for me to get involved in my community and showcase the wonderful place and people of Croatia.
What have you been doing in your role as Mrs. Croatia 2021? Was it difficult to operate last year as Covid-19 caused a lockdown?
Covid is posing somewhat of a problem because it makes it more difficult to work with our businesses in person especially right now. Although I am doing my best to work safely and do as much as I can with the resources presented to me. I am currently working with the lovely people of the Zarkovica dog shelter in Dubrovnik. They work very hard to house animals and find their forever homes. Without a tourist season and people to walk the animals and low funds it has been a very hard year for them. I am trying to bring awareness of their wonderful work!
With the earthquakes as well I am doing any and everything I can to help the people affected. Our wonderful communities here are getting many resources to them and I’m happy to help and donate! I like to say it might be early for “spring cleaning” but it’s the perfect time to go through your things and anything unwanted or not often used would be of great help to all of those people affected! As a native Californian seeing the earthquake devastation hits close to home. I would love to assist them in getting whatever they need.
On top of that I am also working with Croatian companies and designers to showcase the talents and beauty of Croatia. I am working with an amazing young designer named Tena Filicic. She is doing all my work for the upcoming pageant to represent Croatia. I look forward to showcasing her Croatian designs on a World platform.
I am working with an amazing young designer named Tena Filicic
The US has been going through a bumpy period. How closely have you been following events and the first steps of the new President?
I am still very close to everyone back in California. It has been bumpy to say the least but we were due for change. I have been watching all of the events. From the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality to the road of having a new president and Vice President. It was an honour to see a woman from the Bay Area become the first Woman Vice President.
Even though you have Croatian roots just how difficult was it to adjust to life in Croatia after being raised in the States? What do you miss from life in San Francisco?
I would say the difficulty comes and goes. Some days life in Croatia in a dream but I am also learning the language and that can be trying. I really cannot complain about the adjustment to Croatia though, as everyone I have met has been so willing to help. I miss my family most in San Francisco.
The pandemic lead to many missed flights a cancelled and a rebooked wedding celebration here in Dubrovnik. However, it was all a blessing in disguise. It gave me time to make lifelong friendships and learn my wonderful city I will now be able to share with my friends and family when they visit and also be able to showcase to the world at the Mrs world completion in May. Thank you to everyone in Croatia and if anyone would like to work with me on any projects or teach me more of something culturally you think should be showcased I’m just a message away!!