As soon as we stop moving forward, we don’t hold the position, we move backwards. Stop moving for too long and you’ll go full speed in one direction, the one you have just come from. Having lived in an international metropolis for most of my life I know the city way of life. You will probably find that the vast majority of people living in a city are doing so because of the financial benefits. It isn’t an easy place to live, at least not for me. And after working all day in the hustle and bustle the last thing you want is to live there, you just can’t escape the pressure. So most people, when they have made enough money, look for a place in the countryside. The real wealth in the UK is in the green and pleasant rolling fields.
That’s the natural progression, make money, move away. All of my family have done exactly that, parents, sister, uncles and aunties. Now I am not saying that I have made enough to be able to live in a castle in the country and be the Lord of the Manor, but I did know that I wanted to find peace and tranquillity in the green suburbs. “Why would you want to move to Zupa,” was the cry from a lot of my friends here. I couldn’t help but think “why not.” I saw a chance to be on the periphery, away from the crowds, a chance to find some much needed peace. I also saw a lot of potential. It was, even when we moved, a land of opportunity. And slowly but surely in those early years it proved to be a winner. We had found our countryside castle.
Work in the city then escape to the calm of Zupa. “It is too far away,” was the next cry. Far away from the noise, parking problems, crowds, cruise ship passengers, exhaust fumes, police sirens...I see that distance as an advantage. In fact you must be mad not to.
And then almost over one summer the landscape changes once again, we get a luxury Sheraton hotel and a shopping centre within walking distance of our house. We can literally walk to them both in seven minutes, yet we can’t see or hear either of them. All of the opportunities, none of the hassle.
Of course you could accuse me of being a local patriot; you don’t have to accuse me - I am! What’s the point of living somewhere and not singing its praises, you must like it otherwise you wouldn’t live there. The explosion of recent construction works hasn’t been without its opponents. I have learned that that is completely normal behaviour here and when I hear the complaints I ignore them, they are like water off a ducks back for me. I can’t remember any project that has been greeted with open arms and a wide smile...ever.
Are you so disappointed with your own lives that you have to find fault in the actions of others to make you feel better about your own deficiencies? It’s a culture of cutting things down to your level rather than trying to raise your own standards. Before the shopping centre has even opened people are saying “I have heard that there wouldn’t be any decent shops inside,” and “it is much smaller than in Split,” and “it’s the same shops we have already.” These are the same people that have been crying that Dubrovnik doesn’t have a shopping centre ever since I moved here. Too many people have an opinion, and a facial expression, like they have found 50 Kunas but at the same time managed to lose 100 Kunas.
I was told recently by a hotel receptionist, when I was moaning that it was too hot, that I need to be grateful. “Our English guests have three days on sunshine in a month and they are grateful for them, but here we complain when we have 27 days of sun, that the three days are rainy.” A local explaining the English culture to me, an interesting experience. But she was right; we maybe have to learn to be more grateful and humble. Far too much time is wasted trying to pick holes in the good things in life, and not seeing the good in life. Learning to be satisfied with what we have, and not frustrated about what other people have. As the author Jeff Dixon once wrote “sometimes we focus so much on what we don’t have that we fail to see, appreciate and use what we do have.” Wise words.