In our feature ‘Word on the Street…Foreigners who made Croatia home’ – we meet people who have decided to move and make a new life in Croatia…
We find out from them why they came and stayed, what they enjoy about their ‘new’ home, how they getting on with the language, and what tips they have for those contemplating a move.
Today we meet Janna who now resides in Zagreb…
Janna Iakusheva Varga
Too young to think about it… just the right age to tango!
Country of origin:
How long have you been in Zagreb?
Almost three years
What brought you to Zagreb?
Where do I begin, by telling the story of how great a love can be…
What was the most difficult thing about the shift?
When I married Bobo, I had a pet. Chuck. He was a 10-year-old bull mastiff. Due to his age, he was not able to travel by plane. So we decided to drive from Zagreb to Murmansk (4000km) and back just to bring him over. We rented a motorhome for this occasion. Although it looked like quite a problem in the beginning, it turned out to be one of the best experiences.
How do you make your living in Zagreb?
We run our own restaurant: the only Russian restaurant in Zagreb, “The Pushkin’s Office”.
3 favourite things about Zagreb?
The people, the culture, the atmosphere. It looks like quite a comfortable place to live in.
3 Things you would like to change about Zagreb?
The way dog owners behave, (not cleaning up after their dogs) and the second thing is Zagreb drivers which are convinced that they were born Shumachers. Only two for now…
Favourite ‘Croatian’ food?
Lamb from the spit. And piglet. And grilled meat in general.
Tea and vodka, as I am 100% Russian. I am kidding about the vodka. But as for tea I really enjoy it. Unfortunately you cannot find big selection of tea at supermarkets here. But I managed to find a couple of small shops where the sellers understand that tea is not just a drink but also a philosophy. A glass of good red wine too, of course. Especially when we sit on our terrace and enjoy the summer sunsets…
Favourite place to eat?
Home. As my husband is a fantastic cook! But when we have some kind of special occasion – Lido restaurant: view + cuisine + staff.
Not my cup of tea.
Favourite place to chill out/relax?
We live out of Zagreb, in Adamovec. Fresh air and calm nature… Should we need anything more to relax?
Favourite place outside of Zagreb to visit in Croatia?
My husband is a boat builder and yachtsman. We already sailed to a lot of beautiful spots along the coast. The Adriatic Sea, definitely!
How are you going with the language?
When I communicate with Croats they ask me if I am from Slovenia.
Biggest cultural difference between Croatia and your home country?
This magic Croatian word “polako” drives me crazy.
Is there anything that makes you ‘homesick’?
No… nothing. Fortunately or unfortunately.
Do you see yourself staying in Croatia?
Sure! I am here to stay!
Any tips for anyone looking at making a move?
For me, Croatian bureaucracy is not bureaucracy at all. People are kind and look forward to help you in any way they can. Do not be afraid of it!