Defining Experience

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I have always considered myself an open and welcome person who treated everyone fairly. Other people that I knew would often express views that people, who lived in the United States, whether legally or not, should learn how to speak “our” language. While I tended to agree with them I never gave it much thought, until I found myself in a foreign country, and unable to speak the language. It was there that I learned, not only how it felt to not be able to communicate easily, but to be more tolerant of other people’s non-native speaking.

I have always loved to travel with family and friends, and there was no better time than when I was living and working in Serbia. While I worked with people from many nationalities most, if not all, spoke the English language. I took this for granted, and while I made some attempts to learn new languages, I did not try too hard. After a particularly stressful month of work I felt the need to get away from it all, to rest and relax, and to broaden my perspective of the world. I made reservations for six solo days of scuba diving in Croatia. I was excited, nervous, even a little scared of traveling alone. I told myself that I’m 36 years old, have two kids, and lived in another country, so I held my head high, bid my friends farewell and took off.

Upon arrival in Croatia I picked up my rental car at the airport in Zagreb. I got on the A1 motorway and pointed the Fiat Punta south towards the small fishing village of Rocogniza. I arrived there late in the afternoon and promptly found the dive shop that had arranged all my accommodations. I settled in and then set off into the village to explore and buy food to prepare for dinner.

The sun was shining and felt warm as I parked my car started walking towards the village. I traveled past centuries old houses, a large stone Orthodox Christian church, and into the village. Once in the village I saw the bustle of people coming to and from the outdoor market and the fisher men...
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