Old Country

Ireland was real pretty, but today in Dubrovnik I had to contemplate the possibility of running away forever. There is not a photo that could do it justice. This shot is simply a reflection on a path that could be taken.

It brings to mind a few things. The lane pictured here is Ustinje Sveti Marijana, which reminds me both of my sister Lauren Goodwin and her middle name, and of a beautiful folk song my grandmother used to sing with her, “o Marijana, slatke Marjiana…”

It also makes me think of Ville de Quebec, that beautiful old walled city under six feet of snow. Dubrovnik is just like that, except it’s built on a site that meets the sea boldly, like at East Sooke Park. The waves end themselves on the ancient rocks, and the salty mist mingles with the sweet scents of the pines in a way that immediately sends my mind back to the place I call home.

Unlike in Quebec, or even Dublin for that matter, I don’t stick out. The minute you open your mouth abroad, you’re an American – or in Quebec you can’t avoid that Tête Carre accent. Here, I’m able to flip out a “Dobra Dan” or a “Hvala” with enough panache that two cashiers and even a border guard have tried to complete the transaction entirely in Po Nase – a language I grew up hearing but have never learned to speak. I’m a stranger in a foreign land and yet somehow, impossibly, at home amongst my people.

Why didn’t I know this beautiful place is what my heritage had to offer? Honestly, I had constructed an image of Yugoslavia in my head that looked a lot like the village scenes in Borat (which were filmed in rural Serbia, fun fact). But this – THIS is so much more. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and it’s plugged full of a history that’s tangible and mine. It doesn’t just stop 150 years ago when a fella dropped anchor on the far side of the world in the name of the crown. I have so much to consider.


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