RE: Living in USA vs. Croatia, funny and sad. Mostly sad...
(22-10-2013 04:06 AM)Filox Wrote:
Quote:Why I Choose Life In America
This post was inspired by my husband, who is going through the hardships of adjusting to life in the United States and doesn’t seem to grasp what is so great about America.
Croatia is such a beautiful land. I don’t think there’s a country on earth that has so much natural beauty crammed into a relatively small space. Crystal clear waters. Mountains by the beach. Breath-taking natural parks abundant with waterfalls. Ancient towns, churches, building structures. Vineyards and olive tree farms galore. It is very easy to get lost in the physical beauty of the land.
Croatia also seems to have aspects of an appealing life – home by 3pm, half the year is spent on the beach, the other half in coffee shops or in your fruitful aforementioned olive/grape fields. It seems to be an enticing way of life, especially to us Americans.
But that’s about where my admiration for Croatia stops. After having spent my life in America and then 5+ years in Croatia and now back in America, I have learned to appreciate certain things about America that I previously took for granted.
1) Croatia is corrupt.
There is corruption in every part of the world, but Croatia is its own beast – the country lives and breathes corruption. From the young man running his one-person business to the broken government, it seems as if everyone everywhere is corrupt. About 99% of employers do not report an employee’s actual earnings to Croatia’s IRS – they report a minimum, so that they don’t have to pay the insanely high taxes that come along with reporting a higher pay. The employee won’t ever report the employer to an inspection agency because then they’d be out of a job (and you don’t want to be out of a job because you will probably never get another job again since there is no job market). This means that people get pennies when it’s time to retire. This means that people cannot go to the bank and get a loan for a car or a house (for this exact reason, mortgages are practically unheard of over there – most people live in some type of duplex/add-on built onto their parents’ or in-laws’ house). Until recently, most businesses only reported a fraction of their revenue, thus having to pay less taxes, thus causing the government to have less money, thus causing inability for anything to function properly (read: Croatians want the government to give them massive amounts of socialistic benefits but dont want to contribute a penny towards those benefits). Croatians are used to the communistic days, and they don’t trust the government, especially since even though Croatia has been a democratic nation for almost 20 years, all of its recent leaders have somehow cheated the system and stolen tax payer’s money. That is why everyone everywhere avoids giving the government money at all costs.
They are more than willing, though, to give other people their money. For instance, it is commonly known that if a police officer pulls you over, you can pay him some money to let you off without a ticket. If you want to get a building permit and don’t want to wait 3 years, you better have a fat wallet that you’re willing to open to someone in the permit office. If you want to pass a test in college, you better hit the ATM. Don’t want to wait in “line” for heart surgery or want to ensure that the doctor will do a “good” job on your operation? Better head to the bank. Lucky enough to have “known” someone and therefore gotten a job? Better not try to report your employer to any inspection agency that you worked 363 days last year and only got 2 days off (Christmas and Easter) – modern day slavery at its finest. I am not making any of this stuff up – I am telling you this because it has either happened to me or a family friend or is constantly on the news. It’s deplorable. It’s inhumane. It’s uncivilized. And it’s just plain disgusting that a society has to accept all of this as “normal”.
2) Croatia has no job market.
The unemployment rate in Croatia 30%. If you happen to find a job ad somewhere, there’s a 95% chance the person posting the ad has already hired their relative or best friend and is simply complying with the “law” that states an employer must put an ad up for any new position that opens up. Croatia has mastered the art of nepotism. I can’t tell you how many people with Masters and PhDs there are that are sitting at home, unable to work. The “lucky” ones have found jobs as janitors. The few companies that really are looking to fill a position (because they don’t have a sister or cousin they could hire) usually require some sort of “payment”, ie: the potential employee has to slip a significant amount of money under the table in order to get the job. It’s despicable, sad and makes everyone over there feel hopeless. What’s the point of getting an education if you can’t find a job? And even if you can find a job, you won’t be hired because of your knowledge and skills – you will be hired if you have an inner “connection” aka know someone high up. And even if you do get a job because of your skills, you won’t make enough to support your family.
People who want to get married don’t do so because one or both people don’t have jobs and have nowhere to live (except at their parents’ house). The ones who don’t work spend their days in coffee shops after having borrowed some money from their parents, who are probably living off of some social welfare from the government. The ones that do work go to bed every night thanking God that they have a job, even if the money is only enough to get them through the next paycheck (which only comes once a month, by the way).
3) Croatia has no money.
The average college-educated Croatian person nets less than $1000 per month. Gas is about $8 per gallon. Food is priced the same as everywhere in Europe, but paychecks are 1/4 of what Europe’s are. Hence the reason why everyone has a massive garden – to save on food costs. Everything everywhere has a 25% tax. People don’t heat their entire house because it’s too expensive so half of the house is usually freezing (no joke – bathrooms and bedrooms are literally ICE cold during the very cold winters). People do what they need to do to survive, and most of them are miserable. Last year, a report came out that Croatians were the 3rd most pessimistic people on earth!!!
I could go on and on and on about what irks me about life in Croatia. America is not perfect (at all), but at least I know that my kids can get through school without having to pay a professor off in order to get their degree. At least I know that they will be able to 1) find a job and 2) find a job based on their knowledge and skills, not by who they know or how much money they have in their bank account. At least I know that the money from their job will allow them to have a living abode of their own, whether rented or purchased, that is not connected to their parents’ or in-laws’ house. A job that if lost can easily be replaced by another one. THEY will be in charge of their path in life – not some corrupt government or corrupt professor or corrupt institution. THAT is the beauty of America.
While I do think Croatia is on the right path to fixing these issues with the most recent government party that has been running the parliament, it still has a very long way to go. When I lived in Croatia, I felt somewhat brainwashed by the beauty of the land and the relaxed lifestyle that everyone seemed to live. I tried to justify all these negatives with the few positives. However, I now ask myself, what good is that relaxed lifestyle if my kids essentially have no future? What good is that relaxed lifestyle if the only way you can survive is to become the very beast that everyone hates – the beast known as corruption??? While the beauty of the land is abundant in Croatia, the essentials of life – a job market, the ability to purchase a home, and life in a system that isn’t laden with corruption – are missing. Without the essentials of life, Croatia will remain a place that is nice to visit but not to call home. God Bless America, Home Sweet Home.
You might think this lady exaggerates, but the more I think about this, the more it feels like plain truth, it is just that I am so used to this kind of "living", that I pay no attention to it anymore. She did fail to mention one thing, though. If you know how to live in Croatia, you can live anywhere in the world, no matter what issues you might face. If I were to move to a normal state, I would be king.
Mmmm. Might be time to start the TTA Adoption Agency.
Or the TTA Marriage Bureau since you are a little old for adoption.
You'd do well in NZ, Oz, Canada, or the U.S.; probably other places, too.
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