In few upcoming articles we plan to present Croatia from quite special angle, the one shared by expats from foreign countries. These people opted to permanently settle on Croatian soil and make a living in the country. Our first talk was with Shuangzhen Wu, which made a lengthy voyage from China to Split, together with her family.
About ten years ago, Croatia had a notable increase of Chinese immigrants. Those were seeking better living conditions in countries of the western world, and chose Croatia as their state of residence. They would usually arrive in waves, as single Chinese would call for his relatives if he managed to become economically stable.
This was more or less the case of Shuangzhen Wu and her family. Fourteen years ago, she arrived following her husband Yongming Jin’s call to Zagreb. Together with their children Yan Zhi and Yan Le Jin, the family fell in love with local culture and customs. Five years after arrival, they switched Croatian Capital with the capital of Dalmatia region, becoming residents of beautiful City of Split.
“A lot of our friends immigrated to foreign countries or have returned to China. But not us,” said Shuangzhen. “It is nice to be here. Children have a lot of friends and are attending school. Not to mention they are avid speakers of Croatian language.”
The locals had difficulties remembering her name, so she made it more Croatia-like, and is referred to as “Ana”. Together with her husband she opened a Chinese restaurant called “Biser Orijenta” which can be found in Split’s Dobrilina Street 1. “People really like our traditional dishes, including pasta and spring rolls. In addition, they love our spirits and ice cream,” Ana Wu explained.
“Croatian language is quite difficult. I’m not yet skilful enough to write it, but my speaking abilities have improved due to being a waitress in our restaurant.”
Ana visits her family in China twice a year, always bringing as much local olive oil as she can. She also notes the quality of sea bass, which she deems better than in her original homeland.
“Croatia is our home, and we don’t plan to move away from it. We really enjoy it here. People are happy, dear and very likeable. They even taught me how to cook mangold,” Ana explained, noting that her voyage from China to Split was well worth the effort.
Feature Photo: Zvonimir Barisin / Hanza Media