My 3rd Annual 21st Birthday Party: Part 2 Croatia Style was a great success which left us feeling pretty groggy on Sunday. (See below:)
Since I arrived back to Croatia, I've been talking about how I wanted to check out the Antique Flea Market on Britanski Trg (British Square) that's held every Sunday morning. So despite our lethargic feeling, we went to the market, and I'm so thankful that we did. It was a really crisp day and on the drive over, I felt like I was seeing Zagreb with new eyes. Everything looked so beautiful and I became really appreciative of the stunning architecture.
By the time we got to the "British Square" though, it was already 1:30 PM so some of the vendors started to pack up. Tomislav and I walked through row by row and were really impressed by the whole scene. The vendors are made up of mostly older, native Zagrebians who seem to be very high society. This is not a flea market per se, it's made up of exquisite antiques and gorgeous paintings. We saw a lot of jewelry, century old forms of currency, and swords.
We started talking to the woman and she was just so lovely, it felt like we had known her forever, like she was actually an extended member of our families. Her smile was smile was big and contagious and except for the one moment where she realized she shouldn't smile so wide because some of her teeth were missing, she was smiling constantly. Her hair was dyed as blue as her eyes and it literally felt like her spirit was moving all around her. She shocked us by turning to me and speaking in excellent English, after Tomislav explained to her that I'm American. She told us how proud she is of young people today and how they inspire her. We talked a for a couple of minutes and it immediately felt like an important moment to be there with her.
Reluctantly, we moved on and after a few minutes, I walked back over to talk with the older woman, to see if she would be back next Sunday because I really wanted to talk with her more. She explained that she wasn't sure but was excited to tell us more about the special artwork and where she had collected it from over the years. This woman was very well educated and spoke 6 languages fluently. She reiterated how inspiring young people can and should be and told us that we should be good to each other because we're lucky to have each other, which we definitely know and appreciate.
We talked about the artwork a bit more and she asked us if we were married and we said that we were engaged. She took the abstract painting I had been attracted to and handed it to us and said she doesn't want to hear a protest from us, that the painting is a wedding gift to us from her. We couldn't believe it, especially after she had previously said she would sell it to us for 100 Euros. She said she didn't care whether we were millionaires or had nothing at all, she saw the connection I had with the painting and the love Tomislav and I have and wanted us to be happy together. She said she gave us the painting for good luck. We hugged her a lot, honestly as if we'd known her forever. We're so happy to have met her because she really left an impression on us and has made me value the Croatian people and their genuine warmth and graciousness even more.