Traveling to Croatia from Bangor was not easy, but things went as smoothly as possible. Although I have departed for months at a time for fieldwork in Central and South America, it was always as an individual, and I had learned to pack fairly lightly and efficiently. This was different. Packing as a family for seven months—with a little one, no less—proved to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. I could not have imagined the madness that would ensue. Nevertheless, 5 checked bags, 3 carry-ons, 3 ‘personal items’ (vaguely defined, of course), and a stroller later, we found ourselves at the Bangor International Airport.
Given our post-holidays departure, our flights were at half capacity only. We flew to Philadelphia with a 3 hour layover, followed by a flight to Frankfurt and another three hour layover, followed by a short flight to Zagreb, the Croatian capital. We arrived during a snowfall and were pleasantly greeted by Sasa Brlek, a representative from the U.S. Embassy, and transported to our place of residence for the next 8 days.
The Fulbright Program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, and our primary contact while in Croatia is with the Public Affairs division of the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. Those involved have been nothing short of wonderful. Sasa, in particular, has been extremely kind and patient, and she is an excellent source of information and guidance. In addition to meeting us at the airport, she organized a meet-and-greet with other Fulbright scholars in Zagreb, has a major role in coordinating our orientation with all Fulbright scholars and students later this month, and has been our primary liaison with the U.S. Embassy.