Norra and her husband, Dalibor, first visited Croatia together in 2001 and liked it so much they invested in property in Hvar. They now spend half their time in Canada and half in Croatia and have built a small villa in Istria, near the walled medieval hilltop town of Motovun. Norra has practiced yoga for 20 years and decided to become a teacher in 2015. She took her training from a teacher in Canada and, in Croatia, through the Himalayan Yoga Institute on the island of Lošinj. In June/July 2019 Norra hosted her first yoga holiday, based in Motovun, and plans to make this an annual event. To accelerate her progress in the Croatian language, Norra recently completed a Croatian Language School [CLS] immersion course, also on the beautiful island of Lošinj. Here’s what she told us about life, language, leisure and Lošinj.
1. Can you tell us a little more about your interest in and connections to Croatia?
I am Canadian by ethnicity and Croatian by marriage. My husband Dalibor has relatives in all parts of Croatia and in North America. We are in Croatia to experience and enjoy Croatian life as well as the privilege of living among two different cultures.
2. What made you choose Istria as the place for your second home, how does it compare with where you live in Canada and have you come across many other Canadians in Croatia?
We chose Croatia because we fell in love with the hills and the beauty of the countryside. In Canada we live in downtown Victoria BC whereas in Croatia we live in the countryside, near a village in Istria. The lifestyles are quite different.
3. How have you got along with the Croatian language in the past, prior to your studies with the CLS?
In the beginning, I studied for a bit on Skype with a translator rather than a teacher. Having a good teacher is much more effective for learning to speak proper Croatian.
My husband wanted to help me blend into the culture & enjoy our life here more by learning to speak & understand Croatian.
5. What were your impressions of Lošinj?
I also did my yoga training on Lošinj so I already knew and loved the island. However this was my husband’s first visit and he really enjoyed Lošinj. We will be back for sure.
6. What did you enjoy most about the course?
Meeting Linda was great. She is a lovely, helpful, patient and kind.
7. And least?
8. Who is your target market for the yoga holidays, roughly what can people expect from them and how did the first one go?
The first Istria yoga holiday went very well! Everyone loved the yoga and excursions and I believe wellness holidays like this will become much more popular in the future. I will work hard to learn Croatian so I can enjoy Croatians attending the yoga holiday as well.
9. So you think your holidays might appeal to locals as well as foreigners?
I do see many Croatians travelling in their own country now but many have not been to Istria. The yoga holiday would give them a wellness holiday and help them discover their own country, alongside people from around the world.
10. What would be your top five tips for someone else preparing for the Lošinj course?
a) Just dive in… Linda is great!
b) Do your homework.
c) Don’t try to swallow everything…. Croatian takes time to learn.
d) immersion is a great way to “bite” into the language and learn focus right off the bat.
e) Have fun!
11. What are your plans in terms of carrying on with the Croatian language?
I plan to take a skype lesson once or twice a month. As well as that I review my notes most days and am speaking more Croatian with my husband.
12. How can our readers find out more about you and your yoga holidays?
My website has all the details – Istriayogaholiday.com