Young Slavonian Mato Topic Returns from Germany to Zagreb

By 12 February 2021
Slavonia, Croatia
Slavonia, Croatia Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

February the 12th, 2021 - A lot can be said for the grass being greener on the other side, and there can be no argument against the fact that Croatia has terribly neglected the eastern part of the country economically and in other ways, but for some, it takes actually leaving to see that the grass is green wherever you water it. Mato Topic from Slavonia experienced precisely that and decided to return home from Germany.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bruno Lipej writes, Young Slavonian Mato Topic returned back home to Croatia a year and a half ago after spending three years living and working in Germany. He says that his acquaintances spoke to him in amazement: "Well, what are you going to do?" or, perhaps somewhat more honestly, "You're the only one coming back, what an idiot you are…"

He knew that he wouldn't have the standard of living and the style of an orderly life he had become used to in the German border town of Lorrach, located near Basel, when back home in Croatia, but his heart was aching for home.

"I can't explain it to you, in Germany I basically lacked nothing at all, but every time I crossed the Croatian border it was as if I was starting to breathe a pair of full lungs," he told Vecernji list. To make the story more interesting still, family wasn't the reason he left, as he he left behind his parents, brother and sister in Germany.

Until going to Germany, everything was more or less typical in Mato Topic's life in Slavonia. Both of his parents worked, but the family of five from Cepin didn't live in abundance with their Croatian salaries. Along with the daily sacrifices and efforts in the Cepin yard which belonged to Mato Topic's family, a new house was built. However, it seemed to his parents that the prospects werent' great for them or the children, and that things would simply stagnate. In 2013, when Croatia joined the European Union, they decided to leave Croatia and went to Germany.

"I knew that I'd really have to roll up my sleeves and that in Croatia I'd have to work much harder for a lot less money," said Mato Topic, who decided to return not to Slavonia, but to the far more prosperous capital of Zagreb. He wasn't unprepared for a starting salary of 3,500 kuna working in a call centre, though.

“In the meantime, I progressed, I became a deputy leader, I also led some training… Money is important, especially when you're young and have a lot of wishes and plans. But it's definitely not the most important thing. I was in Germany despite feeling like a total foreigner there. I realised that I didn’t want to wait for my annual holiday to come home every year, nor to build my life and start a family in the long run in a foreign country. My parents supported me,'' he said.

"With all the shortcomings and irregularities in Croatia, and even injustices, I have confidence in Croatia. I just feel that way,'' the hopeful Mato Topic told Vecernji list.

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