It was the spring of 2014. My brother Sasha and I were spending a month roaming around the beautiful peninsula of Istria, in Croatia, where our mother was born.
Friends at home in San Francisco raved about Croatia as a tourist destination. For me, Croatia was the place of disasters that started long before I was born, swept me and my family up, and caused our expulsion—which had continued until just a few years earlier. Could the tide have turned? I wanted to know. I wanted to go beneath the surface to learn what was happening in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, with which my family had such deep roots.
This is the story of our time in Croatia, of conversations with and unique insights gained from interactions with the locals.
Not everything, we learned, was quite as it seemed.