Dejan Ćuk is like a lot of Croatians who leave their homeland at a young age and move half way across the world, but always have a desire to one day return.
The 25-year-old, who was born on the Dalmatian coast in Zadar, left Croatia with his parents and brother in 1998 and headed to the United States in the search for a better life.
“Like many immigrants we left to find a better life as we had no options in Europe. We came to Utah with some agency, not sure how exactly but New York was our first stop then somehow to Utah”, he explains.
Since arriving in his new country, Dejan has graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Sociology & Business Administration. He currently has a job, working in Digital Marketing and life seems good.
However the pull of returning to Croatia is strong.
“I’d love to move back to Croatia once I can get my job situation figured out that allows me to work remotely from anywhere, then I’d feel better about my situation there because I know the pay is hard there especially if you don’t have a house. I want to move back for many reasons”, he explains.
“I want to slow my life down a bit, here in the United States and across many metropolises, you work and work and the enjoyment of your hard work is so small that life passes you by and all you’ve done is work. Here those that work like horses have pools, gorgeous houses, etc, however, as my dad says they are never home to enjoy those things so whats the point?”, he adds.
Another big pull for returning back to Croatia for Dejan is to settle down with a Croatian girl.
“It’s important (to meet a Croatian girl) for many reasons but I think when a man gets to that stage in his life where he starts thinking how he wants his life to play out, I often think about a wife, kids, etc. Family is quite important to me because I grew up with an awesome one and the thought of “preserving family values” was something that I learned over time as I began to date American girls, and other ethnicities,” he says.
“I’d love to have my kids speak Croatian, yes, I know I can “attempt” to do that with someone other than a girl from Croatia but I want its roots to be fresh and not generations down the road have my grandkids change their last name so it sounds more “American”. I find our women super gorgeous and overall good moms as well. I think they know how to be the wife and the mom, which is hard to find sometimes. I like hearing the language from our women, the look, all of it just has this feeling inside my heart that I want.”
Dejan says Croatian girls differ in many ways from girls in the United States.
“It all depends on the part of America you live in, her education level, political party, etc. I’m sure the same is anywhere you go but my experience with American girls is a lot of them don’t have such a closeness to their family, I recall dating some girls who weren’t close to their parents as I was with mine and that kind of bothered me because I was imagining myself with that girl and how strange it would be to have drama with the parents of the girl I’m married with” he says.
“American girls, from my experience have been “too loose” for me. I’m not talking about flirtatious (which is another story) but they have no problem hooking up with random strangers every other weekend. Lastly, I think the effort isn’t there. American girls don’t put themselves together as much as our girls when going out. They wear pajama’s in work places, school, going to the store, you name it. I often get reminded how beautiful and the amount of effort Balkan women put when they go out to just the store.”
Dejan says he never understood the need for girls in Croatia to copy American girls, and dress with everything showing.
“I’m not a prude, I get you want to be sexy but you can do it in a classy way too. Perhaps that’s my view after living in Utah (conservative state) for so long!”
He thinks the negatives of Croatian culture can sometimes be positives.
“For instance, the Balkans have a reputation of everyone knowing your business and who you are with, who you like, etc. This can get annoying, intrude on your privacy, etc. However, I think that’s what’s missing in the U.S. nobody cares about anything. The use of “mind your own business” was once a rule for the super-nosy people but now it’s used for everyday things, like “why are you dating that person” and the response will be “mind your own business”.
There is no “social accountability” from the neighbors and society to guide people here, everyone just does their own thing, as crazy as it may be.
I also think family is a big part of the difference between American girls and Balkan girls. The family input here is back to my earlier point “mind your own business” even if it’s family the people here think that’s totally normal whereas our culture the family will be involved in their kids’ lives, who they date, what they do with their lives, etc. Again, I get it’s got its cons but when it comes to find a better girl I think it’s a better recipe than the American one.”
There are a lot of girls with Croatian heritage in the United States.
“I don’t mind girls from Croatia in America, as long as they can speak the language and haven’t lost the culture entirely, too often sadly this seems to be the case,” he thinks.
“I’ve seen girls my age talk to their parents in English and the parents talk to them back, not once saying “speak ours”. I find that sad and though I sometimes break that rule with my brother I often remind myself to speak in our language again. This is part to hold on to what’s left of my roots.”
So what type of girl are you looking for?
“I want a girl with a good soul, one that is educated and has a good sense of humor. Life is awesome, it can be sad and brutal too and in those cases, it’s good to have someone that can bring you up.
I want a girl you can be best friends with, someone you can joke with about everything and be in love with them by just seeing their face. I’ve had these bits and pieces throughout my dating life so I know it’s there, just want it to be constant, not temporary.
I dream of sitting by a river with my girl while eating an apple! Haha, I know I sounds “cheesy” maybe even weird but I like the slow pace of life, it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to get things done but after living in a fast pace most of my life, I want to slow it down by enjoying my life”, he says.
Dejan says he wanted to tell his story in the hope that someone maybe reading or know someone who he could potentially click with and fall in love.
“My aim is to fulfill my life with another half. You must be out there!”
You can contact Dejan here.