Thursday, 19 April 2012

Hungary: A Love Story

I found this post in the draft – some of the events mentioned below have passed to history a long time ago, still, I think this is something that might be worth sharing with the world.
As most of the readers of this blog will know, I’m a great fan of Hungary and the Hungarian language. I’m thinking that this might be a good moment to dwell a little further on this topic.
The first thing I wrote in my facebook status when I got to Budapest was “I feel like home”. This statement has different meanings for different people: in my case it’s a strong one because I never feel like home anywhere.

9 years ago I went to Hungary for the first time: that time I spent a couple of weeks in Debrecen and also did some travelling in the eastern parts of the country. I instantly knew that there was something special about the country – it might sound silly, but I experienced a couple of moments of “freedom” and other vague things that I had never felt before.

(I’m writing this at the airport – and I just need to comment that there is a Spanish guy sitting next to me who’s wearing a hat made of fur, and it’s only like 20 centigrade outside).

Back to Hungary and Hungarian. So, I experienced a couple of moments of bliss. Next thing I knew I got to know some Hungarians, not many, but a couple, and it instantly felt like we understood each other. We had the same kind of mentality. Now, I know that saying that a whole nation has the same kind of mentality is gibberish, because it’s just not plausible, but on some rare occasions you find people from one culture or another who are like you.

Then, when I was living in Spain and yearning back to school (I had recently graduated) I found that the University of Uppsala in Sweden was offering Hungarian as a distance course. I applied, got accepted and now I’m in my third year. To be honest, I’m not dedicating as much time and energy as I should to this language, but it feels like a part of my life now.

I think that we’re not always born in the right place. Cultures are different, societies are different and they form and affect the people living within them. I know that seeing a country from a tourist’s point of view is always different and unrealistic. Every place has its downsides – the way I experienced Debrecen and Budapest was coloured by specific events and specific people. Yet, that feeling of belonging was very nice and I know that I will be returning there someday. In the meantime I can study the language and maybe even hang out (or at least communicate via the web) with people I like and get along with well.

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