Hungary, My Adopted Country

In 1987 or so, the computer firm I worked for hired three Hungarians to come and write an implementation of the programming language Prolog to run on ICL (and later, IBM) mainframes. I was put on the project and got to know these three Hungarians quite well, spending hours chatting to them about all sorts of topics. Some of my (English) colleagues even got trips to Budapest and I formed an intention to do the same.

Hungarian Geological MuseumIn fact, I had to change company and wait around 7 years until 1995, when I joined an EU funded project which had Hungarian, Romanian, Dutch and English partners. Since part of the point of the project was building bridges between Eastern (or Central) and Western Europe, we all had to spend some time in the others' countries. I spent three weeks in Budapest that summer, and another week the year after, and fell in love with the city.

In 1997, during a Personal Development course, I made a commitment to come here to live. I gave myself until October 1998 to achieve the goal, and made it just in time! I also made a commitment to strengthen my relationship with my family - inconsistent goals you think? Actually it hasn't turned out that way. In England, the idea of visiting or contacting my relatives was always there, but somehow actually spending time with them happened too rarely. Now we spend more time with each other, either on visits or on shared holidays.

So, here I am, and here I'll stay for the foreseeable future. Hungary is a fascinating country to live in. I find the people very friendly and open and I think most of them work far too hard! But this is just a personal perspective. The language is renowned for its difficulty and for the fact that it's unrelated to anything else. You look at a newspaper's front page, and its content is completely opaque, not one word is meaningful. This is one way of looking at it. However, it's also very very interesting to study, and to grapple with the different way you have to think in order to speak and understand it. I've studied with two language schools, Inside Word and then Katedra, both of whom were very good. I've also studied with a private teacher. Now I'm just trying to put into practice all that I've learned.