The adventure of our favourite “internationally unknown author” continues. Missed Part1? Find it HERE!
“For Budapest expats, it’s a common story: not satisfied with prospects at home, young (!) man pulls up stakes and moves to a foreign country to chase his dream. Now, 17 years later, let’s see how he’s fared.” The story continues…
Jack: Well! That’s quite a beginning. Would you say your time here has met your expectations?
Gary: Oh, yes, Jack, most assuredly. If someone is ready, willing and able to fit into a new community, especially in Budapest, s/he will find those already on hand to be friendly, welcoming, helpful, generous and eager to befriend a new arrival. Along with my expat friends, and many times even by myself (as I got braver and spoke a few more words of Hungarian), I’d go to the local pubs and restaurants and clubs and join the roistering and partying and singing and dancing with all sorts of different people, young and older, male and female, well-off and maybe not so much, just a really nice mixture of people, all out to have a good time with no regard for age, or nationality or skin color or height or weight or hair length or marital status.
Budapest has exceeded all of my expectations, and my expectations were, well, actually rather uncertain. I really didn’t know what to expect before I came here. I hoped I’d find work and some friendly folks and some cozy pubs and some interesting things to see and do. I wasn’t prepared for Budapest’s excitement, happiness, passion, LIFE! There was so much energy and I was caught up in it and as electrified (pun intended) as everyone else. For me, Budapest has been the perfect city.
Jack: OK, well, how about the present and future? How long do you intend to go on living this lifestyle? How long can your liver hold out? Are there new activities in which you’re involved?
Gary: I had my liver checked last year, Jack, and it’s pretty much pickled, so I figure I can go on for quite a while. As for new activities, some friends and I formed another, smaller expat group called the Friday Rovers. Each Friday after work we meet in a different pub or bar or terrace or club in Budapest. Our group is smaller than other expat groups, so we have more opportunity for, interesting conversations. These are locals and expats who enjoy socializing and enjoy each other’s company and show it by ensuring our tables are clear of Iphones. Our venues have included some of the oldest, funkiest spots in town, like Pót Kulcs and Bambi Presszó, places known to some of us and also places we read about or hear about through media, friends and other sources. Like Grandio Terrace, which I doubt if most people here, locals and expats alike, have ever visited.
I’m looking forward to many more years here and they’ll have to drag me, kicking and screaming, to get me out. Of course, a few shots of pálinka and I’ll probably stumble onto the train by myself. Whatever happens in the future, it’s been a great ride.
And it’s not over yet! I still have to see The Great Barrier Reef, Macchu Pichu, Angkor Wat, Shanghai, cherry blossom time in Japan, the Northern Lights and one or two other fantastic sights of our world.
Jack: What would you say is your personal motto?
Gary: Eat, drink and make Mary!