Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Assimilation -- My Foot!

I'm back. ;)

Unfortunately my holidays in Budapest were the best ever! Last week sort of wrecked all my efforts of integrating into this stupid, cheese gobbling, society. Aaaaargh! but I was so close to becoming totally subdued and miserable! Why do these things always happen to me? Just when I was drawing up detailed plans about the destruction of my cultural heritage and practicing 'emigrant Hungarian'...

But there's no piont in crying over my spilled self-destruction. I've been saved, against my will, by smiling-chatting-complaining Hungarians. For the first time in my life, I love my country.
Yes, I think I do. No one can be more shocked than I am, but I can hardly hide the fact. True, I still love it in a weird way, like you would a totally potty uncle or a cat loving granny. It's a weird place, no denying it. But it's charming in a way Switzerland could never be. In Geneva, I have a very strong suspicion that nothing comes free. Not only is there no free lunch, there's no free breakfast either, nor are there any free smiles for that matter. My husband vouches that the Swiss are adorable and very friendly -- and I agree with him up to a point. But beyond that point there's a barrier, as strong as any of their famed bunkers or granite peaks. I just can't seem to get through. As refreshing as their reserved nature seemed at first, I've been becoming more and more frustrated by the reluctance of the local populace to open up to my prying smiles. Sometimes they remind me of stray dogs, shy from their childhood traumas. Hungarians are a totally different breed -- they're the shaggy mongrel that would lick your hand whether you want it or not. ;)

That's not to say I'm leaving. Not at all. I'm still crazy about the mountains and the cleanness of the air in the middle of the city, and the strolls by the sunny lake -- and a lot of the crazy things these crazy locals have invented. I'm just not so fond of the idea of becomeing one of them. Or becoming one of any pompous society for that matter.

I know I've just admitted to loving my country. But you have to understand my love is that of a cat. I don't think I could every love anything unconditionally (people are a different matter altogether!), even if the only reason I can come up with is that I'm crazy about it. I love Hungary because it's silly and sweet and a little sad, but I could never totally embrace its interests. I'm happy to be away when times are hard, and I'd be the first to feel offended when recognized as a Hungarian abroad (I'd keep wondering forever what it was about me...). But I'm also quite ready to defend its people when an outsider decides to criticize them.

And I've now decided that I'm not going to destroy the crazy Hungarian in me just to become more like a crazy Swiss. Call it pride, call it defiance, but I won't. I want to walk the city thinking in Hungarian (something I haven't done for years), even if it means I'll stand there for seconds, looking utterly stupid, should someone ask me in any other language. I want to keep cooking something kindergarten-like from time to time (much of today's Hungarian cuisine originates from those establishments -- that is, if you're not going for the field-worker type of fare...). And I definitely want to go on being sarcastic and witty, joking about the most horrible things and always having something to say. And I'm not giving up my childhood memories of strange sweets and simple fun, and my highschool stories, even if all the Swiss blush uncontrollably at how much booze we could down at the age of 16-17 (I still don't remember how we got it, though).

In fact I think I'll keep everything that sets me apart from them. Not because I don't like the Swiss: I adore them! But I adore them as you would a potty relative completely off their rocks. They're charming and entertaining, and I love being among them. I love their crazy things and their very serious (still nonetheless a little weird) things. And I don't necessarily want to upset them. But they're just one nutty part of my big nutty family, and I'm sorry, but I have to be myself. I've just realized that I have a ton of potty relatives in a ton of countries, but I still can and have to be crazy in my own way.

Thank you for reading and supporting me
in my quest for happiness. ;)
Please don't hesitate to share your
opinion and questions with me,
I'm always happy to respond. :)
Have a wonderful week
and see you very soon. ;)

fleur

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