My friend was also my go-to person when it came to delving deeper into my cultural identity, immersing me in the culture via literature and art. She knows about my constant search for identity. So when I told her over coffee that I was really thinking of what makes a Hungarian, she lobed the question right back at me. And since I can’t introduce myself in just one sentence, I had to immediately go for all three. So here, off the top of my head, is the first list. A list to be expanded in a second post, because me being me, I had to put the question to my friends via Facebook.
Ok, dear friends, I’m using you shamelessly for a blog post. What makes you a national of your nation? Comment or pm. I won’t use your name, would just like to get as well-rounded a view as possible.
The ones I came up with spontaneously.
American: eternal optimism; belief in free speech (yes, even the idiots), providing it does not incite hatred; anything is possible if only you believe; innocent until proven guilty; you must prove yourself to get ahead, can’t expect everything to be handed to you (while this is painfully obvious to me, our roommate in Norwich, who hailed from my mother’s native country, had different views on account of his PhD. I have a cousin, several aunts, and uncles, also in that same country, who think the same); respect for the self-made person with or without a degree; pioneer spirit; identifying with cultural songs such as Summer Wine (yes, I’m obsessed with the song, which should come as no surprise to those who know me).
French: café culture; respect for history; mistrust towards authority; love for Paris; bluntness; love for perfume; proud of country’s beauty and language but still putting Paris first, I may not live there, but it’s mine; doing things my own way; you have the right to go on strike; pride in art, literature, and all the other things we contributed to the world.
Hungarian: hospitality (I noticed this when I started giving very detailed – and very unsolicited – advice to some friends when they were in places I knew, even to the point of suggesting they contact my family and friends, and showing strangers around); coffee and café culture; connecting everything to death (the only way to see love is through the eyes of death); always finding a way out; fascination with Mongolia (that magical, mystical potential homeland of our ancestors; doing a double take when an ethnic Hungarian refers to him or herself as Romanian because their ancestors were born in Transylvania; love for really morbid jokes; prone to depression.