Even though we come from different cultures, there are several common threads that unite us. Dropping the hippie-speak, in my life on Earth I’d come across kids and later adults who were exactly like me: mother from one culture, father from another, raised in one or more “alien” cultures, alien to the parents. And the interesting thing was, no matter what our background we always had that one thing in common, the question of who we are, where we really belong, that sense of people putting us into boxes, boxes they created for us, that sometimes forced a false sense of identity upon us, an identity we may have not otherwise identified with.
What I hope to achieve with this blog is to add another voice to the ones already present, providing insight into this feeling of belonging everywhere and nowhere at once. It is not a definitive voice, merely one that hopes to add color to what is already out there. It is my wish that the reader doesn’t get deterred by my ethnic heritage – or present place of residence – but rather is able to apply it to him or herself, or those around them. It is also my uttermost wish that this blog manages to reach those who are lost and think they are alone.
If you’re more interested in shorter and / or culture & art focused pieces, like the Helsinki-Budapest Facebook page, and I’ll let you know when I post on the sister blog.
ETA 2019. I’ve spoken to and met many people who want to move to Hungary, be it forever, or merely a year. Their expectations range from very clear to nothing at all. This blog aims to help them get an idea, identify some issues, and highlight some aspects of Hungarian culture. Growing up with a Hungarian father has made me become instantly accepted by Hungarian society, it has also exposed me to the Hungarian mentality. Growing up with a non-Hungarian mother and in several places, has given me a unique, accepting-of-more-cultures outlook on life. Growing up outside of Hungary, but having lived there for longer periods in college and in my professional life means I can view the country from both sides.
I do not claim to have the definitive view on all things Hungarian. Rather, my observations here should be read along the many excellent blogs depicting life in Hungary to get an overall picture. When I speak of Hungarians, I mean the Hungarians I met, which may or may not differ from the Hungarians you or others have met. Feel free to pm me with questions.
It still shows an accurate picture of Hungary, but should be read alongside the more enthusiastic blogs about Hungary. This ought to give you a thorough and well-rounded understanding of the country you’re interested in or even love. Hungarians do not take criticism well, in fact like their Polish counterparts, they loathe it. Say one bad word against the Oh So Glorious Nation, and prepare for a round of vicious, hardcore abuse. My father was Hungarian, and you can guess where my mother is from. Believe me when I tell you, words can cut deeply.
And Now for the Slightly Longer Version
Is this the typical life of a Cross-cultural Individual? I really don’t know. Back when I was unaware that the term existed, I ran an ad in a German magazine asking about people who were like me, who had grown up in one or more places and felt more connected to some places than others. I received several replies and – because I was too young and careless to see this through – never really followed up on them.
I guess in a lot of ways this blog is an extension of that experiment. I like to write, I like to take pictures, and I love to engage with people in any way possible. I’m not claiming to be the poster child for Cross-cultural Individuals, nor do I want to be self-deprecating. My hope is that enough people will recognize something in themselves from these writings for it to matter, offer some help in any way possible, even if “merely” to say the they’re not alone. Growing up that was a huge issue, being the only one with that particular experience. It set me apart, but also taught me early on to embrace my unique (even by Cross Culture and Third Culture Kids standard) heritage.
To sum up my family history as briefly as possible, I’m Hungarian on my dad’s side – though apparently his side of the family was pretty mixed as well (there’s been talk recently of potential Hungarian relatives in Australia), something I’m not connected to at all on my mother’s side, have a French passport and grew up in several states and Germany. Of those, I feel very connected to America, Hungary, and France and – even though I graduated from a German school as well and have no problems with the language – feel no connection to Germany or the land my mother came from. A typical Cross Culture Kid story I’m told.
I’ve learned to embrace my identities, but identity struggles have a way of resurfacing at very odd moments. I was fine living in Finland for several years, until I was called back to Hungary in – what can only be termed – a stroke of fate. The emotions and ideas that surfaced after fifteen years and three months of no contact with the country of my fathers, and the questions I was asked there by friends are what prompted this entire blog.