The Country I Call Home - My Family Travels


Hungary to me is the most beautiful country in the world. I am very biased in this I will admit with my Hungarian ancestry that spreads through countless generations. I identify myself as Hungarian-American even though I was born in the U.S. and raised here for the majority of my life. I like to believe I am Hungarian. It brings joy to my soul to think I am a part of such a breathtaking country. When I turned sixteen I visited Hungary for the first time since I was a small child. That trip changed my life forever. I remember being on the cramped plane kicking the person’s chair in front of mine because I was so nervous and couldn't keep my feet still. When I finally arrived the first thing I noticed when I drove into the city for the first time was that I was suddenly transported to the 1800’s. The buildings in downtown Budapest are breathtaking. The cobblestone walkways make you feel like you traveled back in time and are about to attend a ball in carriage and dance the night away. However what struck me the most is that the whole city wasn't like that; right next to the classical building was a huge glass skyscraper shooting to the sky. Some see these buildings as monsters destroying the past. But when I looked at them I saw the wonderful world we live in today. The city not only rejoices its past with the antique bridges crossing the Danube river, it also embraces the future. To me that is the most magnificent view one can ever see. Though I never wished to leave the city and its glory I had to. I stayed with my brother and his children who lived right outside the city. They lived in a “quiet” neighborhood with trolleys going through the streets daily. That night I went to a restaurant called Csili. This restaurant has authentic Hungarian food that my mom attempts to recreate with American ingredients but never turns out the same. The place doesn't look like a restaurant from the outside; it is an old house in the city. Yet when you open the door you know you are in Hungary. Live musicians play while all of the people dance in the center of the room. Hungary is not a rich country, most are very poor but on the weekends they come to the restaurant, have delicious paprikash and dance their hearts out with strangers. That is the Hungarian way of living I believe. They never just sit and cry about their lives, the go out and dance and enjoy life. The next few days I visited castles like Várhegy (Castle Hill) where you can stand on a bridge and see all of Budapest. I also visited parliament, which was one of the most gorgeous buildings I have ever seen in my life to this day. One lesson to be taken however is never to take a picture of the royal jewels unless you wish to be yelled at by a very angry soldier in Hungary. The other most important thing to see in Hungary is the Széchenyi lánchíd (Chain Bridge). My father always told me stories about bridge since I was a little girl and how it connected a city that before was two. When I left Hungary I left my heart with it. As I went into the car to drive to the airport I looked at the country from my window and knew it would one day be my home.

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