Budapest, Hungary

My memories  of Hungary come back in flashes. Now and then, I see something that reminds me of Budapest. Fond memories and bittersweet nostalgia rush through my head in waves.

For example:

It is dark. I am walking across the street towards Costa Verde. I look to my right at the bright lights of the cars heading towards me. They slow to a stop. It is cold.

Normal, right? There is nothing particularly unique or interesting or memorable about this moment. But for me? There are times when this, for me, reminds me of Hungary. It reminds me of crossing the street at Oktagon Ter, of the nights I would walk home because it was too late and the trams had stopped running and the buses were full. I would look to my right and look into the lights that lined that street leading to Heroes square. What was it again? Andrassy utca?

It has been too long. I can barely remember the names of streets I used to see all the time. I have forgotten the words to Hungarian songs I used to sing and I have lost all sense of what it was like to feel real cold. I used to walk through cold air so cold that it physically hurt. Now I get chilly and whiny at night when my jacket isn’t thick enough.

It does not happen as often, this surge of old memories. Right when I came back, it happened all the time. Half of me was still in Hungary, reliving its paths and remembering the people I loved there. But now that they are all back, now that I am back (and have been back), I am beginning to forget.

All I have are these flashes, few and far between. And I welcome them fondly each time they come.

It’s not like I’m not happy with things here. It’s not like I want to go and live in Hungary. It’s more like I’m looking back and remembering another life. It’s happy and sad, memorable and forgettable, all at once. It’s been so long, I’m starting to wonder if it was even real. And in spite of everything, I love remembering Budapest and everything that happened there.

It wasn’t always like this, though. To put it all in perspective, this is what I felt when I was there. I figured I had to post something, just because I haven’t in a while. It was the beginning of the program and, in my literature class, we had to write something about our Hungarian experience. This was mine.

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