I’m an alien. I’m a legal alien.

Woah-oh. In case anyone reading this missed Sting’s 1980’s rumination and thinks from reading the title that I’ve gone mad, don’t worry. I haven’t come over all extra terrestrial. Before I do a nice, list-y, news-y post updating you about my week, I wanted to share a thought that had been camped in my mind for the past few days.

During the week, I happily got the opportunity to catch up with a friend and former colleague from my previous job in Dublin. Originally from Hungary, she was keen to hear how I was settling in and we spent a lovely evening at a city centre coffee house/kavehaz; catching up over dinner and eating ridiculous amounts of cake. By the time we were leaving, it was properly dark and I was gazing wistfully out the window at the sparkling, candle-lit Budapest streets.

Danube by night

Then, as we were waiting to pay, my friend said something that made me rethink being a newbie to Hungary. Ever since I had got the job offer and thought about moving, I always felt that not having the language would put me at a disadvantage, however slight. Yes, I can muster up a few basic greetings and any effort has been received well by the locals. (Incidentally I am interested in learning more and if any readers know a good Hungarian language class/group in Budapest, do shout!) English is the working language of our office so it wouldn’t matter there but I had accepted the fact that not having Hungarian tripping off my tongue would stop me settling in 100%. I wouldn’t get the office in-jokes and it would flag me as an outsider. I saw it as a problem. But my friend saw it differently. She talked about the murmured side -conversations you hear as you walk about a city, about how other people’s attitudes can almost influence your own mood. “You don’t have to hear other people’s negativity. I wish I could be like that”.

As we walked out of the coffeehouse towards the tram stop, I did so with a new perspective. Instead of sticking out like a sore thumb, I felt more relaxed. It is true that the grips and grumbles of others can intrude, irk and annoy just as much as someone physically bumping into you. That wasn’t going to happen to me though. I had no baggage, no danger of my parade getting rained on by anyone else’s dark cloud. Getting on that tram, I was unburdened.

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