And just like that…

Well, perhaps only in comparison to the life I left
behind in California has it not been the same. Settling in I thought to
myself, that is what it has felt like these past three weeks that she has
been in my life and I have been in Budapest. Just as I had my routines back
in California, I was developing the same here in my new home.

This morning
began just as the past several have, waking up beside and before her in the
early morning light of her flat on Erzsebet krt. just down from the 5-Star
Cornithia Hotel (www.corinthiahotels.com) I had been requested to
photograph only yesterday by the Director of Finance, Mr. Stephen J. Kerkow.
And just as I have done the past several mornings, I laid there just
watching her sleep and finding myself feeling so grateful that she has
become a part of my life. I wanted to wake her with a kiss but realizing
she would be deprived of an hour’s sleep or more, I opted to just watch her
slumber peacefully. Yesterday morning I had teased her that while she
sleeps at night I often whisper “sweet nothings” into her ear that I dare
not whisper to her while she is awake as we only recently met and to do so
might make her wonder how my heart could have such emotions in three short
weeks. But maybe the same emotions are bubbling over in her heart as they
are in mine and she would love to hear them. But maybe not…

It was near 8 am when the tram stopped at Moskav ter.
where I would transfer to the #18 tram which would take me to my destination
of Krisztina ter. just down from the health club known as ATSA. (www.atsa.hu)

ATSA had given me a two-month membership for some panoramas. Perhaps one of
the nicer clubs in Budapest, I have attempted to begin a new morning routine
of going there each day to keep myself in shape. As I walked into the café
upstairs from the gym, the lovely girl Kyra greeted me with a wry smile and
upon hearing my request for “the usual”, she kindly replied “cappuccino?”
“Yes, a cappuccino”, reciprocating with a smile of my own. The gym is not
too busy in the morning and affords one the ability to workout on the
machines of choice. I must look funny to the others in the morning with my
bandana head gear I often think to myself as the same is not the fashion in
Budapest. I did 30 minutes on the stair-master before showering and heading
off into the Budapest morning for the rest of my day’s task.

First on the agenda was to find a Copy General store
where I could print copies of some of the homepages I have developed over
the past few years. The husband of a friend of mine who owns a restaurant
requested I give him some for his business to show clients. He owns a
computer networking company and it would be ideal for him to be able to
refer some clients for me to develop web sites for. It only took about half
an hour for me to transfer some files to a cd for printing and I was out the
door. During the process, the man doing the printing made a comment on my
work and it turned out he is a designer by night and after showing me a
homepage he had designed, I knew I had found what I was both looking for and
very much in need of in my new home of Budapest. Other than being able to
“draw flies in the summer” (as my father would often say), I have not an
artistic bone in my body. He would be able to design the necessary files
for me to then “cut-up” and convert to web sites for clients. Hopefully he
won’t mind not having his name on the finished projects much as previous
designers I have employed have.

I left the copy center only to enter the nearby market
looking for some ginger and a bite to eat only to then meet a very nice
elderly man who patiently waited behind me as the clerk left to weigh the
banana I had forgotten to weigh myself. “I’m sorry to make you wait” I told
him. “No problem, I am retired and have nothing but time”. The meeting
with him was very beneficial as he was able to explain to me what I have not
been able to do so for so many people who have asked me since I arrived why
my “Hungarian” father does not speak Hungarian. He told me when Hungarians
immigrated to America after the wars, the main objective was to have the
children blend in and become Americanized so as not to get teased by other
children. Often times he told me, children would get angry at parents who
attempted to communicate in Hungarian, or who even talked with an accent. I
am not sure if that is the case with my father, but none the less it would
provide me with an interesting and perhaps logical answer next time I am
asked.

The next item on the agenda for the day was a meeting
with my friend Kriszta at the tea house on Raday utca. I had requested she
meet me so I could discuss hiring her for some work I need done. I have
decided to duplicate a very lucrative business model which a client of mine
in the states has implemented over past year. He had me develop five copies
of three identical templates which could be used by any dentist, each one
being a different color scheme. Once completed, he contacted dentist
offering them a very nicely designed web site for a fraction of what it
would have otherwise cost them to have developed by a design firm. At a
price of approximately $1,200 dollars, he has sold hundreds of them. I
wanted to ask Kriszta if she would translate them to Hungarian for me, which
I will then market to dentist in Hungary with the assistance a nice guy I
met on the tram one night named Bela who is an economics major in the local
university.

Our meeting lasted only an hour or so, and after her
replying that she hadn’t the time to accompany me down Raday uctca. to
inquire from the various businesses if they’d like a panorama for 10,000
Forint each, I decided to do so myself. The first stop was the Red Coach
Inn Restaurant (www.vpk.webzona.hu)
which I have thought each time I have walked past it in the three weeks I
have been in Budapest was the nicest on the café lined street. With an
unlit cigar in my mouth, I casually opened my laptop only to then show an
employee a panorama of another restaurant on the same street. His words
were
spoken in Hungarian, but it was easy to see he was impressed. He
motioned with a finger for me to wait one moment and left only to return
with another man who introduced himself as the manager who spoke English. I
told him I simply wanted to shoot a panorama if only for my own portfolio.
Knowing no one likes to be sold, I chose to use this approach as I knew once
he saw the completed panorama he’d want it. I was right and I walked out
with two cards in my pocket, each one worth 5,000 Forints in meals (about 3
nice dinners I’d say) and 10,000 in cash. Right away I knew I’d be dining
there this evening with my girlfriend who would come home thinking she’d be
making me a simple Hungarian dish of Sajtos Teszta only to find herself
dining in the same restaurant we walked past last night on an after supper
stroll of which we had both commented on how beautiful it was. I think it
will make her very happy to eat there tonight.

So, with all that being said thus ends another day in
Budapest, and what has become my – new and wonderful – life.

PS. This past weekend we had the chance to visit the
lovely city of Szeged where her longtime friends Anita and her husband Krisztian and little boy Kristof live. After spending two wonderful nights
with equally wonderful and loving people, we then went to Keskemet to visit
her parents whom I would meet for the first time. It was a fantastic
weekend which allowed the two of us to get to know one another even better
than we have in the past three weeks. The visit with her parents was
challenging only in that as we arrived in Keskemet, my girlfriend received a
call that her ailing grandma had passed away. It was early on Sunday
morning so I told her that she should go alone to comfort her mother whose
mother it was that had passed and I would arrive for the mid-day meal of
Chicken Paprikas and other Hungarian dishes upon which we would feast. I
spent the morning taking some of the best panoramas I have shot in some time
of the various spots around the square only then to be picked up by my
girlfriend at noon to be taken to her home for our visit with her parents.
Considering the passing of my girlfriend’s grandmother that morning, her
parents were ever so kind and perhaps attempted to put on their best faces.
Not speaking a word of English, my girlfriend carefully translated our
entire conversation. I had teased her that I would say all sorts of silly
things that she would not be able to translate to them, but in light of the
before mentioned situation, I thought it best not to do so. I was right.
After lunch, her father and I played a great game of chess (which I perhaps
appropriately lost) after which I then shared with them some photos I have
taken of their daughter which they loved as well as some of my travel
pictures. I was so pleasantly surprised to see how lovely their home is –
carefully and tastefully decorated. I had brought them two photos of their
daughter to display on their desks at work as well as some flowers I had
spontaneously purchased at the market for her mom in consideration of the
passing of her mother that morning. I think they really appreciated both.

PSS – Oh and her parents loved
me I would be told on the train back to Budapest that night. “You’re the
first man I have brought home that my father has liked….” she said to me.

Oh
and another thing, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve definitely got to see
this…


Babies Everywhere!

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