variations on the american dream

In the middle of a South Carolina lightning storm, the last thing I should be thinking about is Budapest, Hungary.  But nothing can escape being wrapped around light and heat here, especially not thoughts of new homes (or flying through summer storm systems to get there).

But there is a stillness here tonight.  Everyone has turned away the lights and let the moon and stars and lightning pull up the shadows of the ocean.  It might only exist on the southern shore, though I am particularly biased in these feelings.  I’ve always wondered where it comes from here– the weather, the tides, or maybe the easiness of most of the people.

I’m not from the south, nor the shore or the southern mountains.  I was as a Yankee in Georgia for a year, though my blood certainly gets closer than I do:  my Hungarian relatives having arrived in West Virginia from Budapest over a century ago.

But even here as my time in America seems to be blinking out, I haven’t learned enough about my Magyar past yet, except how to spell and pronounce some names correctly.  Though in fairness, the 1200 10pt-font pages of the HISTORY OF MAGYARORSZÁG wasn’t exactly best comprehended between sips of Mexican Margaritas at Pool Bar Jim’s.  Anyway, I should be able to come to it some on the plane tomorrow.

What do I know?  I’m not sure.  What do I even know about America, really?  Honestly, the very first thing that came to my mind now was the gal that bounced down the beach this morning in a Confederate flag bikini.  OO Rah, America.

I know that Hungarians aren’t really fond of dryers, think baby Jesus decorates the tree and wraps the presents on Christmas morning, and who every August parade St. Stephen’s bony hand around the capital.  But something tells me there’s a little bit more to learn about a country that seems to have a large amount of people who in spite of being tide pools for grand emotions, seem also to really enjoy their lives.

Thank you for sticking with me and Penzilla for the past five years and I hope that you will find something interesting at Budajest as well.  I promise not to turn the majority of my posts into post-pálinka American-in-Budapest revelations.

Tomorrow I’ll be on an airplane back to Hungary, the opposite (and slightly higher and faster) journey my family made a century ago.  They sent themselves over as coal miners to build up America and the modest hopes of their families.  I’m returning as a writer who can hopefully add something to their story.  So even though this site will be more about Buda than Jes, how’s that for the American dream?


6 thoughts on “variations on the american dream

  1. hungary, the country without dryers, the little Jézuska, and even the bony hand are really looking forward to seeing you.
    so do i.
    be safe.

  2. I will miss penzilla (and you, of course), but am looking forward to seeing Budapest through your eyes. Just so you know, I expect to have something to read every morning. Don’t let coffee hour down, or else.


  3. Well, I’ll be reading your new blog. And don’t forget to push my blog in “the old country.” Writers need to stick together. I know you’ll have a great experience. Enjoy yourself; it’s a great opportunity to learn about people and places. And it will be interesting to see what you find out about the relatives who made their way to the U.S. to follow their dream. That to me has always been a profile in individual courage. Giving up everything that had and knew to come to America. Collectively that defined the American spirit of adventure and accomplishments.

  4. Well, CC & I will read your blog daily….in between baseball, lacrosse, bible camp, tumbling class, vacation and anything else in between we;ll be checking in to see Hungary through your eyes. What a wonderful experience…enjoy because time will pass quickly.
    Love You!!
    Aunt Susan & CC

  5. Aunt Sue and CC 🙂 I’m so glad you followed me over from my other site! And thank you for checking between your various activities (oh, how I remember those days!). And now you can keep everyone in the burgh informed!! Love you too. Keep in touch.

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