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Monday, October 27, 2008


Robert's pirate party was great--people really put some thought into their costumes and the atmosphere was cheerful and full of good humor (no doubt helped by generous quantities of booze).

Except that farewell parties are not supposed to be cheerful because the next day you not only wake up with a nasty hangover, but that's when the reality sinks in--yet another friend is gone for good.

I've had it with farewells. If I had a euro for each friend that left Budapest in the past two years, I'd earn a fortune (or at least considerably more than with our ill-timed investments).

We feel like the last survivors of a once great tribe. Ana Maria and Roberto, Tina and Marco, Iva and Codru, Giorgia and Marco, Dana, Eli, Todd and Radka, Laura and Claudio, Robin and Ayesha, Loucine and Tom, Natalie and Michael, Willo, Lucija and the rest of the Habitat crowd, Sergiu and Wiolka, Adriana, Pavel and Emese, and now Robert--all gone.

It's the downside of the expat life--you hang around with other foreigners and they tend to leave, sooner or later. Budapest is not the kind of place where many people come to stay and settle, unless they have Hungarian roots or a significant other. You come with a job, you leave with a job but the in-between can last for longer than you planned or predicted. It's a beautiful city, and it's an easy, comfortable living; even if it's not all perfect, it feels damn good most of the time.

Then someone leaves, again, and you're thinking, 'have we overstayed our welcome?' Whose turn now?

1 comment:

Greg Spencer said...

Transience is also a vocational symptom. If you're in certain industries, the job market's global and you're more likely to move around.

The most boring year of my adult life, actually, was when I worked at a travel agency in Chicago, and all my colleagues were native Chicagoans with well-established (inert) social circles. I didn't make many friends at all.

But after that, I got into news reporting and then I started moving around a lot. My coworkers have likewise tended to come from places other than the cities where they work, and it all makes for a more interesting, rich social life.

Of course, there are the departures. But there are arrivals, too, which is part of what has made Budapest so great.

It's true that in Budapest, people come and go, and it's sad to lose those connections. But it