The past four years have been fascinating. I’ve lived in many exotic locations, but after a short time, I’d always stop being impressed by their beauty. Not so with you.
It was fabulous to behold a rich, thriving culture of music, dance, and folk art. Please, don’t ever cast this aside, like so many other cultures in this part of Europe are doing.
I will miss the simple bliss of soaking my aging bones in your therapeutic waters.
Most of all, I’m so very pleased to have been able to peer behind your grandiose facade. When I strolled down your neglected back streets, I didn’t see ruin and decay. I saw potential. The unpretentious eccentricity of your inhabitants was a sight to behold. As was your rapid transformation from edgy and slightly scary to mainstream party central. The only detritus that remains is the filth – piss/puke/dog(?) poop. But I’m even grateful for that, because now I know to always, always watch where I step and be careful not to fall. I can’t help but be a little sad that the original spirit that had so captivated me has all but dissipated, but I understand that all things must pass. I’m happy that I was able to witness the bizarre spectacle before it was swallowed up by trendiness.
During my time here, I managed to learn how to say basic Hungarian phrases. I could buy things in the market, order off a menu, raise my glass for a toast, and insult someone (although I never did).
However, I never could feel comfortable saying viszontlátásra, which means “farewell”. I always switched letters around or simply stopped after the first syllable and hoped that people got the idea.
So, Budapest, I’ll simply leave you with a köszönöm. Thank you.