I am back in a place I will always love – Budapest, Hungary. Even though Romania was my first love – and my trip there last August to see the fruit of our ministry that has remained is without equal – I have room in my heart to love two countries (in addition to my own, of course).
The first time I entered this Gem on the Danube, in 1990, I had a photo taken of me in front of the Marx and Engels statue downtown. Today that statue rests in a special park far from the city center. Every trip to Budapest in the ensuing years, while I lived in Romania, deepened my appreciation. It was so beautiful and we could find the things we needed which were not available in Romania. I think I fell in love with Budapest during those years. And then I moved to Budapest and got to know the city better. As with family, that was mostly good but I also found things I didn’t like so much. The relationship grew more intimate and comfortable.
The day I moved away, without any money because it had been stolen mere hours before and without any send-off, I sat glued to the window of my Airport Mini-Busz as it crossed the Danube. I inhaled that spectacular view, trying to imprint the scene in my mind forever. And now I am back with my husband, sitting on the banks of the Danube, looking over at the castle and Matthias Church on the hill, listening to melancholic gypsy violin music, aware of what I have missed in my years away from Europe – the oldness, the culture, the music, the architecture, the charm, the history.
Soon our time will be filled with old friends, but today is all about becoming reacquainted with my old flame while my new flame sits beside me. (And about getting over jet lag.)