How to (re)discover your hometown

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust.

I was born and bred in the capital, and there’s no denying that I’m a true Budapestian. The city is present not only in my childhood memories, but it also entwines all the ups and downs of my life as an adult.

The history of our relationship goes back more than two decades – no wonder that the thrill is long gone, and little by little we did not only grow fond of each other, but got a bit too cozy and lazy as well. Just as an old, married couple we know each other from head to toe, and after such a long time it’s quite natural that we forget to appreciate the small but exciting details about each other and tend to focus on the drawbacks.

Fortunately, last year when one of my friends from the US came to visit me, the symbolic worn-out, squeaky rollercoaster of our romance received a long-awaited push! My ultimate goal was to impress my friend: I wanted him to regard Budapest as the best place on Earth, I wanted him to shed tears (oh no… I wished he would cry like a baby!) when he had to leave the city!

So suddenly I started to see everything about my precious hometown in a different colour: I made notes about the all the new places I visited, and whenever I was travelling by public transportation I was constantly staring out of the window looking for new cafés, bars and restaurants. My perspective had changed for keeps: for the first time in ages I took delight in my surroundings instead of gazing at my shoes and shutting the world out, and when we went sightseeing I felt like a (well-informed) tourist, as I was almost as excited as him to (re)discover the city.

So what’s the moral of my story? Learn from my mistake and instead of taking good things for granted, strive to take pleasure in them.

by Zsuzsanna Linka

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