I used to not live in Budapest. I used to live an hour away by train, in a town that I hated with my whole teenage hearth. I wanted to live in Budapest, I would want to have friends, places and a life in this city. I also used to want to be dancer.
So at age 16 I decided to act on both of these dreams. On every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would commute to Budapest, the big city I adored and I wanted to belong to, to take ballet classes. There is this misconception about ballet that it is very elegant and beautiful. Well ,that is only true if you are really good at it, and you have been practicing since forever. If you are just starting out 90% of your movements will make you look like a somewhat sweaty penguin. There is that 10% when you look in the mirror, and you see that you were actually able to lift your leg high up with the pointy feet: that feeling of achievement is really wonderful. It usually lasts about 4 seconds, then the ballet teacher comes over and shifts your hips a bit, pointing out that the reason you were able to lift your leg so high was that you were not doing the exercises right. I took classes for two years and even though my love for dancing remained my dream to become a dancer faded. However, two things stuck with me from that period of my life. One is that in every dancing related situation I lift my leg with a pointy feet (looks kind of silly in a club) and the second is my love for windows.
After an exhausting 90 minutes ballet class I would take the trolley bus no.73 from Nagymező street to the Keleti railway station. I always got a seat next to the window (that was kind of essential since my leg muscles were usually threatening to give up at that point) and I would just stare at the city I didn’t yet really belong to. I remember looking at the windows of the buildings and thinking about the lives people lead behind those walls.
And up until this day today, when I have my very own Budapest window, I still walk every street with my gaze upon the windows. I have to tell you this is not a very practical if you want to avoid bumping into people, but it is a very rewarding bad habit. Budapest has an amazing variety when it comes to windows: we have everything from the communist style squares to beautiful art nouveau windows.
When I conquered Budapest and I felt like I belong here, I wanted to see more. So I went to see the world. Every time I am a tourist I come home with lots of pictures of windows. Who cares about the Eiffel Tower or the Empire state building or the Blue mosque in Istanbul when I found this lovely little window at Montmartre or this huge window full of graffiti in Brooklyn and this colorful attic window in Eastern Turkey? But everywhere I go I tell people: they should come to my city, Budapest. Because we have the best windows in the world.