Asking Hungarians about who or what inspires them is quite a challenging project. It may well be a question that is impossible for them to answer, especially for those Hungarians who have no connections with anybody outside Hungary, do not speak foreign languages, and live outside the major cities. They may simply be lacking a source of inspiration, or, more probably, they do not tend to think in terms like inspiration. A combination of `obligation` and `dedication` would seem more of an accurate description of their motives.
Even in the university city of P?cs, many English-speaking youngsters sheer away from the question as if I am asking about their last erotic dream. Many of the answers consist of textless giggles and apologies for not being able to reply to any questions related to the matter. Fortunately, I also find some people who are willing to discuss the subject in a little more detail.
Steering cars at the age of 6
Csaba (30, photo) counts his father among the examples of how he wants to lead his life. `I admire him for having been able to quit drinking after being an alcoholic pretty much continuously until I was 15 years old. When communism fell, my father took up his old profession as a butcher. My parents opened a small shop in the city. Officially a general food shop, but most of what we sold was meat. My father never forced me into anything, while most other Hungarian parents I know can be quite directive. He allowed me to help him in the shop but he never insisted. And so whenever I did it, I did it because I enjoyed it. My father also taught me how to repair bikes, which is still something I enjoy doing nowadays. I remember how we first had no car at all and needed to do everything with a bike. Then we got our first car which was a Warburg. Talking about cars, I remember how my uncle let me stear his car when I was only six years old. And how he wanted me to start kissing girls when I was 12 years old. My uncle became an alcoholic at the same moment my father stopped drinking. I sometimes go for a drink, but I think I have recognised the pattern of people in my family drinking too much. Just that has been enough for me to choose another path.`
`It was my father who made me feel that communication doesn`t always require a lot of words. Then, my ex-girlfriend showed me that the opposite is also true, and that talking about things that don`t seem important can also help creating bonds between people. With my housemate, I have been talking with her about the energy between people and how you can get to know people by observing how they express themselves. All of those skills are very useful in my everyday life`, Csaba says.
Csaba gets his best ideas during the moments between being awake and falling asleep, `or sometimes at random moments, like when I`m sitting on the toilet. Or sometimes, I am very enthusiastic about an idea, tell everybody and then forget about it myself. If I don`t forget, I apply the ideas to make pieces of furniture or to assemble pieces of electronics into something else, preferably lamps.`
Daniel (30) calls himself rather cynical, saying that he does not believe in anything that goes beyond the visible. `I think Yuri Gagarin was my biggest childhood hero, because he did something that no other human being had ever done before. I also enjoyed reading Jules Verne`s books, who gave me appetite for traveling, especially the one in which a group of people lands on an island and create a civilisation from scratch.`
Daniel enjoys meeting new people and learning about their ideas, or putting himself and his friends in new situations to gain access to new ideas. `I also enjoy landscapes and geography. I also like sports, but that`s more of a routine thing, it doesn`t help me get new insights. The most inspiring view I ever had, was the one on the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey. It made me want to go sailing and I now also want to see the desert. I think it will be in many ways similar to the ocean.`
Olasz (24) greatly respects the father of one of his friends: `He is a transplantation surgeon and some 6 years ago, he allowed me to attend a `harvesting transplant operation`: the removal of organs from somebody who had just been declared brain dead. I was very impressed by that and it has been very decisive in my preparations for professional life. I am a medical student and within 9 years from now, I should also be able to carry out such operations.`
Olasz further refers to his own father as an example of how he want to lead his life. `He used to be very strict, but he was very good at only needing something small to create something big. For the rest, I mostly try to inspire myself. I like challenges and I like achieving new goals and improving myself. I am proud of having made it into the medical university, and also, even though it`s a bitrough, to have broken the nose of a 130kg guy that I once somehow got into a fight with.`
Borka (21) says it took her quite some energy to create herself a happy life. Like many young Hungarians, she seems to have been raised with the idea of having little value, being insignificant or even stupid. `That`s what my parents used to make me believe and I only found out recently that there are many ways of leading a much more satisfactory life. I feel much better now and don`t automatically blame myself when things go wrong. It`s quite a new feeling, but it feels so much better than whatever I was used to. I feel like I am on a journey, and it`s a pleasant one. I feel like I am allowed to do things wrong. And if I am wrong once, I won`t make the same mistake twice.`
Borka explains that living in Germany for six months served as a major eye-opener: `First of all, to be away from Hungarian society which somehow programs people to think in a negative way. Also, I had a very good friend with whom I shared this experience. I talked a lot with her when we were there, probably two hours and not the chit-chat kind of talk ? but really interesting stuff.`
`I take my ideas from many different fields`, Borka says. Whenever I learn about somebody I admire, I will read about that person or want to know more. Right now, I am very much interested in Tom York, the Radiohead lead singer. I like people in whom I recognise a small piece of myself that I have not yet entirely discovered, or a piece that they have developed much further than I have. When I come to understand them, I can integrate that into myself. I feel like I am collecting experiences, and I think that`s exactly what I should be doing at this point in my life.`
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