My first night here was magical – Interview with Lindsey Glass
Lindsey knew very little about Hungary before arriving, but her first night here was magical. Let’s meet Lindsey!
Where are you from?
I’m from Paxton, a small town in Massachusetts. I have spent most of my life there. I went to high school and college in a nearby city. Growing up there, everyone knew each other. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent more time in Boston and larger cities that are bigger, busier and have more going on, yet I still prefer living in a surrounding suburb.
What is day to day life for you?
I am in my late twenties, working as an ER nurse in a community hospital. I work generally twelve-hour shifts, often seeing people on their worst day. Aside from work, I spend time with my family, boyfriend, friends and small dog named Beasley.
Where else have you traveled before visiting Hungary?
Growing up in the New England area, family trips mostly were within North America. We would take road trips to visit the beaches in Maine and Niagara Falls, in Canada. We flew from the east to the west coast to discover San Francisco. Following these trips, a transition took place leading to an evolution of wanting a bettering understanding of foreign people and places. The result of this derived from a mission trip in high school to rebuild houses in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In college, I went on a second mission trip to help run a pediatric health clinic in Belize. The warm welcome we received was humbling and moving. From studying abroad in Buenos Aires, to visiting scattered countries, including Iceland, Portugal, France and Ireland, my eyes have been opened to unfamiliar cultures, mindsets and ways of life.
What did you know about Hungary before traveling here?
I knew very little about Hungary before arriving. What I did know stemmed from google searches and isolated stories from my Hungarian brother-in-law. I’ve heard that Budapest is a beautiful city, very elegant and reminiscent of a different era. In preparing for my arrival here, speaking with friends and coworkers, it was a repeating theme that not much was known about this country.
How were the first 24 hours in Budapest for you?
Upon arriving in Budapest, my first night here was magical. The first iconic place I saw in the city was the Parliament building lit up at night. It was spectacular and a site that I can’t imagine would ever get old to look at. Afterwards, we went down to the river and ate at the Dunacorso restaurant overlooking the National Library and the Chain Bridge. There were live musicians playing around us, I tried the traditional goulash and paprika chicken. To top this all off, there was an unexpected firework show on the Danube River. Needless to say, this surpassed any and all expectations for the night.
What are your first impressions of Budapest?
I love the city. The architecture is so ornate. I love the bridges here, it’s been fun to check off going over, under and past the eight of them as the days go by. I’ve done a mix of touristy and local activities. I’ve learned to navigate the metro independently and gotten to explore some of the local bars and clubs.
What are some favorite things you’ve seen or done?
The fireworks go without saying. On my second night here, we went to the Fisherman’s Bastion which was beautiful. I loved the roof of the church there. The intricate tile design is something you don’t see everywhere. The scenery from Buda to Pest, overlooking the Parliament and the Chain Bridge is breathtaking. I got to walk the green bridge and sit on it, taking in the hustle and bustle, watching the people, cars and trams go by. I could see the Citadella from there, alongside the sun beginning to set.
Any negative impressions of the city?
It’s been intimidating to try and talk to people while buying things at the market or on the metro. There is a significant language barrier. My efforts to speak the language have been futile because Hungarian is so complex and different from English. Even with trying to learn key phrases, the accent does not come easily. I feel accomplished learning unfamiliar words but it seems insignificant given the intricacy of the language. I feel there is a pressure to speak and communicate solely in Hungarian, even with a significant percentage of the population who speak English. On the flipside, when I’ve been in coffee shops, bars and clubs, people have generally been warm and welcoming, eager to talk, giving me a real chance to get to know Hungary on a personal level.
Have you participated in the LGTBQ community during your time here?
Yes, I have. I went to Anker’t on Friday night for their Oops party. I met a number of local Hungarian gay men who could not have been more friendly or welcoming. It was so much fun. We danced till 2am, got to know the guys a little bit and see how they interacted with me and each other. There was an instant genuine friendliness that you don’t often see when meeting new people. The environment and the place was very cool, although it was the individuals who made the night unforgettable. Shout-out to DGMTV!
What is something that you’ve learned here that you’ll take with you?
It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, there’s always a good day or night to be had.