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International Budapest: Interview with Marcus Oda

It’s easy to make new friends when you are far from home. It is our natural act for survival. We open up more and more easily to strangers in several situations. An interview however is not the case. “It’s weird to talk about yourself for so long”, Marcus told me after I asked him if he got nervous. Maybe some questions made him uncomfortable, but based on his stories, he gave me the impression that he is not a shy guy.


“Many of my friends live in Budapest. That’s why I always keep on coming back.” He is a home-based lawyer, and even though he works for an Estonian organization, he has never been able to leave Budapest for long. Since 2009, he has been moving back and forth for studying, work or just for pleasure. This time, however, he is settled. At least for now…

“They are just good friends. No romantic feelings”, he assures me after I pushed for the real reason behind his love for Budapest. “I don’t want to generalize, but in my experience, many Hungarians get emotionally attached too soon.” But I understand. When meeting someone like Marcus, who wouldn’t? A young Hawaiian man that has travelled the world is quite a catch.

He has the impression that many Hungarians have social pressure to be in a relationship. “I often meet people whose goal is to get a boyfriend. And that’s not the goal for me. I like to meet people and see what happens…” Perfectly valid, but what does Marcus need to get involved romantically? “Patience, so they get to know me better.”

His thoughts, of course, do not come from out of the blue. I made sure he had dated Hungarians before and even asked about his best and worst experiences when dating Hungarian guys. The worst one, actually, did not entirely go wrong because of Marcus or the guy he dated, but because of a taxi driver. “From the city center to a place around A38 he wanted to charge me 40 thousand forints.” Needless to say, this ended in a big argument between the taxi driver, the police and Marcus, who luckily didn’t have to pay in the end. “I was pretty upset by this point, so when I finally met this guy at the pub and told him what happened, he basically said that I was stupid for not taking the correct taxi.” He agrees that he was careless, but no one deserves to be called stupid after enduring such drama. You did right to end the date, Marcus!



His best date was with a guy with whom he ended up partying until 7 am. “It was just super fun, there is nothing special about this story”, he explained after thinking for a while. But what did I expect? Of course he was not going to tell me any dirty details. His love life is none of our business.

After pushing him for a while to tell me all his dirty secrets, I came to the conclusion that he is a gentleman that values privacy. But let me tell you, he is not only a nice guy who loves his friends and a good party. He is also a lawyer that advocates for human rights in ex-Soviet countries, speaks 5 languages and he is not scared of the Hungarian language, which, by the way, he speaks fairly well. “I think that the difficulty comes from the fact that there are no similar languages, but there are many simple things about it.” I wouldn’t have believed him if most of his friends weren’t Hungarian and he had not spend more than three and a half years in the country.

By the end of our meeting, we chit chatted until I finished my beer. Just like me, he loves the city.  I think we can all agree that Budapest is amazing, and people like Marcus make it better!


Orlando Hurtado



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