Opening our English column in this special Humen Sports edition, we have Miguel. A former gymnast and multimedia graduate from Portugal, he came to Budapest following his heart. Although the relationship in question did not last too long, he fell in love with the city and has been adapting quite well.
Where are you from in Portugal?
I was born in Braga, a small city with an approximate population of 180,000 inhabitants. I started my gymnastics career there at the age of 16. When I turned 20, I decided to continue on this path as a professional athlete. In the meantime, I studied Multimedia in the city of Porto. After I graduated from the Multimedia Institute, I worked at Massimo Dutti for a while; however, I felt the need for something totally different and challenging. That is when my life took an unexpected turn and I ended up in Budapest.
What are your impressions of the city?
I arrived here in October 2014. I always wanted to live abroad; however, if I’m honest, Budapest was never part of my plans. I did not know a lot about Hungary or Budapest itself, but in my opinion, you can easily fall in love with the city, just like I did. Budapest offers so many amazing views, architecture, activities, and other different things that I was not used to in Portugal. I just cannot get enough of the riverside with the bridges and the amazing monuments. I love to go for a walk or a run alone with my earplugs in and enjoy this beautiful city, especially during the night. Moreover, this city is full of life and you can never get bored.
What are your impressions of Hungarian boys?
To be honest, I do not have a clear idea about Hungarian boys. I have lots of foreign friends and I hang out a lot with them. I guess that is the reason. But I can say that in the beginning I had a certain impression and during my stay here, somehow it changed. The first cultural shock makes you think that everyone is cold or rude; however, this is not exactly true. So far I have made a number of good Hungarian friends.
Where do you enjoy hanging out?
I would have to say ZooCafe, a small and cozy place located in the 5th district, where you can have a beverage and observe different animals while cuddling cats that wander around freely in the premises (Fejér György utca 3.). I also love Cat café, another cool place located in the 6th district, near the Basilica (Révay utca 3.), which is packed with all kinds of cats. I love animals so I make sure to take all of my friends there that visit me. Besides that, I like to hang out with my friends in Ankert, Szimpla or some other nice pubs. For parties I usually go to HELLO, Garçons or WOW. My favorite one is definitely HELLO. I just love the music they play over there. Finally, I cannot forget to mention the amazing Margaret Island, which provides wide-open spaces for so many kinds of activities like gymnastics, running, reading, chilling, etc. Usually that’s my Sunday program with my friends.
Have you suffered any kind of prejudice in Budapest?
Personally not. But I have some friends who did and it is pretty sad to know that in the 21st century, people still judge you like that. Some of the things that they have been through came from the way they carried themselves, the way they behaved or showed any sort of affection in public. I think I am lucky compared to some of my friends. I am aware of some areas or districts where I could get in trouble just by walking hand in hand with a boy. Sometimes, I do not feel secure or comfortable to do what a straight couple could do anywhere.
As a former professional gymnast, have you ever thought of continuing this career in Budapest, perhaps as a coach?
Yes, I did. However, the language is a great barrier. Besides that, I would not have the same pleasure of being a coach here as I had when I was an active gymnast. It was such a great opportunity in Portugal to teach youngsters. It was a good experience because I could be creative by planning acrobatic routines from scratch, which does not happen when you belong to a club, where you have coaches and choreographers taking care of that for you. Meanwhile, I have the desire to find a place where I can do gymnastics as a hobby or at least to get my gymnastics skills up to snuff.