I think the title means, ‘Welcome to Hungary’?
I can’t be sure, as Hungarian is the one language that has completely flummoxed me.
Yet ‘welcome’ is the best word I can use to describe my trip to Hungary over the weekend, to speak at a neurological conference about my MS treatment option.
From the chaos of Budapest airport to the stunning hillside of a remote hotel on the curve of the Danube, I slept well for two nights in a row for the first time in months.
I had my speech ready, I had a nap beforehand, I polished my shoes. I had been told it would be a small conference attendance as I was due to speak at the end of the main day. Excellent. 60-odd people? I could handle that.
I met a translator, who had worked for NATO Generals, no less, so I felt a little feeble, clutching my print-out, scribbled-out speech in my hand. Luckily, he had also translated for my fellow-Glaswegian Alex Ferguson, so I knew I was on solid ground. Apparently, according to Hungarian people, I speak really, really fast.
Sadly for me, and my first attempt at a sole speech, it was a packed house, and we were running late. So I sat through three incredibly interesting presentations in Hungarian. Then it was my turn and nobody left the room. Everyone took up their headphones for an instant translation of my ramblings. Right. Ok. I could do this.
And so I began.
I gave my speech. People nodded and clapped. Then I moved from the lectern to the stage and sat with a fabulous Hungarian neurologist and answered questions. I felt a lot happier on this ground and chatted away, feeling sorry for the translator who had to explain my ‘uumms’ and ‘ahhs’.
People clapped, and I left, a little shaky, but certain that I had done the best I could have. I was instantly whisked away to speak to a journalist from the only magazine for MS peeps, translator at hand. I had my photo taken and could feel his disappointment as I know I look a lot bigger in white tops.
Anyway. Hungary. What a beautiful country. I lived for a while not so very far from there – in Austria, for almost two years. But that was over 25 years ago.
To be back there was just perfect. The changes have been immense, and it was a joy to see a country I love blossom.
On an MS note, it was fantastic to speak to the movers and shakers in the Hungarian MS community, and hopefully, this will trickle down. And then some …