The Prologue

Budapesten Élek!

I live in Budapest.  This is very odd as I don’t usually live in Budapest.  In fact, I’ve never lived outside of the UK, but here I am, sitting on a sofa in my new digs in sunny Budapest.  A soon to be forty year old, soon to be first time father, immigrant.  My heavily pregnant wife is currently on the phone, speaking to her mother in tongues.  Some Hungarian duck pate is lazily lounging on a piece of Hungarian bread on a table next to me.  All of the food products in our kitchen have an unnatural number of ‘Zs’ on their packaging.  If I look up, my view is of the Buda hills.  It’s sunny and hot outside!  No, this is definitely not London in June (which according to the grumbles and moans that I’ve read via Facebook is currently suffering rain on a biblical scale).  I arrived two days ago and still feel very much like an old cat, torn from his natural habitat and dumped in to a new home.  I’m discombobulated, sniffing all of the new corners of my home whilst resisting the urge to pee and mark my territory.  What am I doing here?

Well as all good stories should begin, it started with a brain fart.  “What if we move to Budapest for the first year of Junior’s life?”.  We initially dismissed this thought, but soon realised that it wouldn’t simply dissipate like a well behaved fart into the ether, no matter how vigorously we wafted.  

Naturally there were opposing thoughts that did their best to put us of the Budapest scent.  “What about my job?  What about our mortgage?  How would we watch Masterchef?”   But then that little brain fart slowly became a brain hurricane, battering all obstacles in it’s path and turning the opposing thoughts on their heads.  “What if I quit my day job and pursued my dreams of being a full-time writer?  Why don’t we rent our place out?  We can stream Masterchef via the old tinterweb can’t we?”  And so I did it.  I quit my lovely, secure day job in London and we found renters for our London basecamp.  What followed were several weeks of blind panic.  I’d wake up in the dead of night, mind racing and heart pumping.  My thoughts during these wee hours usually went along the lines of…

“Fucking hell!  What in the name of God have I done?!  I won’t have a job!  Nobody will understand me!  I’m going to be forty!  I will be forty seven when my child is seven.  But that’s only three years from fifty!  When I’m fifty, that’s only ten years from sixty!  I’m supposed to retire at around sixty five aren’t I?  I’m a mere half a century from the probably end and I’ve just quit my job to go and live in a country where they speak in mostly ‘consonants’ and I have a baby on the way!  Help me!”

But with the unwavering support of my miniature wife, my tiny tower of strength, I got through those dark hours, and now here I am in beautiful Budapest, trying in vain to understand what on earth everyone else is saying, whilst eating an unnatural amount of sour cream, and with a heavily pregnant little lady by my side.  The next 12 months or so should be an interesting ride, full of cultural clashes, sleepless nights, shitty nappies and me being a clueless father in a foreign land.  So like a slightly more hirsute Captain Jean-Luc Piccard, I’m going to chronicle my adventures.  Here we go…