AKA What the hell am I doing here?
I’m in a building in Budapest, face down, sliding across a laminated floor, dragging my arms behind me, surrounded by toddlers. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m pretending to be a snail. I’m also having one of those ‘How did I get here?’ moments.
To add a bit of context, I’m at a musical class for toddlers, and to ease any concerns that you may currently be harbouring about my choice of leisure activities, Mila is here as well. It’s her first time here, so naturally she’s feeling a bit unsure about being told to be a snail, and as a consequence, only moments earlier the most terrifying words in the English language were uttered towards me by a Hungarian toddler teacher.
“Maybe daddy will be a snail with you?”
As I slide across the floor, arms behind me, face millimetres from laminate flooring, I catch a glimpse of another dad watching me from the side-lines, smirking. It’s one of those, ‘Look at me, I’m not a snail smirks’. You know the ones. I instantly earmark him as an utter bastard.
This is actually the second ‘How did I get here?’ moment I’ve had today, as only this morning I was sitting by my desk, by our patio windows, watching the snowflakes fall on a white Budapest, when a Will Young song began to play on the radio. For some reason I was reminded of the last time I’d heard that song, many, many moons ago.
I was living in Kent at the time, having just split up with what many would consider to be a mentally unhinged gobshite. It was Friday night and I was doing what all new singletons do. Play online poker until the early hours, clad in just my underpants, whilst eating twice my bodyweight in Matchmakers (mint flavour, obviously, as I’m not a barbarian).
If only someone had told me then, “Don’t worry mate, she’s a colossal cockgoblin! Give it a decade or so and you’ll be freelancing, living in snowy Budapest, married to a heavily pregnant Hungarian, father of a two and a half year old nutter and sliding around on the floor pretending to be a fucking snail!”
To be fair, if they had, I’d probably have just stared at them blankly and then carried on eating Matchmakers.
Anyway, what on earth am I gibbering on about?
We’ve now been living back in Budapest for a couple of weeks, and despite the unfamiliar new digs, in many ways it’s like we’ve never been away. My sausage, cabbage and breaded meat consumption have already increased by circa four hundred percent, I’m getting in to awkward language barrier conversations on a daily basis and the urge to blend in by growing a moustache is overwhelming (but I’m fighting it valiantly as I just know I’d look like Gary Neville when he grew a moustache).
Three highlights of life in Budapest 2019 so far...
1. A conversation that I had with an indigenous Hungarian man about the merits of Budapest vs the countryside.
“Countryside is good for rest…and for killing pig.” he’d said while miming the action of repeatedly stabbing a pig to death, whilst never breaking eye-contact.
2. Discovering that the doctor who will deliver my next cub is called Doctor Pop.
3. Going for a meal and sitting next to cuddly Hungarian despot Viktor Orbán.
Anyway, approximately four weeks until we are four.