For some, it comes easy to love the nationality they’re born into. For others, it can turn into arrogance. And then there are the likes of me, who don’t feel that nationality can define or limit them.
In fact, for years, I worked on shredding my Hungarian-ness. I tried to hide on my blogs that I’m a non-native speaker, and when living abroad, I never searched the company of my fellow citizens.
I felt more at home in Ireland than in Hungary and I coined the phrase which described it very well: “Hungary gave me birth but Ireland gave me life.” I wanted to be Irish, with the accent, the big circles of friends & family, with their musical talent, with everything.
Visiting Transylvania for NYE, however, showed me a different side to this. Hungarian people living there work towards keeping their nationality. It’s not given to them, it’s not automatic, it’s a fight. And they’re proud of who they are. They are proud of our culture, art, history. They spend time, energy, money to keep it, to keep their children in it.
During our trip, we went to see a children’s choir who travel the world to meet Hungarian expats, and to be ambassadors of our music. They also sing songs of other nations that they visit and that night they performed an Irish one.
It felt like a personal gift to me from them, having my two homes converge in a magical way, and I could hardly hold back my tears. There, that moment made me realise that I got it all wrong before. I don’t have to choose. I don’t have to “give up” being Hungarian for me to love Ireland. I can be proud of our culture without thinking it’s perfect, or better than others. It only means appreciating its uniqueness.
Like that choir with the song, I have multiple sides and multiple homes:
- I am Hungarian like my mum: open, loud, instinctive.
- I am German like my dad: closed, logical, mathematical; looking organised from the outside, but a mess on the inside.
- I am Irish: I am free, I am wild, I am artistic, I am loving.
- I am Spanish: I am happy, I am relaxed, I am chill.
I am the singer, the drummer, the music and the dance. I am everything I lived through, every country I called home, every nation I let into my soul.
I am proud of being part of all these nationalities.