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Jen Brown with a new name

jen-clemente.jpg
Jen (nee Brown) Clemente,
from her demo DJ album

(I changed my last name from Brown to Clemente - which is my mother's maiden name. This was necessitated on part, due to an identity conflict with another Jennifer Brown with a very similar birth certificate)

Sziasztok!

Nice to see some familiar faces here. I took my first trip back to Budapest this fall after over three years away. With boyfriend Jim in tow, I had the good fortune of running into many old friends and feeling like a part of a life-long network, but the time there was too short. We hopped on the Balkan Express for my other favorite CEE destination - Belgrade, which had developed - in wake of recent political changes - its own burgeoning expat community. Onward ho to lovely Byzantine Lake Ohrid via Skopje and inward to moving and shaking Pristina. Some of these sights and sounds will make it into print someday soon. Valuable experiences shall not be wasted! ;-)

But what has occupied my time in the past 3.5 + years has been the corporate world - the other side of the fence. Yes, the once bohemian wanna be in me has transformed into a main cog in Big Blue's PR machine. But never fear, I have not grown stale. More on that later....

San Francisco's been good to me. I'm enjoying a sense of stability that comes both with age and finally settling on one city. For my Magyar fix, I go to the Bistro East Europe, in the Excelsior District. If any of you in SF haven't been there yet, give it a go. You'll never know how much you're going to pay, and you may end up having to serve yourself from the kitchen. Truly authentic!

So reviewing my personal expat history for anybody who is interested, I spent 91-92 in Szeged Hungary as part of my senior college year abroad, returning in 92-93 to teach journalism, literature and english at a foiskola and worship the Budapest Week staff from afar.

The following year, I did an MA program in international journalism at American University in Washington D.C. and was hired by Brent Shondelmeyer, who preceeded Henry Copeland as the BBJ's editor. Realizing the weekly news pace was not my forte, and growing tired of business reporting, I opted to try my hand at freelancing. Thanks to the support of the Budapest expat journalist community, I had strings, leads, flings, scandals, free lunches and all sorts of entertainment to keep me well occupied for many years.

At 26, the foolishness of youth and the need for browner pastures drew me to Belgrade, where I predicted the inroads of the internet would lead to a quick revolution - likely leading to the outsting of Milosevic. I was a few years to early, but got to march in the frigid cold for months with fellow ravers, students, hippies and entrepreneurs after the local election theft of 96. Though Milo didn't budge, I have a few stories to tell. I dabbled in internet journalism, covered hard news for the Christian Science Monitor (looks great on a resume, pays shite), and sharpened my Slavic toungue. My sometimes silly little rants, entitled "Surviving Belgrade" are still available for gawking at: www.beocity.com/surviving.

After about 14 months of this, I had enough. The place was toxic. I returned to Budapest where I went back to freelancing, then got involved in a very dodgy startup publication called Seven Days and Nights in Budapest, which could be a category all its own. It was so dodgy, that Peter Freed himself was slapping a lawsuit on 7DnN publisher-cum-criminal-cum-some famous rock and roll star's girlfriend Lisa Moorehead. Tired of being ripped off and chasing the freelance pay, I chucked it all and took a PR/Marcom job at KPMG in Budapest. It was a break well deserved and led to the IBM gig.

In San Francisco, you can find me DJing at an Oxygen Bar, rebuilding a DUKW with Jim at the Shipyard and harnessing chaos for our yearly Power Tool Drag Races.

One final note, I was diagnosed in August 2002 with Multiple Sclerosis. I've remained pretty asymptomatic but would like to know if anybody else has any health issues that could have stemmed from living in an area with a high amount of environmental toxins and a heavy carb/fat diet.

Jennifer Clemente | Gen Expat Life Updates, People | Jan 15, 2004 | Comments (12)

Comments


Wow, Jen, great damn post. I'm glad to see you've found a niche for your passion and talents. I still recall you raving about this "Internet" thing back in 1994. I just couldn't see how the thing could work. I'm amused to close the circle here, online. Thank you for updating us.

henry | Jan 16, 2004


Nice to catch up too. I love, love the samples of your album! Do you sell your CD somewhere? I want a copy. See you next time we go to Frisco xo

Emmanuelle | Jan 19, 2004


hold on..you are jennifer brown surviving belgrade!!
do you live in sf right now?

Ivana | Oct 15, 2005


Hi Jen, this is Krsma....if you remember i am Alexandar's best friend from Belgrade....well, i ran across this site and i thought i'd say hi....

Actually I have lived in San Francisco for the past 4 years...what a coincidence...

so, email me @ dkrsmano@hotmail.com if you can...

would love to hear back from you...or call me at 415-259-9339...

Krsma (Dejan)

Dejan Krsmanovic | Dec 3, 2005


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I would check into your boyfriend or even neighbors. There's a group of people that are killing people with formaldyhyde - which you end up with cancer. These people are very sick!!!

Anonymous | Apr 21, 2009


This is right the valuable experiences shall not be wasted.


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This is right the valuable experiences shall not be wasted.


by: florence

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Hey just a thought, you would probably get more readers if you interviewed controversial people for your blog.

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