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Happy Europe to Hungary, Czech Republic and Friends

Adrienne just called from the midnight celebrations in Hungary with the sound of fireworks popping in the background. They're Europeans officially, at last! We hope all you property owners get insanely rich off Irish speculators!

Rick E. Bruner | East Euro Current News | Apr 30, 2004 | Comments (3)

Budapest Revokes Stalin's Honorary Hungarian Citizenship

AP reports:

Budapest's city council will vote this month on a measure symbolically stripping Joseph Stalin of the honorary citizenship granted to him in the wake of World War II, city officials said Friday.

Rick E. Bruner | East Euro Current News | Apr 29, 2004 | Comments (0)

Not quite ready for the E.U.: Molvania

Have you seen this travel guide to Molvania, a little-know East-European country? Their national anthem is one of a kind.

Emmanuelle Richard | Various Resources | Apr 29, 2004 | Comments (1)

Lucy Hooker on 'Hungary's Technology Revolution'

I heard a wonderful piece on the BBC today from Nick Thorpe about Hungary on the eve of E.U. accession, using a marriage metaphor, which I suppose is a bit of a cliche, but I thought it was a great piece. (Although the image of Hungary as virginal made me smirk.) (Incidentally, my dear Adrienne is back in Budapest at the moment, there to see family, get her teeth fix and, in no small part, be there to experience the history of joining the E.U. first hand.)

So I went to the BBC's web site to see if there were a copy of the story I could link here to. Unfortunately, unlike NPR, the Beeb doesn't seem to put audio versions of its radio stories on the web site (unless I'm just dense and missing something."

Anyway, while I was there, I came across this headline: "Hungary's technology revolution," so I clicked. The first thing that caught my eye was this old chestnut in the lede: "Only a Hungarian can enter a revolving door behind you and come out in front." Then I looked up and saw the name: our own beloved Lucy Hooker.

I heard she was in Budapest recently (as is obvious from the fact that she's reporting from there). Apparently, some old friends met up with them for a picnic, but so far, no update or photos.

Rick E. Bruner | East Euro Current News | Apr 28, 2004 | Comments (0)

Three Kinds of Expats

A friend here in NY, who has nothing to do with the Budapest crowd, named Paul Frankenstein (yes, that's his real name), observes this on his blog as he sets off for a trip of undetermined length (three months, I thought) to China:

As I head off into the night (yes, I’m packed now) a parting thought:

There are three kinds of expats:

  1. Expats who head out on a one-year assignment and come back after three months.
  2. Expats who head out on a one-year assignment and come back after three years.
  3. Expats who head out on a one-year assignment and come back after thirty years.

Sounds about right. What kind of expat are you?

Rick E. Bruner | Expat Philosophy | Apr 24, 2004 | Comments (2)

Drew and Dori, Above the Fold in Népszabadság


Adi sent me this article a week or so ago but was too busy to translate any of it for me and I was too busy to try to translate any of it myself. Then it occurred to me that Drew probably posted about it on his blog, which he did:

We're on the front page of Hungary's biggest daily, Népszabadság. The article is about Dori having her American visa application rejected. The journalist also talked to someone from the embassy about their policy. Makes it sound fairly hopeless, actually.

The caption to the photo says "Drew and Dora - should they try again?"

As I came into work this morning the girls at the reception desk attacked me with the front page - it looks much more impressive than the web page - there that photo of us is on the top left corner, above the masthead.

I've heard from all sorts of people that they spotted me today.

It's actually a shame that the formerly respectable Nepszabi, almost the only 'real' newspaper in Hungary, is trying to turn itself into a Hungarian USA Today. I don't know why it would choose to battle with those crappy tabloids. They have an entirely different audience.
If any of you wants to translate a nut paragraph or two, would be appreciated.

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates | Apr 24, 2004 | Comments (0)

Pan-European Picnic Revisited

Dear Friends,

May 1st 2004 Amsterdam-based European Easterners and other internationalists will celebrate the fact that the EU will join Hungary and other some other funny states. If you happen to be in Amsterdam around that date - for Queens Day April 30th for instance - you're very welcome to our imitation Pan-European Picnic in the Vondelpark. Here's the text of the local invitation:

Dear Friends,

Many of us can still remember beautiful May 1st days, when we celebrated above all that May 1st was a socialist holiday.
May 1st 2004 will forever mark the end of this era, as this is the day the European Union will join much of the rest of Europe.

Inspired by the 1989 Pan-European picnic (Augustus 19th 1989, Sopronpuszta, Hungary, http://www.sopron.hu/paneu-piknik) that first lifted the Iron Curtain, we decided to celebrate this event with another picnic. Everybody who feels like celebrating with us is very welcome.

In order to preserve something of our national identities it would be nice if you could bring food or drinks related to your country. We will at least have some palinka from Hungary, becherowka from the Czech Republic, probably some wodka and some capitalist bourgeois champagne and wine. Szalami, strapacka, burek, okurky, kohuke, knedliky and other sophisticated cuisine will be offered. But of course anything from the Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Macedon or Serbian regions is also very welcome.

The picnic will be disturbed by football matches between old, new and future Member States. If you feel like participating let us know.

We will meet at 4 o'clock on Saturday 1 May on the corner of the Overtoom and Kattenlaan. If you want to come later give one of us a call and someone will come and meet you.
Should the weather be bad the party (probably not the football match) will take place in Retiefstraat 3 II (Kati's place). In this case further information will follow.

We hope to see you on May 1st !!!

Please let the Pan-European Community if you come either by e-mail or phone.

Jannes Hartkamp
+31 6 41765000

Jannes Hartkamp | Social Announcements | Apr 24, 2004 | Comments (0)

LeBor Does NYC

LeBor is in Manhattan through this Saturday, April 24. Several chances to catch him hawking his new book and to meet up with friends. Details on Bruner Blog.

Adam was a guest on WNYC radio's Leonard Lopate Show on Tuesday. It went very well. Forty-minute interview. Both gentlemen sounded very smart. Hear the whole thing online here.

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates | Apr 19, 2004 | Comments (2)

BBC's Hungary Quiz

The BBC is doing quizes on the 10 new countries joining the E.U. on May 1, and today's is a quiz on Hungary.

It was harder than I thought. I managed a 7 out of 10, but several were educated guesses.

Thanks to Nick Denton for the tip.

Rick E. Bruner | East Euro Current News | Apr 15, 2004 | Comments (2)

LeBor's New Book Reviewed by The Nation

LeBor's latest book: 'Milosevic: A Biography'

Our own dear Adam LeBor's book, Milosevic: A Biography, was reviewed quite favorably ("Adam LeBor's excellent new book") and at length in The Nation this week. Select excerpts:

[W]hat LeBor has written is not a character study but a history of the disintegration of Yugoslavia through the lens of Serbian politics.

Many, many histories have been written in the decade and a half since Yugoslavia began to crumble. Nearly all such accounts acknowledge Belgrade politics as the driving force behind the chain of wars, but few do as good a job as this one of understanding those often complex maneuverings and weaving Serbia's experience into the experience of the region as a whole. As LeBor seamlessly demonstrates, Milosevic's degradation (economic, cultural, moral) of his own republic had everything to do with the sufferings he inflicted outside of it.

. . .

Anyone who truly believed Milosevic was a nationalist might be disabused of such notions by LeBor's hard look at the Serbian leader's contempt for his own people. Milosevic stood for Milosevic, nothing more.

Meanwhile, we in NY await LeBor's pending visit to our humble burg with eager anticipation. (Adam, when is it, exactly?) Local Bp expat get-together pending. Stay tuned.

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates | Apr 7, 2004 | Comments (0)