The first sight when arriving at a new destination by plane is an overview of the city where you will live. That initial picture is completed with the route to the place of residence; now, the city begins to take its shape as one crosses squares, bridges and houses. Thus, the visitor begins to create his own space in the new location in which he will be living the following years.
What a marvel and what a privilege that this city has been chosen for me, Budapest! The city in which I have lived for three and a half years and which has offered me great opportunities and many surprises.
Diva, Bruno and Gala
As it is known, my wife, Ambassador Aureny Aguirre and our daughter Aura, reside in London, for professional and academic reasons. I flew from that same city one day to begin my new diplomatic service in Budapest. Therefore, for almost four years we have traveled intermittently to meet each other between the two cities depending on our responsibilities. During that time our dog, Diva died unexpectedly in the United Kingdom, just when we were thinking of bringing her to Hungary for a while. For a small family that lives abroad it was a loss that has only been compensated over time with the addition of Bruno, the white Samoyed that even accompanies me to the office and Gala, the fox terrier that now fills with light and sound our house in London.
I am referring to the family and its members because this constitutes the backbone of the spirit that moves and motivates us. In particular in Budapest, I have had to live with dozens of diplomats who – for various reasons – find themselves living alone in the city. Children study in another city, couples have their own professional responsibilities in another places, caring for the elderly members of the family, in short, personal circumstances that also have an effect on the way in which we connect with the society that we are in.
Direct human contact is essential
Perhaps for this reason, the diplomatic life is also so intense in this city; of course, I am not referring to this terrible year that has disrupted everyone's social life and the way we relate and communicate. Talking with other diplomats, we believe that although with the integral incorporation of new technologies into our communication, in this business at least, direct human contact is essential. Establishing contacts, building trust and negotiating, the basic actions of diplomacy, need human contact to develop relationships and real connections.
Budapest is a city steeped in history, especially in recent centuries, and that is one aspect of the whole region that fascinates me. The profusion of ideas at the end of the 19th century throughout Central Europe constitutes one of the most intellectually attractive moments in the history of the West. But then, in a few years, the total disaster and the complete denial of ethics, of reason, one of the poorest moral moments of the human history. Without a doubt, the still visible traces, not only in its architecture, are a warning of the ever-present risks of human fragility.
I remember a temporary exhibition in the National Museum, which showed the continuity of human presence in this region since prehistoric times. The resilience of our species and its adaptability are impressive, as is the long life of Buda and Pest.
Casa de México
Since my arrival and given the possibilities of coexistence offered by the Residency of Mexico, I saw in it a space to project my country. Aureny redecorated the house with the elements that we brought and what we already had available. The Residency is filled with works of art from our own collection with objects reflecting Mexico at a glance. Combining the traditional Hungarian furniture with the colors of Mexico, we have made it a friendly space in which we have celebrated National Days, received and farewell diplomats, organized dozens of meetings between Ambassadors from all regions with Hungarian personalities from the entire political spectrum; we welcomed various groups that work with children, such as Casa Pikler, Faculty Petto and Down Fundation. We strongly support the promotion of women and diversity, accompanied, for example, by the French Embassy to promote the equality and with the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum. So, more than sixty activities each year at the Casa de México! In addition to everything we did in the rest of the country!
Saying good-bye to the city
Thousands of people have seen us on our social networks and this year, it has been our regular means of communication and expression; guiding our community in sanitary measures and promoting cultural activities, such as our much visited video on the exhibition that we presented of eleven Contemporary Hungarian Women Artists just a few weeks ago.
But for more than two hundred thousand Hungarians, perhaps the deepest trace of Mexico is the exhibition of Frida Khalo's work in the National Gallery in the summer and fall of 2018. With that image multiplied in tattoos, clothes, music, gastronomy, theater and movies I would like to say goodbye to this city and thank everyone for their love and appreciation.
Now is my time to fly back to Mexico City and return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, new challenges on the future as well as the privilege to be for a while close to my 97 years old parents. Bruno will miss the snow more than me but he will adapt, as I had made it this year, to Normafa weather where he carries me almost every morning.
My family and I have made Budapest our home and the view on the city that will accompany us on our last way to the airport and the view of the city from the air will be one of nostalgia and hope, because Budapest always passes and transforms, like the current of the river Danube that runs through it, filling it with life and emotion.
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