- 21 Aug 2018 1:21 PM
In addition to her mother tongue Albanian she speaks three foreign languages and is struggling to get some familiarity with the Hungarian language, which seems to be quite a task!
1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I arrived in Hungary in March 2017 as the World Health Organization Representative and Head of the Country Office.
2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Yes, my previous assignment was in Uzbekistan and Turkey before that.
3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
Hungary is already famous of its rich cultural heritage but before starting to live here I would have never imagined how diverse, intensive and fulfilling that is. It is so unique to be able to select, nearly every day, top quality performances of artists from all over the world, in all art categories, both mainstream and experimental art, everywhere in Budapest and not only.
4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
They should explore Budapest by roaming through its streets. Of course the main landmarks are a must see (and one finds them in every tourist guide), but one never gets the real Budapest spirit unless one mingles with the locals, goes through the small streets plenty of cafes, small art galleries, vintage bookstores, antique shops, cinemas, music clubs and parks. This is the only way to feel the full extent to which Budapest is a vibrant and generous city.
5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
All gulyas dumpling plates. And, aubergine based meals of course.
6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Hungarian Paprika. Uniquely flavored and unlike anywhere else.
7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
8. What do you miss the most from home?
The sea. Danube and Balaton make up handsomely; I, however miss being able to swim in deep waters, salty enough to help you float peacefully with the current.
9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
Being a chef. I am pretty traditional in my cooking habits, selecting dishes from my mother and grandmothers; I believe cooking is a wonderful way to bring people together and make them happy with good food, good company and loyal friendship.
10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Never thought of that. I believe every job is an experience from which one learns how to go through life.
11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
In my homecountry.
12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Travelling a bit here and there, but am reserving a good chunk of my holidays time to my home town again. When one lives the expat life, it is crucial to return to your roots so that all the important relationships one has spent a lifetime of forging are not wasted with the passage of time.
13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
I was an avid reader as a teen, and went through pretty eclectic selections which I think prepared me for accepting diversity. 'The Diplomat' by James Aldridge had a very profound effect on me. I learned a lot about people whose particular stories one did not randomly encounter in the history books at the time. Little did I know that decades later, the same region would remain so actual and so much at the heart of so many world dynamics.
14. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
La Traviata. Invariably brings tears to my eyes.
15. Red wine or white?
16. Book or movie?
17. Morning person or night person?
18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Inequities and marginalization as the cause of the youth of today missing the potential for personal development and for being part of societal progress.
19. Buda side or Pest side?
Pest. Full of people, events, stories.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
There is nothing one cannot learn from. Observe and absorb, transform and adjust: this is how one remains interested in and engaged with the world.