Xpat Interview: Linda Vadász

  • 1 Feb 2010 11:00 AM
Xpat Interview: Linda Vadász
Linda is a native New Yorker who majored in political science and minored in art history at Hunter College. She met her husband while they both worked in media in The Big Apple. She eventually combined her interest in politics and love of the arts with a career in arts administration in Massachusetts.

She has been editor of Best of Budapest, having written restaurant reviews for a number of years. She translates menus and also does copy-editing.

She curses when she has to edit Hunglish. She is always ready for a new challenge, since her life has been a serendipitous journey.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I came to live in Budapest in 1994 with my husband, Gaston, who was born and grew up here. He helped start up Juventus Radio for Metromedia International as Director of Sales and Marketing, while I helped to organize the Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts at a time when the galleries were closed in the winter and the walls were lined with fingerprints.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
I was surprised at the richness of the culture, not only in Budapest, but in other Hungarian cities, towns and the countryside. During our first year here we would pack an overnight bag and travel around the country for week-end trips. We fell in love with the architecture - from the Art Nouveau in Kecskemét to the neo-Gothic in Sopron, to the thatched roof cottages on the north side of Lake Balaton.

Of course, since I am an avid museum visitor, I was surprised to learn about the richness of the collections at the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts. I was amazed to discover some of the most obscure museums, including the Postal Museum (as distinct from the Stamp Museum), the Telephone Museum, and the Funeral Museum at the Kerepesi Cemetery.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Take the funicular up to the Castle; walk along the ramparts and admire the incredible view of Pest; visit Mattias Church. Take a soak at the Lukács Baths, pointing out Hungarian celebrities to foreign guests. Walk all around Margit Island, pointing out favourite spots, including the secluded Japanese Garden and the Children?s Petting Zoo. Go to the City Park and visit the Zoo, especially the gorgeous Elephant House with its magnificent Zsolnay ceramics and the beautiful Palm House designed by Eiffel.

Visit the Dohány Synagogue, the largest in Europe, along with the Jewish Museum. If there is time, visit two other synagogues in the neighborhood: Rumbach utca (not in use) and Kazincsky utca. Visit any number of museums, depending on interest. Go to a concert at the MUPA. If there is more time, visit our vineyard north of Lake Balaton.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Székely káposzta - a hearty one-course cold weather meal (I use the recipe in George Lang's 'The Cuisine of Hungary'.)

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Good cheese (my favorite is gorgonzola dolce), Dijon mustard, our own white wine, salad greens, lemons and limes, Worcestershire and several types of hot sauce, anchovies. Caesar salad, anyone?

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
Zúzmara. It's the frost that clings to the branches of trees, turning the landscape into a lacy winter wonderland.

8. What do you miss the most from home?
My family.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
The person who sucks out the muck from your drains (In America, it is the Roto-rooter).

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Martha's Vineyard and NYC.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Istanbul or Athens.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
The Beatles.

13. What can't you resist?
Dancing with my husband; wild mushrooms; chocolate truffles; gelato.

14. Red wine or white?
Red and white.

15. Book or movie?
Books, movies, and podcasts

16. Morning person or night person?

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
A woman's right to her reproductive freedom, which I view as a part of human rights.

18. Buda side or Pest side?
I live in Buda, but I am by nature a Pest woman.

19. What would you say is your personal motto?
Set a good example for your children.

  • How does this interview make you feel?