Xpat Interview 2: David B. Cornstein, Former U.S. Ambassador To Hungary

  • 22 Oct 2019 3:05 PM
Xpat Interview 2: David B. Cornstein, Former U.S. Ambassador To Hungary
1. What's been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview? 

Click here to read his first interview

I’m proud of how much I’ve been able to accomplish here since arriving.  My wife and I have seen more of this beautiful country, shared it with visiting family and friends.  On work, I think my team and I have been able to work closely together with the Hungarian government in ways that bring our two countries together.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you with your life in Hungary, and why? 
What’s not to love - delicious food, world class talents, amazing history; but I haven’t been able to see as much of the countryside as I’d like.  So, I’d say a 9, just because I have more I want to do.  A 10 would mean I was done.

3. What's the best party you've been to while in Hungary, and why? 
I’m immensely proud of our Fourth of July party - good company, good music, and a great way to celebrate our two countries’ friendship.

4. What's your favourite drink? 
Hungarian wine is delicious!

5. What hidden talents do you have? 
At 81, very little about my life is hidden!

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
My wife and I just had the incredible good fortune to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary together, in Florence.

7. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for? 
I’ve had a very lucky life - there isn’t much that I could wish for.  That being said, good health is the most important thing to any older person! 

8. What's the last book you read, and movie you watched? 
I just finished a biography of Warren Buffett.  The week before the Oscars, my wife and I sit down together and watch all the films nominated for best picture.

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be? 
A Little Mazel Never Hurts

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?  
The simpler, the better.  Thin slice, New York style! Folded in half, with cheese and tomato, and maybe pepperoni. 

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?  
No one!  I couldn’t be happier with the wonderful life I’ve had.

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why? 
10!  It’s very unusual to begin a new career at the age of 80, which was when I became the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary.

13. What's the best website you've ever visited, and why? 
I don’t look at websites - I’m of a different generation.

14. Who do you admire the most, and why? 
My father - he taught me so much about being a person of character, about working hard, about taking on challenges.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary? 
The beauty, the culture, the food, the people - it’s lovely here.  It is sometimes hard to be away from loved ones, but we’ve had many come to visit.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why? 
My father was someone I deeply respected and loved; my mother was so loving and kind; my wife is my life’s partner; my son; my amazing grandson - they’ve all had an impact in different ways. 

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
I would donate it, do more to help people and causes that I believe in.

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be? 
I’d have two.  The first, New York New York of course!  An oldie but goodie.  The second, For Once In My Life, the song that my wife and I danced to at our wedding fifty years ago.

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? 
New York.

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing? 
I hope to be enjoying the best life has to offer, surrounded by family and friends, exploring more of the beauty of the world.

MTI Photo: Kovács Tamás

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