Lauren Smith, English Tutor In Budapest

  • 1 Jan 2021 12:20 PM
Lauren Smith, English Tutor In Budapest
I've been living in Budapest since February 2015 and until very recently was working in the tourism industry. I came here with a total blank slate of almost zero knowledge about the country so have enjoyed learning about its history and culture, as well as meeting many fascinating people.

I felt like Budapest was my home very soon, and am happy to report that I still feel that way and don't see myself leaving anytime soon.

Covid has put only a small spanner in the works, but I hope life can return to some sense of normalcy soon so we don't all go crazy! 

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?

I first came here in February 2015 as part of the European Voluntary Service. I spent 6 months living and working in Szentendre, where I quickly realised I loved Budapest and wanted to settle here. In December 2015 I moved back again properly, alone!   

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

Unless Scotland counts then no! I studied my MA in Sociology & Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, which is a beautiful city.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?

How proud the people are to be Hungarian- they don't want to be considered European, or as any other part of any geographical area, they are Hungarian through and through. I have come to understand more of this as I've learned about their rich history and culture.  

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 

Well it's lockdown right now so we are limited! I live near the Duna, so I would take them for a walk there for sure, and perhaps to Margit Sziget. I would grab a coffee from Madal Cafe as they are still doing take away and drink as we walk along the river. 

In pre-covid times: I would have to include Szimpla purely because Brits are always totally blown away by it. I don't think the UK would ever allow it with our strict health and safety regulations! I tend to take friends during the day so they can check out all the artwork and crazy themes on the walls. Otherwise I do a general tour of the Basilica, Fisherman's Bastion, St Stephens Church, Parlament and the Duna. I'll go to whichever restaurant has taken my fancy at that time and I usually tend to go to a Hungarian one so they get a good taste of local dishes.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?

Rakott krumpli és somlói galuska! Mindkettő nagyon, nagyon finom!  

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?

1.5% milk for my English tea of course.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

My favourite words are: kicsit kíváncsi babcsíra! I realised I love the "cs" sound, and now can joke that I'll write a kids book about The Curious Little Bean Sprout! 

8. What do you miss most from home? 

English tea (but I get my mum to post me the good stuff!), mince pies at Christmas time, and probably the full English breakfast which I didn't even have often but now I miss them. My family dog, a chocolate lab called Guiness.  And I should probably say friends and family right?! 

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

When I was a child, I always wanted to be an author. I love creative writing and try to write for fun when I get the chance. I would also love to work with animals in any capacity. 

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
I don't think I could handle being a bartender. I've been a waitress and hated it, so I can't imagine the stress of being at a bar surrounded by drunk people shouting orders at you and trying to keep track of it all! Plus the late hours would destroy me. 

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
I went to Poland in February- Krakow, Zakopane and Warsaw to be precise. I met an American friend there who basically wrote the itinerary. It was fantastic and I would definitely return! Gotta love the perogies!  

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?

It would be GREAT to see my family over Christmas in England! I have flights booked and fingers crossed they aren't cancelled again. Other than that, I would love a hot, relaxing beach holiday. 

13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?

Chocolate. In any form. If you have chocolate in your house, I will find it, and I will eat it. No apologies. 

14. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?

My favourite band as a young girl was obviously Spice Girls, as I was perfectly in their target audience. I met Ginger Spice out shopping in a nearby town once! I couldn't speak, I was so starstruck, so she came up to me with a team of bodyguards and offered me a signature. 

15. Red wine or white?

Sweet white wine like tokaji please! Or mulled red.  

16. Book or movie?

Ooooh that's a real toughie. I want to say book, as I love reading and I'm always the person watching films commenting "Oh it's not like that in the book!"  but I love movies too. So both, depending on my mood.

17. Morning person or night person?

Gosh neither. Lunchtime person?  

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?

Equality in every possible way. Stop treating people based on their gender, skin colour, sexuality, political preference etc. If someone is an ass, treat them like an ass. Otherwise don't. It should be so simple. I also feel extremely passionately about the mistreatment of animals and wish we could have harsher punishments in place for those who hurt animals.

19. Buda or Pest side?

I used to live in Obuda and now live in Pest and I certainly prefer life here. In Obuda I felt like I lived so far away from life, and some friends even refused to visit me as it was "too far away". Now in Pest, everything I could ever need is only a few minutes walk and I feel much more involved. I don't even mind the tram going down my street, I've acclimatised to it's soothing noise. 

20. What would you say is your personal motto? 

"Cross that bridge when you come to it". Because so many of us overthink something before it's even happened, which is such a waste of energy and time.  

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