Robert Miklós Babirad, Educator & English Teacher, Author of 'Love in Budapest'

  • 9 Jun 2022 10:08 AM
Robert Miklós Babirad, Educator & English Teacher, Author of 'Love in Budapest'
Robert has written for numerous publications including The Oxford Mail in the UK, the National Council of Teachers of English’s “English Journal,” Tiny Buddha, The Mindful Word, Addicted 2 Success, and New York Newsday, and many more.

He holds a Masters in European Union Law from King’s College London (awarded with Merit), a Juris Doctorate, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) in English and Secondary English Education.

His work has been featured in The Budapest Times, The Topeka Capital Journal,, Dan’s Papers: This Is The Hamptons, and on Mike Siegel’s (HGTV and TBS) Travel Tales Podcast, and more.

He is the author of the nonfiction memoir “In-Transit Passenger: Making the Journey Matter,” “A Westhampton Beach Christmas,” and the upcoming novel, “Love in Budapest.”

He is passionate about travel, history, culture, reading, languages, and the arts.

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

I came to Hungary in 2014 on business and also to visit Hungary for the first time.Additionally, that trip was my father’s first return to Hungary after having left in the 1970s during the Communist Era.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

I have not been an expatriate elsewhere as of yet.

3.  Where did you grow up?

I grew up in New York.

4.  If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

I would probably say Italy or somewhere in the Carribean.  I have also always been interested in the rich culture and history of South America including Colombia, Brazil, Panama etc., so it’s really difficult to say. 

5. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?

I miss the rich cultural options, the food, and the quality of life that is present in Hungary the most.  Hungary is also a place that is intellectually stimulating.  There is always something to excite and interest the mind and senses and that’s not always the case in other places.

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

I would definitely say the New York Kávéház with its great food and ornate architecture.  The Parliament Building is an essential stop as well, and maybe the Holy Right hand of St. Stephen at Szent István-bazilika.  That in itself is something that is so unique to Budapest. 

I’d probably say a trip over to Margit-sziget would be something that they should see and do also.  It’s a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy great drinks, food, and conversation with friends during the day and well into the evening under the stars in a beautiful and relaxed setting.

7. What is your favourite food?

I always enjoy a lángos if I’m on the go or want something that is satisfying, but relatively quick.  Otherwise, I enjoy great seafood, steaks etc.  Of course, all of the wonderful Hungarian kolbasz is also always a favorite with me, especially when paired with a nice Soproni or other Hungarian sört, or even with a glass of Pálinka.

8. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?

I like hiking and swimming generally, but I’m pretty open to all forms of exercise depending on the season.

9. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

There are so many great Hungarian words and expressions that are not available or the same in English.

“Több is veszett Mohácsnál” is such a great phrase, because it really helps with keeping things in perspective on a challenging day.

I also like “hiányérzet” just because it captures something or a sensation about something else that really cannot be otherwise described with words.

10. What is your favourite place in Hungary?

Budapest is wonderful, but there are so many small villages that have a wonderful atmosphere to them.  For me, Lenti is one place that comes to mind.  Szeged is also such a beautiful city to see and to spend time in.  Of course, Lake Balaton is also always wonderful for a nice relaxing day outside, swimming and just enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings.

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

I would love to pursue a career as an ambassador or diplomat.

12. What’s a job you would definitely never want?

I would never want to be an accountant or a lawyer.  I have no mathematical ability, so being an accountant just seems like something that would never work for me.  Having trained and qualified as a lawyer, I can speak from experience that it’s a job I would never want to continue within.

13. Where did you spend your last vacation?

My last vacation I spent in Colombia and Panama.

14. Where do you hope to spend your next one?

Maybe the Maldives or the Seychelles.  Those are places I’ve always wanted to visit.

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

That’s a difficult question, because there were so many.  I liked a lot of the various Nineties groups as a teen. Biggie Smalls and Snoop Dogg were great too.  There were occassions when that was the only correct music listening choice. 

Britney, Backstreet Boys, and all of those artists were a big part of my teens.  And who can’t identify with Christina Aguilera and the whole Genie in a Bottle thing at times?  All good music. I also always enjoyed travel, reading, and writing even at that time in my life. 

Cinema Paradiso was a movie shown to me as a teen that had a profound effect on my life, so that’s one film that definitely comes to mind.  Of course, I also enjoyed Van Wilder, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a lot of the other comedic movies that were in theaters at that time.

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

I cannot resist the temptation to go sailing or to travel.  I love the open ocean and travel, so those are two experiences I can never refuse.

17. Red wine or white?

Usually white wine.  I can drink red if I feel like throwing caution to the wind on a particular evening.  However, if I’m playing it safe and worried about a headache in the morning, I’d say white wine.

18. Book or movie?

Definitely a book.  I love reading.  A movie has to really interest me in order for me to sit through it.

19. Morning person or night person?

I like the morning.  However, great conversation and a wonderful atmosphere can just as easily turn me into a night person.

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

I feel very strongly that all people should be entitled to quality healthcare and decent economic opportunities, which afford them a sustainable standard of living. 

I think there are such unbelievable imbalances in our society, and although the politicans talk a good game, at the end of the day I see very little real progress coming to the average person.

21. Buda or Pest side?

I’m a classy guy, so for me it’s Buda.  That’s not to say that Pest isn’t classy, because there’s so much that I love about Pest as well.  I would just say that I like the romantic architecture in Buda and the peace of the Buda Hills overall.  I also feel a little more in touch with the historic Eszterházy heritage when I’m in Buda, and as a result, feel just a touch more aristocratic then when I’m in Pest.

22. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?

I’m very pleased with the achievement of having written a book entitled Love in Budapest.  Although the story itself is fictional, it connects with and is based upon so many of my experiences and unforgettable moments that I was able to live out in Budapest.

23. What would you say is your personal motto? 

There are so many great quotations that I would say are personal mottos of mine. 

However, my personal motto is definitely a belief that we have to keep going and striving for the things we want in life, even when so many people, time and time again, shut the door on us, tell us we’re not qualified, or employ some other subterfuge against us in an attempt to keep us from our dreams or goals.

I have also always liked Winston Churchill’s quotation: Never, never, never give in!

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