Diary

Memorable programs, memorable people

26 October 2018 - 30 October 2018

Among Hungarians, in America

Although we are an ocean apart, Hungarian is understood in a lot of places in America, too. They can sing our most beautiful folk songs in a clear voice, they take pride in our national costume and their stuffed cabbage is just as delicious as that cooked at home. Moreover, they are intimately familiar with our history, as if they were not living near an ocean lined with palm trees. János and I attended events commemorating 1956 in three venues in Florida: in Miami, Naples and Sarasota. In the latter town, my husband’s welcoming words opened the fiftieth conference of the Hungarian Medical Association of America. This organisation – similar to others – was established as a tribute to the network of friendships forged among Hungarians. The shared origin nurtures unity and not just among medical doctors. In Florida, we met an enthusiastic folkdance ensemble, the closely knit community of Hungarian Houses, as well as large congregations. They were all proud to be Hungarian. We experienced the same in New York, where we ended our journey to America with an uplifting event of cultural history in the company of Placido Domingo. In the Lincoln Center, artists of the Hungarian Opera performed Bánk Bán, for the first time in the history of the opera outside of Europe. “Only the great hope has kept me alive / During a lot of trouble and grief / That my holy homeland and legendary name / Be immaculate…”, rang this time in Manhattan too, what is probably the best known Hungarian aria.