Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Workers are moving around outside. It’s unclear what they’re doing. Walking from here to there, staring through windows, opening doors, smoking cigarettes, talking, waiting.

I’m trying to teach myself some Hungarian. It’s difficult. My tongue still stumbles over the ö, ó, ú, ü, but I’m starting to remember the first words. My first word is “apa”. Father. Is it a coincidence that this word is one of the first words my Hungarian language course presents to teach people like me the pronounciation of the a-sound? Or are they trying to put this language, this culture, this country under my skin?
Of course, officialy I’m not in Hungary but this part of Slovakia used to belong to Hungary. Or to be precise: the whole of Slovakia was once part of the big Hungarian Empire. Just like Transsylvania, Croatia, Roethenia (Ukrain) and Burgenland. After the First World War Hungary had to give up two third of its territory. Half of the Hungarian citizens “moved” to one of the neighbouring countries while in fact they didn’t move a single step.

This morning a man wearing a hat peeped into our bedroom. Our bedroom is what the map calls storage, but we changed that name into bedroom, so we can use it to sleep. During the day we call it studio, so Albert can work there. It is adjacent to the space where the big boiler for the whole building is situated and where at night the sea seems to hide itself. The hatted man entered the boiler room and took out my grandmother’s grandmother’s furnace. Or at least it looked like it. It was time to get up.


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