Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beautiful Budapest

When it comes to my job I'm either complaining about it or not discussing it all. Most of the time when asked about how it's going I just say, "fine" or "don't ask." In addition to this year being a big one for me personally with the launch of The Last Bridge I am also embroiled in the planning and execution of two of the largest software initiatives a technology department can do in a law firm. We are changing our email and document management systems. There is not a lot to recommend about working on these projects except, it is steady work (albeit consuming and stressful) and it is a global migration which means we do get to make visits to our offices in some of the most beautiful places in the world.

This is what brought me to Budapest the weekend after my birthday. Donna, a friend and member of our project team was there for three weeks to assist with that office's migration. I spent a long weekend with her which included a day trip to Vienna as my birthday present.

Vienna was beautiful, with winding streets with hidden courtyards with large wooden doors welcoming visitors into quaint squares hugged by ancient buildings. We walked through the Hofburg Imperial Palace which, among many things, begged the question, "Just how many place settings does a head of state need?" Exhausted, we made it to the Sacher hotel to have a coffee and share a slice of their famous Sacher Torte.

On the train ride back we got confused about our stop in Budapest and implored a very handsome young Hungarian man to help us, not only did he speak English and understand our mangled pronunciation of Hungarian but he made sure we got off at the right stop. (Did I mention how cute he was?)

Vienna was lovely but a little sterile for my tastes. Budapest is a city with soul. From the lovely walkable streets, to the trolleys, boats, subways and buses that run efficiently (although figuring the transit fare system was a little tricky) to the bridges connecting Buda with Pest and the mighty Danube that made it all possible. It didn't hurt that the weather was spectacular and the people were friendly and proud of their city, their culture and their heritage. I went thinking it would be another place I could check off my list and left wanting to go back and wondering if it would be possible to live there for a time.

So next time you ask me how work is, remind me that in spite of all the stress, pressure and unreasonable expectations, my job has given me many wonderful opportunities. Budapest being one of them.

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