This past month was the longest amount of time I’ve spent in the US since I moved to Taiwan over 4 years ago. And, it’s been the longest amount of time I’ve spent in New York since I finished grad school back in 2007. It’s strange how your mind can get accustomed to places. I say this because as I was just standing on my balcony, I reached into my pocket and found a coin. I immediately pulled it out to take a look at the odd sized coin only to realize that it was a 200HUF coin… Oh yeah, I flew into Budapest last night.
Arriving in the Budapest last night it felt like the city was moving in slow motion. Walking down the Korut towards my apartment I saw the tram slowly rocking back and forth as it eased towards the river. I saw families and friends eating, laughing, and watching the soccer match outdoors. I love Budapest, it fits me better than New York.
But, I’ve realized something in the last 12 hours. For me, Europe seems like life on easy mode. New York is hard, it’s a city that will try to kill you, it will take any plans you’ve made and turn them upside down, it will wear you out, confound you, and intimidate you. But like a game played on hard mode, or like competing against a masterful opponent, if and when victory comes it seems sweeter, the skills acquired are sharper, and the rewards higher. It all depends on what kind of person you are, and what you value in life. Personally, I don’t think it’s a place for me. Today, I’m much more comfortable on a Budapest side street, a Moroccan alleyway, or a Thai beach. Will I ever be happy with such a easy life. I seem destined to complicate things. Hell, I left a place that gave me a week of paid vacation every 6 weeks for CEU. What’s wrong with me.
I can see the allure of the big city. It called to me once also. I think a lot of valuable lessons can be learned from it. There is no reason not to take advantage of all the city has to offer when you know you’ve only committed to a month of the beast. I think we all did.
This has been the fastest seeming month since I arrived at CEU. After all the classes, exams, and studying I’ve done, I think I learned more this month about the way business is actually conducted than I have all year.
I think most inspiring to me this week was the Brooklyn Grange. To me this is what business and entrepreneurship is all about. Big, Audacious, ideas, dirty hands, and figuring it on the fly. I loved the attitudes the people involved seemed to have. They knew they were flying in the face of conventional wisdom, of logic, of almost everything we’ve been taught by business academics. But, they were making it work, making money, and I have no doubt that they will not only change the marketplace, but they will cause people to rethink the way’s cities operate and the way buildings are formed. These are the kinds of ideas that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and motivate me to work harder.
New York is filled with people who are taking the big chance on crazy ideas. Budapestians doesn’t seem to bother with the big gamble. Where I go next and what I do there, I know I’ve got to take a chance.