While we were planning this interview, the first Indonesian-Hungarian pocket dictionary has been issued, what she had written in addition to work and her family, she had been able to dream and create. She is an absolutely amazing woman for sure. I try to introduce her fairytale.
I am holding the ball which symbolizes your life, and I am not sure which line should I start with, because all of them are very interesting. We have to tell our readers that we have known each other for a long time, exactly since you were 3 years old. I can see a blond, talkative little girl with two pony tales – she smiles – her smile is exactly the same as back then.
F.G: I would be so interested that, that little girl with the two pony tales, who was so talkative, always smiling, what did she dream of, what did you want to be? Because I am sure that living in Bali and having your own travelling and wedding organiser agency wasn’t on your list. Don’t even speak about the Indonesian – Hungarian pocket dictionary.
A.N: Thank you for your kind words, Gabi. It was heartwarming to read…
Since primary school I was thinking on the biological and ancient history line: I would have loved to be a (marine) biologist or archaeologist, and I also had in my mind to become a pathologist. My poor dad still doesn’t understand, how did I get this interest mainly for bones and mummies. Those years I spent in Budapest, I started to be interested in the wedding organisation, and I used the opportunity of the event organiser course, organised by the university. I didn’t know then, that I will deal with this later on.
F.G: I would like to know, how did you choose that major you had the degree in? Many people apply admission to one of the major in ELTE, but how come, that someone will choose Indology, that’s very rare. I didn’t even know that this major exists in education in our little home country.
A.N: Until the last moment I was getting ready to apply for admission for biology, but then, I marked the English – Assyriology major of the ELTE. Although I got into biology as well, I ended up here. It would have been Indology, but that only one year they didn’t start that major. So I was looking for something else instead, what isn’t so popular, and with lots of ancient history- it became Assyriology. We learned a lot of interesting things, the Assyriology only takes one and a half major, because it’s covering the whole ancient Mesopotamia. I mostly enjoyed the biblical Hebrew and the Old Testament reading lessons, I think this is where comes from, that later I finished the Biblical study major specialized training at one of the theological colleges. Next to all of this, I couldn’t miss the bioanthropology program in ELTE, so actually, without finishing a biology major, I got the knowledge I wanted on the human osteology area. It was really a bit of this and a bit of that at the university, as is a typical character of me nowadays.
F.G: At the university, you grabbed all the opportunities you had, and the colourful culture enchanted you. Asia infected you so much, that you didn’t stop until Bali, how did you get to Bali?
A.N: Since primary school, I have been attracted to Asia and Africa. At the Dasy magazine once I saw an article about Panni Somi and the Indian bharatanatyam dance. It amazed me. As soon as I moved to the capital city, I started to dance at hers.
I was already learning for a year with Panni Somi when accidentally saw an Indonesian dance course advertisement. I never knew anything about it, I thought I have a look. It was love at first sight, so I was learning both dances in a parallel for a year.
Later I had to choose, I preferred the Indonesian one. Thanks for this I got to Bali with the Indonesian government scholarship. I was applying for Balinese dance major at the art of collage but ended up at the teacher trainer university Indonesian language major. I developed my dance knowledge in the framework of private lessons, so everything was happening the best way they could. I fell in love with the language also, what determined my walk of life later.
F.G: You had a lot of knowledge from this culture, the gods island store colours and landscape what fits in a story for the visitors. What impressed you that, that much, that you told to yourself I can’t believe it, that this exists?
A.N: To be honest I never knew anything about Bali when I got here… so everything was fully new and impressive. I grew up watching NatGeo and David Attenborough’s shows- indescribable experience to live in an environment, what I only saw in documentaries before.
The fancy architecture, a lot of colourful-fragrant ceremonies, the smiles and placidity… freedom. It was a positive cultural shock.
F.G: If I know right, you spent 3 semesters in Bali with a scholarship. Did you decide already, that you will definitely live there, or did you let to happen what will happen and grab the opening opportunities?
A.N: Correct, I studied three semesters there. I spent the first year at the teacher trainer university, where I studied the Indonesian language and culture. The third semester, I spent in the Island’s best university, on the Indonesian language major.
At home, I specialized in the English language, so it wasn’t a question, that I will write my diploma comparing the Indonesian language. The third semester was about collecting knowledge as well. This one and a half year was an emotional roller coaster, I definitely wanted to come back for the long term.
First of all, I was thinking of the language doctoral programme, then “randomly” I got a job in Bali in a travel agency. This is how moving to Bali got solved, I didn’t even wait for my graduation I flew to Bali.
F.G: Would you tell us, how did you meet your husband? We can’t say that’s a usual storey neither.
A.N.: That’s for sure. Let me continue with the last sentence: After the third day I had arrived I had a motorcycle accident. I spent 2 months in a wheelchair, then one month crutching, then 7 months of physiotherapy followed. For the therapy, my workplace drivers took, about one and a half hours drive, so we had plenty of time to talk. My husband, Anto is one of them, the lots of time we spent together brought us close to each other.
F.G.: What do you believe in; accidents or destiny, that nothing happens without a reason?
A.N.: Nothing happens without a reason.
F.G.: If we are talking about faith, which religion stands closer to you? The Christian what is the one that you brought with you from home, or the one what you got known through your husband, and your studies? Can it be mixed, or can you practice both at the same time?
A.N.: Well this is a complex question, it is hard to answer. I grew up as a Catholic, my husband is Muslim, and we are living in a Hindu environment. We celebrate very low-key, doesn’t matter if it is Christian or Islam.
From my side, Christmas and Easter are more like Hungarian traditions, than a religious holiday.
If I like we are going out with my boys for a Hindu ceremony. At the moment my youngest believes himself as Hindumuslim. He enjoys very much the Hindu praying with incense and petal.
F.G.: Has it got any tradition, what you are very grateful, that you got known through this culture, and you can’t imagine your life without, because it became the part of your life?
A.N.: To call someone with waving downwards.
F.G.: You have two beautiful sons. Which language and which culture you built their life on?
A.N.: A bit of this and a bit of that. Mixing both works for us, none of the cultures is more important, this is our own little world.
I speak in Hungarian with the boys, this is their strongest language: they speak with each other in Hungarian. Their father uses the mixture of Indonesian- Java language and they answer him on that language. My partner and I, we speak Indonesian between each other, but he knows a little bit of Hungarian, and I know a little bit of Java.
English are getting more important, because the boys are going to English-Indonesian language school and nursery, and they watch the TV in English. Next to all at the nursery, they teach basic Arabic language framed in religious education. The oldest is also learning the local language (in our case is Balinese), or they started to meet the Japanese language.
F.G.: To live in Bali, you have got the local lifestyle and culture, do you have any holiday or event, that the boys rather like as a Hungarian tradition?
A.N.: We can’t miss the Christmas and Easter traditions.
F.G.: How much is the difference between the grandparents who live in Bali and Hungary? I mean habit or tradition, that we are not experiencing in Europe?
A.N.: The kids enjoy both grandparents and family members company. It hasn’t got any conspicuous different. I especially love, that I have the same educational style with my mother in law, so I always smile to myself when I see her with her grandchildren.
F.G.: When did you get the idea of writing the Indonesian-Hungarian pocket dictionary? This is a huge task, now, that is done, was it easier, or if you knew what you get in to, you would rather never started?
A.N.: I started it a very long time ago, like around 2012-2013. Then I always put it on the side, and when I held the notes in my hand again, years passed by. It was a lot harder than I thought. It was difficult to put the pieces together, that it had to be easy to look at, and at the same time it contains the essence.
F.G.: What was the hardest: put the dictionary’s content pieces together, or find a publisher and put the finance behind? All of this while you worked and had two little children, it wouldn’t have been an easy project.
A.N.: Put the pieces together… I wrote it three times when I found the way to build it up to be the easiest to look at as I think. By the way, I published myself, now I have a little more detailed traveller dictionary form at the finish line. I never thought it will have a big interest for it…
F.G.: Did you have any help, or did you build up the dictionary’s content by yourself, or did you know someone with experience by your work?
A.N.: I have done it all by myself. I have a confident language background: I studied the Indonesian language, I did a high-level exam, also I finished an Indonesian language teacher course – I am also working as an Indonesian-Hungarian translator.
To do the lecture, the most professional person helped, Nyoman Riasa, who is the Indonesian language significant figure, also a great teacher, professional translator and interpreter.
F.G.: I think it is hard to live far away from your parents, luckily today’s technology giving us a lot of opportunities. How are you solving the visits, with two small children on a long-distance like this?
A.N.: Until now travelling wasn’t an issue, I think the boys coped with it very well. Before we could go home almost every one and a half- two years, and now this takes a little bit longer period. My mum was here for two whole years, she was a teacher at my previous workplace. My dad was here too during this time, so I can’t complain. As a matter of fact they spent less time with the Java family, than mine. With an Indonesian standard my husband’s home town is close, but still it is 8-9 hours while we get there. We always think about it, when we leave, so after the long travel, we can stay there for a week at least.
F.G.: What is missing you the most, from home, here in Bali?
A.N.: From home I miss my family and the city of Baja. My closest friends are living abroad too, so I would miss them even if I would live at home. I miss the Hungarian language too, that although I use a daily basis, but it is not the same. That’s why I started to create a Hungarian centre on this island – at the moment it is in the preparation stage, but the latest in February it will start.
-7. Picture. Anett and her husband.
F.G.: What is a matter of value, that you figured out yourself after living in Bali? What made your life better, nicer? What example, if you living at home, maybe you never realize, because you can’t experience those in Hungary?
A.N.: That, is not a point to stress on anything (of course I usually do) the “gum time”. But it is difficult just to empathise something. The perennial good weather, the lot of sunshine matters a lot, that the weekdays are more lighthearted. Like this, is easier to be balanced, than in a place with an unfriendly natural value.
F.G.: And last, what would you draw all of us attention, what we can’t experience in Hungary, or we can’t understand, what is the most important thing in life with a Hungarian-Balinese eyes?
A.N.: The people here find happiness and beauty very easily in small things too. In their believes everything is manipulated by the residence of an invisible world (gods, ghosts) so here is not really prevail the principle, that is everyone is master of their own destiny.
They accept their situation easier, they do not waste their time of stressing and worrying. They enjoy what they have, and they never forget to be grateful for that.
-8. Picture. The fruity