July 22-25, 2012
It was nearly four years ago when I was last in Hungary and over the past few years dreams have come true. Over the past four years we've had 4 Hungarians in our program along with a sibling and a friend who used their big brother's connections to make it over to the USA. Of all of the nationalities that have represented 1 Dream, no one has done it in the classroom like the Hungarians. Intelligent, hard working and committed are the traits that all of these young men have and the reason that they will all be so successful.
On day 2 I reunited with the Lakosz family whose son Zsolt was a 1 Dreamer in Year #1... he currently is attending college in Hungary and playing in the professional league. I also had the opportunity to see his younger brother Akos, who just finished his freshman year at Salisbury University in the USA... another great family!
I arrived in Budapest around 11pm after the two hour flight from Amsterdam. The Vrana family, Charlie (father) and Mundi (son) were there to meet me with open arms. Their oldest son, Ziggy, who just graduated from Woodberry Forest (Virginia) this past June was home sleeping in preparation for his 6:30am driving lesson. We made the 45 minute drive back to their home in Kecskemet and of course I was greeted with the celebratory shot of Palinka which burns like a nice shot of Diesel fuel. We managed to stay up to about 1:30am before the day caught up to all of us and we called it a night.
Morning was met with a huge feast of Hungarian treats, meats, cheeses, breads and veggies to start the day. I was in a food coma by 10am and lounging around the pool was the ideal cure. This proved to be the theme of the next three days... eat a lot, lounge around the pool, eat some more and catch up with a great family.
Our final day was spent checking out the sights of Budapest. Truly one of Europe's most magnificent cities, the tourists were everywhere and our "locals" knowledge came in handy more than once.
Back to Ziggy... Ziggy came to the USA as a sophomore and attended one of the top boarding schools in the nation, Woodberry Forest. He left, three years later possessing a 4.5 GPA, scored 5's on all 4 AP tests he took, scored around 2200 on the SAT and received a huge scholarship to TUFTS University in Boston. He truly did make his dream come true and he's not done yet.
His younger brother Mundi... going to be a junior this fall is hopefully next... He's even smarter...so he says!
When 1 Dream started 6 years ago we knew there would be challenges. Tons of people devoted time, energy and money to give kids from around the world the opportunity to change their lives. It's so incredibly fulfilling when you see a kid who has taken advantage of everything that has been offered to him and so focused on being the best that he can be. Congrats to Ziggy Vrana and his entire family for a job well done... but the journey continues this September at Tufts.
Thanks for the great memories to all my Hungarian friends and thank you TEAM USA for making it worth while to stay up until 1:30am to watch you defeat Spain... even if all of the Vrana's fell asleep (except for Uncle Frank).
Back to Amsterdam I go for 12 hours and then on to Barcelona. Adios!