Have I ever told you about the person who was responsible for my adventures in the United States? The one who gave me one of the most wonderful gifts in my life?
You would probably know him as Paul Kellner, but we used to call him Pali bácsi.
He and his family support seven Hungarian students every single year with a one-year scholarship to the United States. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us, and definitely a life-changing experience for all.
And you know what the most wonderful thing is about this scholarship?
It took a lot of paperwork, all kinds of references and records, a language exams and an interview - but when we got to the final meeting with the Kellners, they still didn't know who we were, not really. They chose us for an incredible adventure, and they barely knew what kind of people we were. I remember sitting there, very very nervous, and them asking me why I wanted to go to the USA... I told them about storytelling, which was a new thing for me back then, a dream that was still vague and fresh, and because I myself couldn't really make sense of it, I told them a story instead. One of my very fist tellings in English.
(Do you know the tale of The Three Dolls? That's the one.)
And so begun the journey of the Multicolored Lady. The rest is history.
I still can't believe it. I have been back home since then, and back in the US again, and now back home once more, and I still can't wrap my idea around the fact that someone would just read my records, and talk to me for a while, and then spend that amount of money on sending me to the US. For a whole year, filled to the last day with new friends, stories, adventures, and all kinds of wonderful things. They bet their own reputation on how we'd fare in a strange country, a strange culture. I spent the whole year trying to make them very proud of me. Or at least not disappointed.
It is a rare thing nowadays to meet people who believe in you that much. So when I say 'gift', I don't only mean the scholarship itself - I mean that incredible amount of trust they showed towards each and every one of us they chose. It makes my head spin, just thinking about it.
So here is my advice to you: notice the people in your life who truly believe in you. Treasure them. Whether or not they support you financially, respect them, and treasure them, and remember them. They will change your life forever.
And when it is your turn, be brave enough to believe in others. It is the best way to repay their trust.
I didn't expect having to write another post of this kind so soon after Blue's. But here it is, and I and grateful and proud that I was able to write it. It means I knew someone very special in my life.
Rest in Peace, Pali bácsi.