Yugoslavia was a Southwest multi-cultural country in Europe with variety of different cultures, mostly slavic nations and Hungarians, who were mostly living in Vojvodina.
Vojvodina is an Autonomous Province of Serbia that was detached from Hungary after the World War I in 1920, and become the part of Yugoslavia populated with Serbs.So all the Hungarians that lived in that area become Yugoslavian citizens, staying Hungarian in their soul and heart.
I was born and spent my first decade in Novi Sad, which is the capital city of Vojvodina. Both of my parents came from Hungarian families, proud of their traditions and culture. I grew up speaking two languages, had friends from multiple nationalities and started elementary school in a small Hungarian community. Everybody that was important in my life was close to me. We had family Sunday lunches, long summers with friends by the Danube River and big vacations by the Adriatic Sea. Life was good…
You probably heard about the Yugoslavian War, which changed our whole family’s life. In 1992 when things got worse, my dad had to make a very hard decision that changed our dreams and future forever. We left our home and family and immigrated to Hungary to start everything over.
I quickly made new friends, started a new school and tried to fit in. I was just ten, but I have a lot of emotions buried in my heart. Secrets, sadness, fear, hope… We thought for a long time that one day we would go back. We often went back to visit, and I remember crying with my sister in the back of the car while watching grandma disappear in the horizon.
I lost my childhood friends, but new relationships were blooming on the other side of the border. I saw my hometown quickly change year after year. Bombed buildings and bridges, new houses, streets, different people, poverty. Each time we would go visit, we felt less home… We wanted to go back to Hungary. And that was the moment we realized, we will never go back, this is our new home.
We found our new home in a small town called Szombathely, close to the Austrian border. The transition was difficult, but in the end everything turned out just fine. We made a ton of friends, my parents started a business and my brother was born. Few years later we become Hungarian citizens. Because after all, Hungary is where we belonged.