Country of Origin : Hungary
Occupation : Director of Hungarian Technology Center
Years in China : 13 years
My China story starts in 2007 in Hungary, where I was teaching international political economy at the Corvinus University of Budapest, and researching public economic policy issues in a think-tank. I was in a relationship for 4 years, I owned a small flat and a car, and lived in a nice environment with my beloved in the green Buda side of the capital city. So I had an ongoing academic career, close to finishing my PhD at the International Relations program, and had what we can call a normal life.
我的中国故事还要从 2007 年的匈牙利讲起，当时我在布达佩斯的科维努斯大学教授国际政治经济学，还在一个智库研究公共经济政策问题。当时我正在谈一段维持四年的感情，拥有一套小公寓和一辆小车，和我的女友住在树木繁茂的布达城区。我正在进行学术研究，即将取得国际关系博士学位，过着正常的生活。
A year before, I had started to work on China-related topics, researching mainly Hungarian-Chinese relations and China related issues in Hungary. But I had never visited China, didn’t speak the language, didn’t know the culture too much, only some part of the history, and contemporary relations. An idea came to me about visiting China to learn the language and culture, so I searched for funds and applied for several scholarships, but I only got refusal. Later I got support from the think-tank boss. He agreed that if I went to China to learn the language, I could work remotely for their foundation and could finance myself in this way. So, I decided to travel to China for a year, and enrolled in a language program in Shenzhen University.
I asked for one year leave at the university, changed my status at the foundation research team to online researcher, and travelled to Shenzhen in September 2008. When I arrived, I only could say ni hao, so everything was new and strange. I lived in the campus for a year, learnt the language with enthusiasm, started a blog to keep in touch with my family and friends, and slowly started to know Shenzhen, my new home, better. My plan was to study the language as much as I could, and after a year, travel back to Hungary and continue the old life I had left there.
我向学校请了一年的假，把我在基金会研究小组的身份改为线上研究员。我于2008 年 9 月来到深圳。刚到深圳时，我只会说“你好”，一切都很新鲜和陌生。我在学校里住了一年，满怀激情地学习汉语。我还开通了博客，与家人和朋友保持联系。我也慢慢熟悉深圳，我的新家。我计划是尽力学习汉语，一年后再回到匈牙利，回到以前的生活。
I got used to the new circumstances very quickly, and studied hard. For the winter break I travelled back home to meet my family and to make an end to my previous relationship. After a time, I realized that I could not go on in that relationship, and we agreed to finish that journey together. Then I travelled back to Shenzhen, now as a single man, and continued my studies.In the spring time another call came: extending my stay in China for another year, joining the team of the China High Tech Fair (CHTF) organizing committee and becoming responsible for the Hungarian-Chinese relations and technology cooperation. It also meant to give up my academic career and at least delay my PhD thesis issues. The decision was not easy, but I chose to make a big turn in my life. Soon after this my online research work ended too, so I was related to only my limited salary in Shenzhen and savings for the next year.
After a year at the CHTF I faced another challenge, how to go on. Go back to Hungary, and start a new life there? Staying in Shenzhen and finding a new job? Joining one of the teams of English teachers, and seeing how can I survive? Or applying to be a university teacher teaching economics again? There were channels for these, but finally I didn’t choose any of them. I joined a small consultancy company to be the project manager of the international trade section, handling the export-import between China and Hungary, being the contact person for the Hungarian partners. Before I was teaching international economics theory, but now I was on the field, the connection point between sellers and buyers, checking exchange rates, delivery fees, handling failures and upset customers, and so on.
在 CHTF 工作一年后，我面临另一个问题，那就是我将何去何从。回到匈牙利，开始新的生活？留在深圳，找一份新的工作？找一份英语老师的工作，看我能否胜任？或者再申请当大学老师，教经济学？这些都是谋生之道，但我都没有选择任何一条。我进入了一家小型咨询公司，担任国际贸易部的项目经理，处理中国和匈牙利之间的进出口，是匈牙利合作伙伴的联系人。以前我是教国际经济理论的，但我现在开始实践，成为买卖双方的中间人，检查汇率、交货费，处理失败的交易，平息烦躁的客户等等。
The owner and director of the small company was a Uighur Chinese guy, who had lived and studied in Hungary before, could speak the language perfectly, and also worked as an interpreter. He became my mentor, although in the beginning he didn’t think our relationship would be so long. He offered me a temporary job to try, with a lower salary, until I could find something better for myself. But after three months of work in his team he came to me one day and said that I didn’t need to go on searching for a new job, he wanted me there permanently. So, we became colleagues, he became my boss, and slowly became friends too. How to do the business in China – I learnt all the mysteries from him. Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we were upset and had some struggles, but went through the stages we had to.
He gave me free hand and many suggestions, but didn’t direct me on a daily basis, let me learn and grow by myself. When I had questions I asked, or when I had suggestions on how to do it better or differently, I suggested, and we grew together. He gave me better and better conditions and I was working harder and harder. Later, I also helped him a lot in his attempts to do technology transfer between the two countries, but we didn’t have too much success, the positive parts came mainly from the trading.
I got initiations not just to the business, but also to the business culture in China. If you want to do good business here, then it’s not enough to have meetings and agreements, but also dinners and lunches, drinking wine and baijiu, representing your company and country, and many more. I took the obstacles and challenges and later was made partner in the company. I also started my own business line, selling Hungarian wines in China, and helped out in many projects, many times worked hard at the evenings and weekends too. After a while I realized that in a way, I was doing the same as before in Hungary: I worked more and more, my relationships were not as deep as could be, many of them quite superficial, and I was not happy, just pretending to be. Although the business went well, I had some savings again, and everything seemed ok, actually I didn’t feel I was on the right track. I felt something is missing, but couldn’t recognize what exactly.
Some bigger business issues came, what were clear signs of the fragility of this whole system we built up. We lost some money here and there, some customers didn’t take responsibility for their decisions and didn’t pay back their part, then later my partner found himself in a bigger financial trouble that he couldn’t solve. So, in 2017 I was in a situation again to decide between quitting and leaving everything behind, moving back to Hungary with a bitter taste in my mouth and acknowledging that it’s over or staying and persevering. I didn’t get rich, didn’t redeem the business and wine world in China, so I could start all over again in Hungary.
Eventually, I decided not to quit. Instead, I did everything for standing up, saving what I had and keeping alive what I can, giving hope and salary also to my colleagues. Until this moment I was a kind of second man behind the boss, and if something happened the boss protected me and the business too, but now the boss had disappeared and I had to grow up in a fast rhythm, making big decisions, setting up directions, and being fully responsible for myself and for my colleagues’ decisions, mistakes too. Needed to take on conflicts, talk to some business partners hardly and firmly, and giving up some connections too.
Besides, this was the year when I first visited Chiang Mai, and participated in an esoteric tantric yoga retreat, and got to know my current yoga teachers and the whole community in Asia. I joined their online courses, and when I had time and chance I visited them in Thailand, to dive deeper in this fantastic world of tantric yoga. After this first retreat, I decided to start practicing these teachings on a daily basis. I had practiced yoga before, but not consistently, and not with good directions, so it was a huge step for me to do this one hour per day, without missing a day. Fortunately, I got a massive support for this big change in my life from my new spiritual family.
When I started my spiritual journey with Mahasiddha yoga school, I weighed 88kg. Back then, I didn’t do any daily practice on a daily basis, I was drinking alcohol several days a week, was eating meat almost on a daily basis, didn’t pay too much attention to my diet, and my consciousness level of my everyday life was very low, limited to surviving.
我在玛哈悉达瑜伽学校开始我的精神之旅时，我有 88 公斤，每天都不做任何日常练习，每周都会喝几次酒，几乎每天都在吃肉，对我的饮食没有太多关注，对日常生活没有追求，“活着”就行。当然，我还假装我很享受生活。
With these new practices and concepts, my life started to change radically. Still, I felt that this change was too slow, and sometimes didn’t feel any change at all, but looking back to these last 3-4 years I can see the transformation clearly. On one hand, I started to do more and more practice daily, change my time from ordinary, meaningless things to spiritual practice. I started to participate in spiritual challenges, with the very clear target to grow and transform. On the other hand, I started to leave behind some bad habits, changed my diet, reduced my alcohol intake, and introduced new good habits. The result was stunning both physically and mentally. I lost 13-15kg in two years, and could keep this level in a long term, without any problem. I levelled up my practice to 2-3 hours, later more, and changed my priorities in the daily life: put the spiritual practice at front, and the business as second.
学习了这些新的瑜伽动作和理念后，我的生活开始发生根本性的变化。我仍然觉得这种变化太慢了，有时根本感觉不到任何变化，但回顾过去这三四年，我可以清楚地看到这种转变。一方面，我每天做越来越多的瑜伽，不再做普通的、无意义的事情，而是做精神上的练习。开始参加灵修挑战赛，目标非常明确，就是为了成长和转变。另一方面，我开始抛弃一些坏习惯，改变饮食习惯，少喝酒，培养好习惯。身体上和精神上都发生了惊人的转变。我在两年内减掉了 13-15 公斤，能长期保持这样的减重速度，没有任何问题。我每天瑜伽时间增加到 2-3 小时，循序渐进，把精神练习放在第一位，而把事业放在第二位。
I got and still get many supports and help from my teachers, from my classmates, from my girlfriend, Nicole, who is also a yoga practitioner and certified teacher, and from my assistant, Nancy, who is not just supporting my business steps, but also a good friend. I cannot say enough thanks to all of them, and those many more friends I met and got many kinds of support in the last 13 years. All this journey is full of ups and downs, and I couldn’t be here without them. New friendships and brotherhood are formed to fight with my real enemy, that finally I found: it is myself. It is my monkey mind, with whom I am fighting on a daily basis, with more or less success. This is the ultimate fight, to learn to silence the mind, control the ego, learn to be selfless and humble, and value all the relationships and feedbacks as teachers in life.
我从我的老师和同学还有我的女朋友 Nicole（她也是一个瑜伽练习者和教师）、助手 Nancy（她不仅是我业务上的助手，也是我的好朋友）身上得到了许多支持和帮助。我感谢他们所有人，也感谢过去 13 年中我遇到的朋友，我得到了各种支持，感激之情难以言表。这段旅程充满了坎坷，没有他们我就不能走到这里。结交朋友是为了与真正的敌人作斗争，我最终发现：敌人就是我自己。我心里存在一只为所欲为的猴子，每天都在与之斗争，多少取得了成功。这是一场决斗，要学会让头脑冷静下来，学会自我控制，学会无私和谦逊，珍惜各种关系，把它们当作生活中的老师。祝愿各位都能找到自己此生的目标，以热情和爱来实现这个的目标!
作者：Szabolcs Szajp 翻译：潘泽彬
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