The Christmas Suitcase Tradition

The Gundel restaurant in Terminal 2 of the Budapest Airport. The newly remodeled terminal is very nice! (click to see larger)My second Christmas just passed since I’ve been employed in Hungary, and I was again lucky enough to spend it at home.  That statement is a little misleading, though, because it also means that I was unlucky enough to spend about a million hours on airplanes during the holiday season (that’s not an exaggeration, the plane had a little countdown clock telling me all about it).  What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to be crammed into a metal tube with hundreds of your closest friends 35,000 feet above the frozen Earth?

As usual, I managed to find a positive side to this travel problem.  We all know that I love traditions.  Not only do I love learning about old ones, but I also like to be a part of the creation of new ones.  That’s why I was excited to have this tradition continue for a second year in a row:

“Flying home from Europe for Christmas, my suitcase will get lost and arrive at least one day later than me.”

Hooray!  Thanks Santa, it’s what I always wanted!

Dropping my level of sarcasm, it was actually better than last year.  That year, ticket prices allowed for me to arrive home on December 24th, Christmas Eve.  It was later than I wanted, but just in time to give my family their presents the next morning.  I was very proud of the fact that I had miraculously finished all of my shopping in time, and I couldn’t wait for them to see it.

Then, my friends at a certain airline neglected to transfer my bag from one airplane to another, so it got to spend Christmas in London.  I hope it liked the fish and chips because my family received their gifts late.  The 26th is just as good as any other day to get presents, right?

I was finally given some snow in Budapest - the day before I left to go home. (click to see larger)This time I got home very, very late on December 22nd.  It was perfect timing because I knew it would allow time for my bag to arrive if, in the extremely unlikely scenario, it got lost again.

Well, it must’ve taken a wrong turn.  Maybe there was a local sporting event to watch or a new restaurant that it wanted to try out, because it decided to spend the night in Atlanta.

Fortunately for my family, and unfortunately for me, it arrived on the evening of December 23rd.  Now I was expected to wrap all of those presents within 24 hours.  Not a task that I wanted to do with my an extreme case of time zone confusion.

The most ironic part was the end of the trip.  My Hungarian girlfriend went with me, and her suitcase made it just fine – on the way there, that is.  She returned to find an empty carousel at the Budapest airport.  Mine, however, was there.

I guess it is a Christmas tradition.  You’re suitcase gets lost on the way home.

 There's nothing better than being home for the holidays. (click to see larger)

Hungarian word of the day:


Pronounced Burr (like when you’re cold) and ind or und (kind of).  This means suitcase.  A very useful word if you’re planning on flying to Hungary and need to know what to say if the airlines manage to lose it for you.