Lot’s of people ask me where I came up with this idea or if I am Magdalena, so I thought I would write a more personal story starting with her. This story obviously starts, way before I was even born. It starts over 60 years ago when my grandfather rebelled against the Soviets during the Hungarian revolution. My grandfather had to flee the country for these actions to avoid prison and likely death when my father was an infant. He would eventually leave this world never again having set foot on Hungarian soil. My father didn’t meet his father until he and my mother fled Hungary themselves when they were in their late 20s. And my grandma Magda never saw him again.
This was clearly during a time of flux in Hungary and my grandmother had two children to take care of and no way to do so. A few years later, she met her husband who was an entrepreneur. (I don’t know the whole story here). They had a few small businesses, which was a big deal during communist times. One of these businesses was a kurtoskalacs shop at a market. These markets are still very popular in Europe. People go to separate stores for bread, cheese, meat and veggies and the markets have most of these in one spot, so it’s convenient for people to do their shopping here. Especially in small towns like where they lived. When people shopped, they of course wanted food to eat there, so their stand was very successful in the 60s. The smell wafting from their shop probably didn’t hurt either.
So fast forward a couple years to my father and mother meeting at a furniture store they both worked at. My father had lived in East Germany for a few years, which was a bit better off than Hungary at the time. He wanted a better life for himself and his family. His father was just across the border in Austria, where it was “free”, and they decided to try to go. For those who don’t know how communism works, this was highly illegal and my dad was in the military at the time, so getting caught or coming back was not an option. Even friends and family who knew could be punished if they didn’t “tell on them”. I guess bravery runs in the family, my grandfather escaping, my grandmother starting a business, and my dad deciding to flee and taking my mom with him.
During this time there were organized trips to the “outside world” for people who could afford it, so my parents saved up and went on a ski trip to Austria. They strayed from the group and headed to meet my dad’s half-brother and their father. I am not sure of the details here, either, I will have to ask. But long story short, they ended up in a refugee camp for two years. At these camps, you didn’t get to pick which country you were sent off to. Friends went to America, Canada and some even to Australia. They wanted to stay in Austria since it was close to their family in Hungary, and of course my dad’s family who he never really met before this lived there, so they had some ties. Before google, they thought if they had a baby in the country, they would be able to stay, so alas, here I am, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. A couple months after I was born they were sent to Canada. With no money, no ties to the country, no way of communicating and a small room guaranteed to them for three months my parents somehow made it work. but as you can imagine, it wasn’t easy.
This is another part of the inspiration of the business. My parents gave up everything for their family to have a better life and opportunities to do things they didn’t have the chance to do. One of the reasons I starting Magdalena’s was to one day be able to give something back to my parents. Either in the form of a retirement business or monetarily. I feel super fortunate to now be an American citizen, in the situation I am in, and am a firm believer in the abundance mindset. I suppose everyone could say this about themselves, but without the events that transpired over 50 years ago, or even 35 years ago, I definitely would be living a much different life. Feel free to reach out and ask questions, I know a bit more but I didn’t want to bore you all with tiny details!