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Sunday 21 Jan 2018
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XpatLoop Interview: Adam Kettle-Williams, U.K. Deputy Head of Mission

XpatLoop Interview: Adam Kettle-Williams, U.K. Deputy Head of Mission

Adam was born in Portsmouth in the UK and studied languages (Spanish and Italian) at Exeter University after which he worked in translation and language training for 2 years.

He joined the Ministry of Defence in 2005 and transferred to the Foreign Office in 2007. His last job before arriving in Budapest was Head of the Northern and Central Europe Team (which included Hungary) in the Foreign Office in London.

He loves sport, and completed his 4th (and definitely final) marathon in Edinburgh at the end of May.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I arrived in Hungary in April as I was appointed Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy and I'm here until mid-November. When I saw the post advertised, it was an easy decision to submit an application.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Before joining the Foreign Office, I carried out voluntary service in Venezuela on a refuge for the ill & disabled, taught English in 3 state schools in Argentina with the British Council then taught English in a private language school in Spain. Since joining the Foreign Office I worked in our Embassy in Madrid from 2009-11 carrying out consular work.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
How beautiful Budapest is, how welcoming the people are and how difficult the language is!

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Run around Margaret Island, relax in a spa, visit the Castle district and wander through the Jewish quarter… and try as much food as they can.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
It has to be goulash!

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Fruit to make smoothies - I get the fruit from the Central Market Hall which is always great to visit because of the atmosphere and range of food on offer.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
‘Egészségére’ as I haven't worked out how to say it like a local yet.

8. What do you miss most from home?
In case they read this, I will say family and friends but I don’t seem to be lacking in visitors so far. However, I would say the atmosphere in London when the sun is out in summer time is pretty special.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
Anything involving sport or music but am aware of the slight detail of not having much talent in either.

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
I taught English and realised it wasn't for me after a year, I sold ice-cream and realised it wasn't for me after a summer and I collected rubbish and realised on day one it wasn't for me.

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
In a very small village in Andalusia in Spain where donkeys and, at times, bulls wander the streets.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
I’m going to visit Lake Balaton next weekend. I’m really looking forward to it as I’ve heard and seen so much about it.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
In terms of hobbies, it was sport, sport and then a bit more sport including football, running, cycling and swimming.

14. What can't you resist?

15. Red wine or white?
A drop or two of Hungarian red wine with steak always works.

16. Book or movie?
Movie - preferably one that makes me laugh. However I recently saw The Imitation Game and thought it was superb.

17. Morning person or night person?
Morning (although not too early!).

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Social inequality and there being such a big divide in the world between the haves and have nots. And anyone who uses the word “wicked” to mean very good.

19. Buda or Pest side?
Pest - I love being close to the action and able to walk anywhere at any time.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
I try for it to be: "what's the worst that can happen?" and try for it not to be "I can't believe I just did / said that!"