Keith and I are picking up to move to Pécs, Hungary for one year. He has never been to Europe and the furthest east I've been is Switzerland.... Our Hungarian language skills are...well, we know some phrases. Come follow us on our adventure!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bus Blunders

There are three levels of city buses...brand new, about 15-20 years old, and pre-Communist era (okay, maybe not that old...but still...)

Anyways, last week I was crammed onto the 1 Bus on my way to work. It was one of the OLD buses--so rickety and crammed with so many people, I thought it was going to fall apart...anyways, I hit the button to indicate that I desire to get off at the next stop...instead, the bus stops immediately, people start yelling...I said, "Nem beszlék!" (I don't speak!)

I hit the emergency stop button..

But it was the only button there--and it was in the same spot as the buttons I hit on the other bus to indicated I want to get off the bus AT THE NEXT STOP.

Since this incident, I have been terrified to hit any buttons on the bus. I've been riding around hoping like hell that someone else wants to get off the bus where I do too. For the most part, this has worked out in my favor, but I have done some extra walking in the morning...

Last night, I saw a woman touch the light above the door...Hypothesis: really old buses have the button above the door, unlike the newer buses. This morning I tested my hypothesis...and it worked. :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hungarian Hatha Yoga (Joga)

This evening Eszti and I went to yoga--it was absolutely phenomenal...even though Eszti had to translate pretty much everything for me before and after the class.

In preparation for the class, I learned some body parts. This is my favorite:

Head: fej
Leg: láb
foot: lábfej (leg-head)

I also like the word for lungs: tüdö

Whilst in class, I learned "baba pose" (not sure on spelling) which is child's pose what and "lélegzik" which means "breathe"--I thought just gik (based on what I heard) was breathe, but I looked it up for its proper spelling and discovered I was missing two other syllables. :-)

With vocabulary and interactions, I often feel like a 2 year old in the mind of an adult

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I bought this small bottle of pálinka for two reasons:

1. It is called "Meggy Pálinka" (my namesake)
2. It was being sold at this really cute stand and the woman was helping me with my Hungarian

Really, "meg" is in what feels like every single Hungarian word. This billboard is ALL over Pécs...it's "Meglett" the Piglet version of me...obviously (actually, I don't know what this ad is for)

One aspect I love about Hungary is that most people let me try to speak Hungarian--when I've been in Spain or other places, as soon as someone realizes I speak English--they switch to English. Here people let me and help me stumble through the Hungarian language--and are patient and super helpful...thank you, Hungarian people :)

Today Keith and I stumbled upon a market in one of the main plazas of Pécs. There were people selling and showing their trades/crafts (wood working, yarn dying, wine making, pálinka, different foods, etc)

Yarn dying

Guy making a bowl....and I still don't know how to rotate video...

Hungarian Choir

Monday, September 6, 2010

Caterpillars, playdough, and biting

Today, my students and I worked on the days of the week. This morning I taught them the days of the week (to the tune of "Oh, my Darling Clementine")

There are seven days there are seven days
There are seven days in a week

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Thursday Friday Saturday...

and so on...we add a number to the calendar (like today is the 6th, we added the number 6). And then we count from the first of the month to today's date. To go along with this theme, we read "The Hungry Caterpillar" (one of my favorite books)

Somewhere in this mix, one of my students bit me--I bled. From what it sounds like, this is some sort of "initiation" for everyone at my kindergarten.

Whenever I think my students are being mean to each other (or to me), it's rather difficult to know because they all speak Hungarian and my Hungarian is rather, well, limited to say the least. (I'm teaching them English--full on immersion). Between this fact and being kicked, pinched, hit, and bit today....I was feeling rather discouraged.

The lovely Bea (Bay-aa), another English teacher, suggested that tomorrow we make caterpillars in arts&crafts time to go along with the story. When I got home I decided that we are going to color two pears for our caterpillar.

FACT: I drew these pears (I am very proud)

We will color the pears, cut them out and create our caterpillars. I hope 5 year olds have the motor skills to do such things...I mean, they do okay cutting playdough (no idea why this is entertaining to them, but cool) so hopefully these skills transfer.

The finished product will look something similar to this...

...hopefully there are no accidents or intentional accidents...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Venn Diagram

I've been living in Pécs now for two weeks and have made some "snap judgments" about Hungary and learned a few cultural differences and similarities.

**Like with EVERYTHING, blanket statements do NOT hold true to everyone...these are just things that I've noticed**

Hungarians love gelato:

There are gelato stands and cafés EVERYWHERE and it seems that no matter what time of day it is, there are people in Pécs eating fagyi (faw-dyee--ice cream). In the U.S. there are images of a hamburger and soda with an X through them to indicate no food or drink in that location. On stores in Hungary there are pictures of an ice cream cone with three scoops of ice cream with a big X across it to indicate that you must finish your ice cream before perusing their merchandise.

When it comes to food and drink...the word "nem" (no) does not exist:

In the U.S., when someone says, "Oh, no thank you, I'm full/I've had enough," for the most part we leave it at that...taking her for her word. This isn't the case in Hungary...there seems to be a banter back and forth...I say no thank you, my host says, oh come on, you must, and some more back and forth until I give in and say, "Okay, yes, I will have some more." When really from the beginning, I always wanted more.

When with friends, as soon as I finish my glass of wine, someone is filling it again, whether I want them to or not...out of politeness, I finish that glass too--it's not even on the table yet when someone is pouring more wine into it...I've since learned that if I want to truly indicate that I am finished drinking, I have to leave a half a glass.

The same is true with Pálinka (Pálinka falls somewhere in the mix of fruit brandy and moonshine)

Meg & Keith after some pálinka.

One of our Hungarian friends, shared a story of being in the U.S. He was at a pub with a bunch of people and a guy offered to buy a round of shots, our friend declined expecting the Hungarian banter...instead the American said, "Okay" and bought shots for everyone else. Our Hungarian friend was rather pissed.

The definition of a "Douche Bag" is cross-cultural:

Whilst out with some of our totally awesome new friends we discovered that the definition of a douche bag is cross cultural.
Leaning against the bar was this dude with his white shirt unbuttoned to his bellybutton, chest slightly pushed out, drink in hand, white scarf around his neck, and "nonchalantly" watching the crowd.
Keith points to the dude at the bar and whispers, "What a douche," assuming he would have to explain the slang...not the case. Everyone laughed and made fun of the dude at the bar who seemed to be trying too hard. The slang might be different, the idea of this dude being a total tool is universal.

Our awesome friends who appreciated Keith's comment: Ákos, Orsi, and Edina. We met them on the bus ride from the airport to Pécs on our very first day in Hungary.