Top 5 Cultural Mishaps so far…

I was reflecting today on some of the funny and not so funny things that have occurred since we’ve arrived here in Hungary. Below are some of the funny/scary things that I’ve come across as a result of living in this unique cross-cultural life situation.

1) Pay or I call the police. No need to rehash this one- just go here to hear all about it. Definitely a scary moment.

2) There was also that time that I thought that my transportation pass expired the next day when in fact it had expired the day before. I had convinced myself that I still had another day, and was planning to purchase a new one after my morning lesson. However, on the way to my lesson I got busted. I confidently whipped out my pass to show the man. And, he confidently pointed out the error of my way. I could NOT BELIEVE my stupidity. I could not explain to him what had happened. I just handed him the 6,000 forints and gave myself a good talking to all the way to my lesson. I gave myself SUCH  a good talking to that I missed my stopped and had to walk back an extra kilometer.

3) Two weeks ago my student asked me if I could explain a word to her that she’d heard on many TV shows and movies. I said, “Sure! That’s what I’m here for!” She then said, “What’s ‘douche’ mean?” “Uh… well… ” Awkward 11 year old giggle “Well…etc. etc. etc.” As you can imagine, I did NOT see that one coming!

4) When I first arrived, I hadn’t mastered the art of saying in Hungarian, “I don’t speak Hungarian.” So, for the first week or so, I’d feel out a situation when someone was speaking to me, and either say “no” or “yes”. It was working for awhile until a homeless woman came up to me and said something. I said “no” because I didn’t have any money to share. She then started yelling at me and stormed off. I was so confused. I saw her about ten minutes later, and tried to ask her what she needed. She pointed to my watch and I realized that she asked for the time! “Hey, can you tell me the time?” “No!”

5) A few weeks ago I was buying some produce at a local market. I always go to the same stand, and the salesman always tries to teach me Hungarian. After we exchanged pleasantries and I inquired about buying a pumpkin, I paid and was leaving. I didn’t quite know how to say “have a good day” so I guessed. I said, “Jo ma” which is literally “Good today”. I thought it was a brilliant guess, but he laughed OUT LOUD, not a little chuckle but a roar, in my face. He then taught me “szep napot” and I’ve never forgotten it since.

Unfortunately, I’m sure that there are many more to come!



Filed under Cultural Mishaps, Culture, Our Daily Life

5 responses to “Top 5 Cultural Mishaps so far…

  1. One of your best qualities is the way you learn, learn, learn. How like you to, instead of writing about “After Five Months How Dumb This Country Is” — to write about “Stuff I Did I Learned From.” Prediction: you are going to be successful for a very long time and maybe also a famous painter, since Michelangelo’s life motto was “Always Learning.”

  2. Cile Borders

    Hey! Hope you guys are doing well and aren’t snowed in too badly. Jonathan and Kari (Masson) are in Iowa until the end of December. J. thought it was cool that we’d met at First Med Center on your 5th day in the country. Small world!

    See you in February!

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