August 27, 2010

First Impressions of Hungary

Today marks the end of my third week in Hungary. This last week has been slow and quite peaceful. I didn't "work" this week since during the summer, there's almost no activity at the Bridge, and people are taking advantage of the last week of summer by going on holiday. Next week, school begins, and the pace will really start to pick up!

So I've spent the last week just walking around Debrecen, grocery shopping, doing laundry, reading, writing to Matt, dog-sitting for the Steiner's dog {while they were on holiday}, and working on my Hungarian. It's been lovely to have some quiet days to mentally prepare for the busy-ness ahead. During these days, I've also had a lot of time to reflect upon my first impressions and observations in Hungary:

{I took all of the photos below in the garden of the former Steiner home}

~Hungarians greet one another by "kissing" once on each cheek. It's not a real "kiss," but rather a touching of cheeks while making a soft kissing sound. This has felt rather natural to me because this same practice became a part of my daily life when I lived in France.

~Hungarian is the third most difficult language in the world to learn. So whatever amount I'm able to learn while I'm here, I will be very proud of!

~Since I "live" in the Bridge Ministries building, I'm able to use the Café kitchen as my own. However, there is no microwave, no stove, and no oven. There is a hot plate. Needless to say, I won't be able to cook much and my daily meals will be fairly basic.

~It seems that with many Hungarians, it takes some time to really get to know them and develop a strong friendship. This is similar to France. When I lived there, I became very accustomed to people coming off as rather "unfriendly" by American standards. It's purely a cultural difference; even with this I have felt very loved and welcomed from the moment I arrived here.

The last time I did any shopping in Hungary was 1998. After twelve years have passed, I was really blown away when~ I walked into stores here and saw many, many familiar and American brands. This was not the case twelve years ago. Back then, the lack of familiarity made all the items seem much more exotic to me.

~There are gypsies that live in Hungary and all over eastern Europe. It really fascinates me. At the church camp, I had a long conversation with a woman named Kinga who had taught gypsy children for many years and she shared a lot about their history and culture with me. Back in 1998, Jozsef drove us through a gypsy settlement and that picture of poverty has always remained in my mind.

~Overall, there are many things about Hungary and its culture that is mirrored in all countries throughout Europe. Since I have spent a good amount of time traveling and living in Europe, most of these things don't feel foreign to me anymore. And I can't quite make up my mind whether I like that fact or not.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Beautiful pictures, Deanne! You are quite the photographer. Did you end up getting a nice camera before you left?

I totally understand about the whole not being able to cook!! What's with the other side of the world and no ovens!? :)

Deanne, I'm so proud of you! You sure are an adventurer! Love that you had some great "you" time before it gets crazy there. And some dog time... even if it's not one of your two favorite dogs. Thinking of you bunches!!


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