December 14, 2010

A Few Things About Life in Hungary

Here's our church family... can you find me?

I've been here in Hungary for about four and a half months now, so I'm well past the initial observation stage. I won't pretend I'm an expert on Hungarian life and culture, but I have certainly learned a lot.

Here's what I can share with you about life in Hungary:

~Almost all wedding rings/bands are just a singular, gold band with no diamonds.

~It's against the law to talk on cell phones whilst driving, but almost everyone does it. All the cars here are manual and therefore if you're holding your cell phone to your ear, you have to let go of the steering wheel completely to shift gears. I've even seen the bus drivers talking on cell phones. Yikes.

~The old stereotype of European women being hairy and smelly couldn't be further from the truth. I've seen and admired so many classy elderly ladies on the bus and around Debrecen. They're so well-put together and elegant.

~The Christmas tradition here in Hungary is that St. Nicholas comes on the 6th of December, "Santa Day." It is instead Baby Jesus who puts the presents under the tree on Christmas Day.

~EVERYONE has a cell phone and everyone has a Facebook account. Some students even list Facebook as one of their hobbies.

~The Playboy Bunny logo is sold on merchandise in shops marketed towards little girls. I'm serious. I absolutely cannot figure this one out.

~Two items commonly added as a pizza topping: corn and ketchup. I'm not a fan. At all.

~What we call "crosswalks" in the US are called "zebras" here.

~This is more of an EU-thing, but you have to bring your own bags to grocery stores. Otherwise you have to pay for each plastic bag you need.

~Hungarian high school graduation ceremonies are held in November, not at the end of the school year. These ceremonies include several performances by the graduating seniors--often traditional Hungarian folk dance in traditional dress.

~Hungarians aren't the most punctual of people. Starting times of scheduled events are really more of a suggestion.

~Despite the Hungarian diet being rich in bread, meat, cheese, and lots of fat in general, most Hungarians aren't really overweight. The women especially maintain slender physiques.

Many other things I could write about lifestyle differences pertain more to European life in general than Hungarian life. My list for differences between American lifestyles and European lifestyles would be long and detailed, indeed!

I think my Hungarian is coming along quite well. I really understand a lot of daily conversations and feel much more comfortable speaking in Hungarian. The most frustrating part is that I can understand so much more than I can speak. That is what I really need to focus on, increasing my speaking abilities.

Being here in Hungary feels so normal now. Yet it feels strange--the normalcy. I know, that doesn't make any sense. It's hard to put into words. I'm living this life I've created for myself here, far away from all my loved ones, and to be living life daily without Matt feels surreal. It's a wonderful life here, but still feels off in a way, because such a huge part of me is missing.

Speaking of Matt...yesterday was exactly five years ago that Matt and I met. A day that changed my life forever in all the best ways possible.

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