Thursday, February 9, 2012

A year ago (on 1/31 to be exact) I arrived in Budapest, Hungary, having no idea what the following four and a half months would hold! Leaving my parents at the airport in Indianapolis was scary, and I somehow avoided crying on my three flights to Hungary thinking, "okay now I'm just one flight away from home...two flights...three flights...four months...." And let's be honest, my mom probably did enough crying for the both of us after I left :)

1/31/11 - First day in Budapest...jet lagged and culture shocked.
Also paid like $6 for that Americanized coffee. Rookie mistake!

Getting to Budapest itself was a bit of an adventure. I nearly missed my flight from Frankfurt to Budapest thanks to a long line at security that was lacking typical German timeliness and efficiency. When I got to Frankfurt it was around midnight in the US and 6am in Germany. There were several other American students waiting for their flight to Hungary. They were reveling in their newfound ability to purchase alcohol by drinking beers at the gate (mind you it's 6am in Europe...), much to the consternation of the other travelers.

When I landed in Budapest, my Hungarian tandem partner was supposed to pick me up, but he ended up coming on the wrong day. I was able to catch a ride with my roommate's partner who came in her boyfriend's car. For those readers who haven't been to Europe....the cars are generally tiny. Imagine squeezing two American girls with super sized American luggage into a Hungarian sized sedan. Thanks to Gábor's problem solving skills, all four people and 200+ pounds of luggage made it in the car.

Just kidding, he didn't actually drive a Trabant!!
As I become further and further removed from my semester in Hungary I have less "Magyar moments." However, last week I was at the grocery story buying orange juice and realized the last time I bought oj was at my szupermarket in Hungary (wah wah waaaaah). Then I realized I knew exactly what brand of narancslé to buy in Hungary, but no idea which American brand I prefer. After some intense googling in English and Hungarian, I found it!!
Why doesn't Kroger carry this brand?!
While I am on the topic of orange-flavored Hungarian beverages. I would just like to put in a plug for Soproni Narancs sör (Soproni orange beer), also know as the tastiest girly beer known to mankind. This beer tastes like a mix between Sunkist & Hi-C. It's so good I had a friend who drank it with her breakfast. No joke. A big can like this was only about $1.  Best Soproni narancs memory? Drinking a can in a park along the Danube river one night with my Hungarian friend Fruzsi. It wasn't a bad part of town but a lot of Roma men (aka gypsies) were hanging out in the park. One Roma in particular who was drunk came up to us and started asking for a cigarette in Hungarian. Since Fruzsi and I were already speaking in English she pretended she didn't speak Hungarian, hoping the language barrier would be enough for him to give up and leave. The man lingered for a few minutes, still trying to bum a cigarette. Fruzsi finally told him to baszd meg (one of the handful of phrases I still remember, oops) and he finally left. I never had been bothered by Roma before so I didn't really understand why most Hungarians hate the Roma so much. After that experience and having a few more gypsies bother us, I began to understand the prejudice against the Roma.

For the record, my Hungarian hohes C orange juice was better than the Minute Maid I paid $5 for at Marsh. And if anyone brings me a few cans of Soproni Narancs from Magyarorszag I will pay you 1000 dollars forints ;) Watching the Super Bowl this year reminded me how last year the Americans were scrambling to find a bar 1) that had a channel with the game on it and 2) would stay open til 4am to watch the entire game. Magyarország hiányzol - I miss you, Hungary!



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