Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saint Stephen's Weekend in BP

There were several guests at dinner Friday night, and I met some local guys my age, who were quite stunned when one of the guests began to speak Hungarian to the crowd. One leaned over in the middle of the man's speech, to ask if I understood anything. When I said I'd understood a bit, he responded that I was the only one! :-o !!

I understood most of what this speech guy was talking about, but when the guys asked me what he had said, I couldn't remember enough to retell it after the fact. :-/

After talking to this guy and his friend over the course of dinner, the friend told me that I know the (Hungarian) grammar really well, and that despite a few mistakes, he wasn't expecting to hear my accent when I speak. :-)
Guy Number 1 studies medicine at the medical university here, could tell I'm foreign, but couldn't tell if I was English or not. :-p

Oh, and something that really bothers me! If I ask them to repeat something, they'll say it

ugh! I can follow you, just don't speak so fast!! Sheesh!

I also met an Israeli girl at dinner. Or maybe she's Hungarian. I have no idea. But her Hungarian was *really* hard to understand! I think she must be Hungarian, but since she lives and teaches in Jerusalem, and therefore speaks Hebrew, maybe her Hungarian has taken on a Hebrew accent? (Like last summer when my Romanian professor told me that I had a Hungarian accent when I spoke Romanian [which I was totally unaware of])...
Or maybe it's the other way around? Maybe, that's not right. Why would an Israeli, who lives and teaches in Jerusalem, be fluent in Hungarian? She must be Hungarian, and speak Hebrew because of where she lives, and that in turn influences her Hungarian... Maybe my Linguistics friends can shed some light on this...

Oh, and the speech guy. He had a Yiddish accent in Hungarian. Maybe that's why the guys, or everyone?, had a difficult time understanding him. Or maybe it was how he put sentences together? Although, when he was talking, I made mental notes on his mistakes, but didn't want to correct him, since there were *more* than enough locals to do that (and who did [at least in the beginning])!


Saturday morning I was up and out around 10 and after 15 minutes, who do I run into but a friend from the conference! He was going to a book shop and we caught up a bit, talking about the politics of studying certain areas of the world, and then parted ways as he went to meet his wife and I headed for the synagogue.

Lunch at the synagogue was jaw-dropping! There was this older guy there, who turned out to be not only from CA, but the area I'm from, has lived there 20 years, and his grandson graduated high school 4 years ago, at a high school across town from me!! Who woulda' thought! He asked where my parents live, and when I named the cities, he nodded like a local would! :-) This guy and his wife spend 6 months here, and then are in Palm Springs for the other half of the year. He left Hungary in 1956 after the Revolution
(, when he was 8, and he chatted with a visiting rabbi who was also at lunch; over - and I mean this in the nicest way possible - who among their relatives were sent to which concentration camp: Dachau, Mauthausen, and Auschwitz. The rabbi's relatives to Germany, this guy's to Austria, and relatives of his, outside the capital, to Poland, and how anyone sick (or diabetic) was immediately sent to the gas chamber.

The guy gave me his card and told me to get in touch, saying how I'd have to meet his wife. They're leaving sometime in October to go back to California (CA), and are here visiting his wife's parents, who live in the old part of Buda, also known as Obuda (literally Old Buda). Since he was headed to the rabbi's for lunch today, I'll e-mail him tomorrow. I had lunch with a few people at the synagogue, which consisted of bread, hummus, baba ganoush, egg salad, corn/cucumber salad, and cholent! :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Budapest Jewish Quarter

Hi, so I recently received a friend request on Facebook and accepted, but I haven't updated this blog in about a year. So, I was in Glasgow all of last year, and am now in Budapest.

I've been renting a room in the Jewish quarter. The hostel I found online had 12 beds to a room, and the lockers didn't have locks, so since I didn't want to risk anything since I have everything with me for school and this conference, I decided to look elsewhere for the week's accommodaton. Since I was here a month ago, and found it easy to navigate around the Jewish quarter, I used that as a starting point/home base. I remembered the pizza store ladies, but the store was closed on Sunday. I went down the block to one of the restaurants and explained the situation I was in, to the waiter that's always there. He remembered me from last time and was able to help. He also remembered that I don't speak Hebrew, which was nice. The main lady who's there isn't the friendliest, but maybe that was because the restaurant that day was pretty full!

The main lady made a phone call and I waited an hour or so for the guy to come over to the restaurant. Since I was there, I got soup for dinner: meat soup with vegetables and pasta, which was pretty good. While I waited for my soup, an older couple came in, followed by a French family, and then a group of people who could have only been there on an arranged date: a young couple and their parents, trying to see if this would be the day their child would have a successful shidduch! I passed this last group when I went to wash my hands, and on the way back to my table, neither young person looked pleased with the situation they were in.

The older couple: the wife, was fairly rude to the waiter in the way that she asked for a menu. No, not the menu, but the paperwork that says the type of kosher food supervision and which rabbi oversees that supervision. She was married and wearing a wig that seems to be a bit too young for her, style-wise.

Then this lone older lady comes in and sits down at the table next to me. The main lady came over and they started chatting. I don't know if the older one, or both, are matchmakers, but from what they were talking about, they sure could have been! First they were talking about this English guy, -- well, this guy -- who studied in Manchester, in England, and then they switched to some girl's Sheva Brachos. I don't know if they were trying to set up the sister of the girl who got married, with the guy from Manchester, but it was an interesting conversation, nonetheless! At least what I could understand...

Then the guy who was going to show me the room I'm staying in, showed up. We spoke English on the phone, and then I said hello and such to him in Hungarian. Well, the main lady just LOVED this (<--sarcasm). She's like, "She's American but doesn't want to speak English...?" and threw her hands up, glancing at the other lady and the guy, who didn't seem to mind whatever language we spoke.

I really don't like Hungarians who do this. Just like I don't like Hungarians who repeat back to me in English whatever I've just said/asked them in Hungarian. Fortunately, that hasn't happned too much yet, and I hope it won't become a habit.

PS: I have limited internet so I might not be back til the 9th.