Day 1 in Nyirpazony

If you read the title right, one and Nyirpazony rhyme. Confused? Welcome to the last week or so of my life. I am learning that Hungarian is very difficult as almost nothing is pronounced as you, as an English speaker, think it should be. The correct pronunciation (aka what I think my contact person has been saying) is neer-pa-zone with the stress on the first syllable, as is the typical Hungarian pronunciation. My town is quite small, which I am perfectly fine with. I took a walk around it today and the slow stroll from the school to my place took only 6 minutes including stopping for pictures to put on this post along the way. I’m not quite sure if I should call my place a house or an apartment. I’m told that the lady next door to me used to live in this house with her family but since it has been renovated. I have about half the building and the other half is used for storage and soon there will be computer classes held there. The building out back used to be a carriage house. Currently the computer classes are there but soon a women will do drug and alcohol counseling out of it. They say she speaks English and I’m really hoping for that.The house has been here for over 100 years and has the original woodwork. It’s been updated so I have electricity and all of that good stuff. It really is nice and much better than what I was expecting. Currently there are people doing renovations to the property. they trimmed the rose bushes and removed some trees today. It’s a different experience to walk out the front door and not be able to see more than ‘hi’ to the five pairs of eyes that try not to stare at me curiously.

Yesterday, my contact person, Judit (pronounced You-did, I think!), came to Budapest to pick me up and took me via school van to my place. She is responsible for helping me in all aspects of life as set up by CETP. She is working on my residency and work permits, if I have to go to the doctors (which I can see from my place) I talk to her, she introduced me to many people today, and she took me to the store. Tonight, Judit and I will go to her friends house for dinner. She has been so kind to me already. Yesterday when we got to my house, she went through and tested every appliance to make sure it worked and that I knew how to use it (thank God I didn’t have to figure out the washer by myself; a friend from orientation watched Youtube videos to figure hers out). She actually didn’t know how my washer worked as it’s different from hers and went outside to find a neighbor to show me. She really is working so hard to make me comfortable and welcome and I hope that I can find an appropriate way throughout the year to thank her as her work is far from over. There will always be translating to do if nothing else. While she was checking out my place, she was confused that there was not food here ready for me. She sent out two of the men who were here to welcome me in to get food and they brought back enough for at least a week. Then one returned with dinner enough for 6 people. Today, one of the men brought me lunch enough for 2 or 3. I’m so thankful not to go hungry but soon I will run out of room in the fridge! The mayor of the town (I haven’t met him yet) gave me a bike to use. This is so nice as I thought I would need to buy one and I did not want to spend the money on something I knew I would have to leave here when I move on. I think that he also owns the house I am living in but I’m not clear on that.

Judit took today to introduce me to everyone at the school and the pre-school next to my house. The pre-school director was so friendly and she asked that I would stop by sometimes and sing English songs to the kids. They have a English teacher that comes from Nyiregyhaza (the next town over that is a decent size) and she also asked that I could talk with her and maybe work a little with the pre-school as well. I have no idea when I would do this with my school schedule as I don’t have it yet so that was simply the answer I gave her. She seemed to accept that. She showed me this salt room they have at the pre-school. I will definitely get a picture of this. This room has a few inches of salt on the floor, the walls look like Himalayan salt lamps, and there is a bench like it is a sauna. She says it’s good for your lungs and breathing and that they bring the children in there to play. She invited me to use it and I am definitely checking it out to see what it’s like. Will tell you all all about it. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing as a salt room? I would be very interested to in hearing anything anyone knows. Everyone Judit introduced me to wished me a warm welcome and asked that I let them know if I need anything. everyone wants to help and I couldn’t feel more welcome if they rolled out a red carpet. I feel like they already figuratively have. Judit tells me that they have had an English teacher for the past 7 years at least so I am still blown away at how much they care about making me feel welcome. I feel that I have big shoes to fill. We talked with the PE teacher for a while and had some interesting conversation. More to come on that on a later post. I am going to a PE class and will tell all about it then. I met the teachers who will be teaching the grammar sections for the kids that I will be working with. They all seem very nice and know English decently well from my short conversations with them. I’m excited for my job to start and have a purpose other than being the talk of a small town but I am also very nervous. I don’t know anything about teaching and lesson planning is starting to feel overwhelming as I near the end of my teaching certificate. I am realizing more and more how much teachers do and if any of the teachers or professors I’ve had over the years are reading this, I would just like you to know how much more I appreciate you and your work now. Thank You.

Guys. Going to basically the Hungarian version of Walmart by myself was just a whole thing. Going shopping by myself deserves its own blog post but I’ll say a few things about it for now. I think the stores is called Tesco (can’t remember but looks right from Google) and it is like a Walmart/ mall/ target combined. It has many more little shops in the front than Walmart has and also nicer clothing, more like target’s selection but I didn’t really look so maybe better quality. But I cannot figure out how they have it organized! Clothing is in a clear section and then that’s it. Some things are grouped together like at home: the dishes and hygiene products and things. The cold aisles are mixed in with the room temperature aisles and I swear there were the same products in multiple aisles and I just couldn’t find anything. I gave up looking for something specific and wondered up and down aisles until I found what I was searching for. And when I was trying to decide if something was what I was looking for I couldn’t tell because it was all Hungarian. I hope what I bought was makeup remover. Maybe it was face wash. I don’t know. I guess I will find out when I use it tonight. I was surprised to find avocados in the store; they only had four. Quite a change from home but at least they were there! And my fear of there not being any Mexican food here has calmed. They have queso in the same jars as home. I’m so relieved. In the city, I was spending $10 a day or less on food. Yesterday, I bought a lesson planning book and flashcards in addition to lunch and after todays trip to Tesco I want to vomit and never spend money again. It’s funny because at home, yesterdays $30 on books would be nothing; just the price to fill up my gas tank. But here it seems like so much. The perks of living somewhere nearly everything is cheap!

Included is pictures of my home. I have a kitchen, bathroom, entry-way, and bedroom. the bedroom is very big, maybe even bigger than mine at home. The wardrobe is huge and fits even all of my clothes with extra space! What. A. Miracle. I also included pictures of around town. some houses that seemed typical to me. my school and the only church in my town as well as the information sign in front of it.

There are about 4 small shops in my town. 1. the cigarette and alcohol store. I went in today to buy a bottle of wine and had the store worker very frazzled as I spoke English. She wanted to see my ID to check my age and she became more frazzled with every word from there. She was even on the phone calling a friend to talk English with me. Poor woman. I hope she remembers me for next time as it’s the only place with wine in town. 2. The store Judit’s friend Janos owns. He has fresh pastries that come in from a town over every day and many small things. I plan to go to him for things like soap and basic things like yogurts and pastas. I didn’t get to see the other two while they were open today but one sells fresh produce and I’m not sure about the other yet. I’m really unsure why the farmers market type one was closed. The sign said the hours were until 8:00 tonight but clearly no one was around. maybe tomorrow I can see what’s there. They are all easily within walking distance and I’m very happy about this.

random things:

The sign I attached to the post: I think it means children at play? maybe school zone as the school is on that block? I’m not sure. Pets are common here. many people have dogs; some have cats. Equestrian sports are quite common although I haven’t seen anyone owning their own horses yet. I bought some socks today. I have no idea if they are my size, or one size fits all, or one size fits no one. Everyone is very curious as to why I come to Hungary. Judit and I start to share a small smile when someone asks that but she dutifully translates every time and I give my answer again. She really is so patient and she must be exhausted from how much thinking in English she is having to do. Everyone is self-conscious about their English and either apologizes for how bad it is or just doesn’t use it. Everyone that tries does very well and I appreciate even a word or two. This makes me want to work on my Hungarian as quickly as possible as everyone seems happy with Köszönöm (thank you).


Today I think I saw a 5 year old smoking a cigarette. Taxi and bus drivers smoke while they are working. Apparently everyone smokes. Judit says its an expensive habit here. All of the packs have gruesome pictures on them that should deter one from smoking according to my fellow CETPers. I haven’t seen one yet but I’ll take a picture when I do. Hungarians are pessimists as a result of their history. They were under communist rule for years and invaded often. They prefer to think of the ways something good go wrong and be pleasantly surprised when things go right. Everyone told me that they wouldn’t smile much; everyone Judit introduces me to is friendly and smiling but everyone I say hi to on the street says hi back without a smile. Hungarians have two boundaries; friend or stranger and I very much feel the stranger part. It seem very common to have a garden and when there is not space for one, flower pots. nearly everyone in the neighbor has flowers one way or another at their house.

My currently list of Hungarian words: thank you, hi, bye, my name is Scarlett, and I’m struggling with nice to meet you. I hope this grows quickly but I think it will actually be a slow and painful process. I hear a word that sounds like ‘egen’ very often. it’s in nearly every conversation which confuses me so much about what it could be. I should know what it was, as we talked about it in orientation, but of course I don’t remember.


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