You don’t live abroad until someone yells at you in another language (and is mad you don’t understand)

As written in my last blog, I spent all weekend at home in bed. It was much needed and I felt like just enough of a waste of space to kind of want to go to work today. As soon as I got to work, I felt exhausted again so I guess changing time zones didn’t help me escape that Monday feeling.

Almost immediately after I finished my blog post Friday evening, my wifi went out for the night. While complaining to Mom and feeling sorry about myself, I head a beep beep beep outside my door like Judit does when she comes to pick me up. She and Janos showed up unexpectedly just as I was about to butter some bread to eat with my soup. They brought me bread, peppermint tea, peach tea, and more fresh produce than I know what to do with (if anyone has recipes for apples or potatoes that don’t require an oven, please tell me them!) I mentioned to Judit about all of the things going on back home I was sad about and they both knew I was sick so they showed up with all of those things and also dinner for me. I really just wanted to cry. After such a no good, very bad, awful week I really can’t imagine anything nicer someone could have done for me. Janos speaks as much English as I do Hungarian so Judit translated for us and he also wanted to give me lunch on Saturday as well. Janos is a good cook and I should take more pictures of what he makes but I didn’t think about it this weekend. Sunday evening, Janos and Judit showed up and gave me an ant trap and Janos also made me dinner again. I really lucked out having Judit as my contact person. I don’t hear most other CETP people having as good of help as I have, but then, most people I have talked to live in Budapest and that’s a bit different from small town life.

It seems like people either like me and want to help or hate me. One of the other teachers has a son that lives in New York and she is always very nice to me and tries to understand how I feel since she knows her son is having a hard time adjusting to a new place as well. Another teacher’s daughter lived abroad in a few different countries and her daughter reached out to me via Facebook even though she lives in Budapest now. Really, I never expected this many offers of help. If only we spoke the same language. But I seem to have offended some people as well. After being sick all weekend, I decided I’d go for a walk around my neighborhood to not be a complete lump. And in my neighborhood there are lots of dogs. This is good, dogs are good. Theres’ about 10 dogs just on my street. So I decided to do a Snapchat story of how many dogs I would see. I was so excited to take a picture of all the good boys. After I took like the fifth picture of a dog, I walked a block or so where there is a stretch of no houses and out of nowhere this lady comes running up behind me yelling in Hungarian and clearly mad about something. So I’m like sorry I don’t speak Hungarian I don’t know what you’re saying and the only word she spits out in English is “dog.” Turns out she is mad I took a picture of her dog and makes me open my phone and show her my camera roll and is majorly angry there’s no pictures there and thinks I’m tricking her. So after letting her rant in Hungarian for a minute I realize she’s not going anywhere. I show her my snapchat and she deletes two of my dog pictures and yells some more and I’m guessing what she said was don’t take anymore pictures of dogs or something like that. I was trying not to laugh at her during most of the angry yelling but still try and say a police “ok I’m sorry” but she doesn’t take my “sorry” very well and seems mad I even apologized. After complaining I said sorry for a few moments, she runs away. She was so mad the whole time she was shaking, I thought she was gonna cry. Afterwards I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. Today, I didn’t see a single dog in all the yards on my street except one and it wasn’t until 6:30. My neighbors are actually hiding their dogs from me. I’m really sad because I was so happy to see them all on my walk to school. I told Judit today and she thought that woman was crazy. Judit’s words were “some people in this world are very, very angry and you had the luck to meet one.” Yes, yes that is just the type of luck that I have. Then Judit translated for the teacher that doesn’t talk to me much and that teacher immediately showed me a picture of her dog so I think we are friends now.  Hajni (CETPs Hungarian director) called me a minute ago to ask how things were and I told her the dog story. I haven’t heard Hajni laugh this hard before. She told me she was sorry for laughing but she hasn’t ever heard of anything like this and that she would be really happy if someone took a picture of her dog. Maybe that lady was just having a bad day. Even so, I hope she isn’t the parent of one of my students. Either way, my neighbors weren’t friendly anyway so there’s no loss except I feel bad that the dogs have to be inside now. I really wonder how long they’ll keep it up for. Even the dog that runs around in the middle of the road was missing on my walk home from school. I’ve decided I probably shouldn’t claim him as mine at this point.

One of the other teachers told me that a Hungarian woman entered her apartment, yelled at her, and then switched their drying racks so I’m considering yesterday a right of passage. I guess you don’t really live in somewhere until you’ve been told off even if you can’t understand it. Joke’s on this lady: my residency permit came today so looks like I’m staying. (lady please don’t punish your dog all year because you hate me.)

Today, one coworker gave me a piece of what I thought was candy. turns out, it was ginger. This is the reason I have trust issues. Five minutes later, Judit walks in the room and the same coworker now wants me to try something orange and dried. I told Judit I didn’t want to and she says “yes, please try, it’s avocado. very good.” I really questioned everything in that moment that she told me this orange thing was avocado. After trying it, I felt much better. it was actually apricot and perfectly acceptable that it was orange.

After talking with Hajni I feel a bit better. She told me that the first two weeks of the school year are a mess everywhere. I should just look to next week to be better and try not to let the disorganization of last week and probably this week bother me too much. Hajni told me she doesn’t even understand why many things happen the first week of school as well. I feel like there’s got to be a better way (like use last year’s schedule??) but I’m just going to be quiet about this for now. She also was ready to go mama bear when I told her I was teaching PE but when I told her I didn’t mind she quickly settled down. It’s really reassuring to know that I’ve got Hajni in my corner if I do have any real problems.

Today I finally biked to the Tesco. My small town’s roads are surprisingly busy and the main road right out of town is about as busy as 22 back home. So I took the back way out of town which added an extra mile to my trip but allowed me to cross the main road fairly quickly. So I get the whole to where the Tesco is and start going into shops looking for a bike basket. After going into many stores, I finally find baskets. There’s only two types and neither look right for my bike but gosh darn it took me over an hour to find baskets I’m sure not walking away without one. I picked the one that looked like it might work and take it out of the story to hopefully get it on my bike and maybe even be able to take a bottle of wine home. But that would be way to easy and of course is not my life. I can’t get it on and have to hold it the whole way back and I felt like an idiot and was sure people were wondering why this dumb American doesn’t know that the basket goes on the bike and that’s the whole point. Oh well, at least no one yelled at me today. And after getting home it looks like the basket I chose will work if I can borrow a screwdriver from someone. I think I’ll ask Janos and not a neighbor.

I’m planning to go to Vienna and see Maria at the end of next month if her school schedule permits. I’m very excited to see her as when we said our goodbyes in May we thought it would be much longer before we’d be in the same country again. I’m also very excited to see a little bit of Austria. This weekend, I’m planning to stay home again but actually go out and see Nyiregyhaza some. It’s very nice from the small amount of it I have seen and I’m sure I could spend more than a weekend checking it out. There was also a festival there a weekend or two ago so maybe I’ll be lucky and there will be another this weekend.

I know I’m not a car person (trust me I’m really not a car person) but everyone’s cars here do not sound okay. I swear every single person should take their car the mechanic right now or just throw the whole thing out and get a new one. None of them sound like they should be able to run. I’m absolutely amazed I haven’t seen anyone broken down yet.

Saturday night I was sitting in my house and I heard things that were either fireworks or gunshots. I’m not sure what Hungary’s gun laws are but I didn’t see any fireworks outside. then a minute later, there were people outside my house and the only word I recognized was angolul(English) and I swear to this blog I thought I was going to die that night. I honestly think that a random person at the grocery store would say they like me more than my neighbors would. At least I haven’t been jumped yet. IMG_6889.JPG

Today was almost 90 degrees so of course we had a two-soup lunch day. Nothing about this makes sense to me and I have no idea how I should’ve eaten the meat. I don’t know what goes on in the minds of the people around me. As I was waiting to get my lunch today, an older man was trying to talk to me. The more I said, I’m sorry I don’t understand, the more he would talk to me. A few of the things he said were in English but mostly it was Hungarian. He was very nice and I think it’s probably a shame I couldn’t understand him as I think he was trying to welcome me. But I could hardly keep from laughing at the ridiculousness of it. Clearly you don’t understand me, clearly I don’t understand you, so why are you saying more things?? I have no idea what I told him yes or no to but I’m fairly sure he thought I was answering his questions. ugh.

Today I sat in on Judit’s class because I had to write a short bio to go in the newspaper. Imagine, I’ve only been here three weeks and I’m already going to be in the paper. that took me at least 10 years at home. But anyway, in Judit’s class she showed them a video in Hungarian and in the course of five minutes the people went from bringing in the shabbiest Christmas tree ever to pulling out an old man’s tooth in the bathroom. I haven’t got a clue what they were learning there.


I owe a big apology to Rivan because I had Nikki tell her that there were no elephants in Hungary. Imagine my surprise when I roll up to Tesco and there’s an elephant and some camels out front. It’s like the universe said “well that’s pretty unlikely but let’s make Scarlett a liar just for kicks” So here’s some camels and their elephant friend just chilling in front of the Hungarian Walmart. Let’s notice for a second that all that’s keeping the elephant there is some string. Also, Mom paid a lot of money for us to get that close to an elephant in Thailand(I was on the sidewalk and less than three feet away). Honestly, what is my life. But apparently the circus is in town. Not clear on when or where the show would be but I’m going to pass on the whole thing.


I should probably not take pictures of my neighborhood anymore but this was a few streets over and maybe they don’t hate me yet. I really liked these flowers and also wanted to highlight this: everyone has a gate. Absolutely every single house is fenced and gated in. I have no idea if this is just to keep the dogs in the yards or to keep people out. when I had the realization about all the gates tonight, I felt super lonely. It’s strange to have everyone be that private. While I was walking around, I noticed one person’s house had such a neat covering with vines over their car and I think I stared at it a second too long because I caught the owner’s eye and she didn’t look happy. I wish I knew the Hungarian for “Sorry I promise I’m not creepy your house and your flowers and your dog are just so nice.” but I think I’m a good way off being able to say that.

Also, I realized this week there’s a few people I didn’t tell that I have a new number. So please note, my number is different. If you don’t have an iPhone, Facebook is the best way to contact me as texting and calling would be way too expensive (even if it wouldn’t be for you, it would be for me!) So if I’m not texting you back, I never got it. Sorry!

So many people have told me they think I’ll be speaking Hungarian in no time and I sure hope they are right because I’m trying really hard. One coworker asked me today what Hungarian words I knew. I swear I knew a lot more yesterday and could only come up with a handful for her. I’ve really got to do better. In Todays Crash Course of Hungarian, I present to you the word kutya, which is the word for dog.


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