gypsy wanderings: my stay in Hungary I



Oh, Magyarország, as I sit down to write about you, I can't help feeling homesick. My family and I moved to Hungary in 2001 and I lived with them there for 6 years. It's among the places that I have found a permanent spot in my heart. Needless to say, I have had many adventures in that country. During the first few weeks, I had an experience that really helped defined my time there. I had learned how to take the bus to school, however, I still didn't speak much of the language. I find Hungarian beautiful and different from any of the other languages I have been in contact with, but I really believe that it's one of the hardest languages to learn. Apart from all the different sounds and extra letter to their alphabet, it has a unique grammar structure. I have heard some people say that it's similar to Finnish grammar, but, after speaking to some Fins, we have agreed that it's not at all similar. Imagine me then, I'm eleven, trying to make my way around the village. The school I attended was in Diósd and we lived in a village adjacent to it, Érd. I managed to get there, to this day it amazes me, but on the way back, it was a different story. Now, as I try to think of what went wrong, I still can't figure it out. It's really not that hard to get yourself around. For some reason, maybe because I was so amazed by everything that was happened, I didn't pay much attention to the indicators that I was getting home. I missed the turn the bus made, which would alert me that I was getting closer to the bus stop, and I also didn't see a little kiosk that would tell me that I had arrived. So, after ten minutes, and realizing I didn't recognize anything, I started to panic. I mean, I think, at this point, I could say hello, and that was the extent to it. 
Since I didn't know what else to do, I tried to speak to the driver. I have no idea how we communicated to this day, but I guess I pointed to the direction we were going and made the universal sign of "where?!" I think I was so nervous it was probably more like, "where on earth are we going to?!" and he seemed to understand. I know my Hungarian friends might read this, so please note that this was the impression of an eleven year old, but the driver really intimidated me. He was a bigger guy and he seemed to dislike the fact that I was approaching him. I know that, in some countries, you can't talk to the driver, but desperate times come for desperate measures, as some would say. He spoke quite roughly with me, but he still took some pity on me and said,"Budapest."
At this point, I was freaked out, and then he really felt bad for me. He stopped the bus and let me out. I looked around and tried to figure out where I was. I was still in Érd, thankfully, and I somehow managed to see that I was close to a family we had stayed with during our first week in Hungary. I arrived at their house and explained to them what had happened, I had missed the bus stop and I didn't dare try to find my way back. 
In the years that followed, I always managed to get lost, especially with my dearest friends from Hungary. However, I think I learned to be more aware of my surroundings, and I always asked for directions. I learned to become less embarrassed of admitting I didn't know where I was and I would try to ask for directions, regardless of the language. Most of the time, kindred souls would point me to the right direction, but there are always a few, who maybe because of the culture, gave me the wrong directions, just because they don't want to say that they don't know. 

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