Friday, March 11, 2005


Walking home I pass three man standing around an old car. They’re waiting for something in front of the city hall. My house is just around the corner. They look a little sleezy. They stop me, two of them start speaking. There aren’t a lot of teeth left in their mouths. They’re not that old though. Are they curious about my equipment? Do they want to ask something? In my best Hungarian I tell them I don’t speak Hungarian. They start pointing at the other side saying “Ungarn”, “Magyar”. I nod. Hungary is over there. I know. Again they start pointing. “Hid”, “Bridge” they say now. I nod. I point at myself and say “Hídör”, “Bridgeguard”. They nod and laugh. Are they making fun of me? I want to walk on, they start to talk again, point at the other side, again telling me “bridge!” and “Hungary!” I point in the direction of my house, point at myself and say “haz”, “Parkanban lakik”, “I life in Sturovo”. They laugh. Do they understand? Are they drunk? Do they speak Slovak only? I wave and move on. One of them grabs my arm. He’s shaking his head, saying “Nem!”, “No!”. Again he’s pointing at the other side, making a wide armgesture. “Bridge!” “Hungary”. Now I get it. They think I’m walking in the wrong direction. They want to show me the way to the bridge. They’re trying to help. They want to make sure the silly tourist girl doesn’t get lost. They’re being nice.

Is it because spring is getting near? Is it because people are getting used to my face? Is it because I look different at the world? I have the feeling people open up. They stop at my windows to look at my photos (there are five photos hanging there. I change one every day). They start to talk to me on the streets. My Hungarian language course hasn’t helped me so far. My best Hungarian is still “I don’t speak Hungarian”. I can say “I can speak a little Hungarian” too, but that’s too risky. Then people start talking slowly in Hungarian, hoping I might answer. The good thing is that I can use my other sentence then, “Nem értem”, “I don’t understand”.

Somebody taught me some usefull words. “Lehet”: possibly. “Talán”: possibly. “Holnap”: tomorrow. “Esetleg”: maybe. “Után”: later. They are used a lot. Everything is possible and will happen tomorrow. And if it doesn’t happen tomorrow it happens later on. The day after tomorrow. Or next week. Possibly.


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