So a full week in a Hungarian workplace have now taught me a few things:
- The Hungarian language has 44 letters, including 14 vowels. It is unlike any other language at all and is the second hardest to learn ever. Hungarian people have told me this.
- The word for cheers is Egészségére. This looks difficult enough, and my English brain has made the sound like ’eggy-she-reara’ and this is hopefully close enough. It translates as ’to your health’. However, if you get it wrong you could accidentally say ‘to your arse’.
- Everyone drinks coffee. Fancy espresso’s and cappuccino’s that I tend to associate with Starbucks. There is a fancy all singing and dancing coffee machine in the office and the first thing that happens in the morning here is a ceremonious worship and a reward of a cappuccino. Proper froffy and with a lovely sprinkle of cinnamon.
- This cappuccino is therefore delicious and everyone starts and continues the day in a very cheery manner.
- Through drinking these in the morning I’ve been surprisingly awake before 11am, the usual time when people can start to approach me.
- People here are not big fans of tea. As in normal, actual…tea. I found green tea, fruit tea and some form of flower and plant varieties, but no bog standard tea bags. This led to a trip to the big Tesco, again, finding the ‘foreign section’…..i.e English stuff….and purchasing me some PG Tips. I enjoyed my proper English brew immensely. No one took me up on the offer to have one though, until today when Istavan braved it. As I poured the water in his cup I told him he had to prod the tea bag abit, and let it ‘stew for a proper brew’. He gave me a very confused look, and I realised how painfully English I am. I elaborated on what I meant, and then he tried his cup of tea. He said he liked it, result!
A good ol' English brew!
(with the squiffy Hungarian keyboard in the background)
- Everyone brings in a very impressive lunch. Some are leftovers of their tea the night before, and some even go to the trouble of making a dish to share with the group. There are 2 microwaves in the kitchen to cope with the fact all 11 people here will need to warm up their food. Then everyone meets for a proper dinner break in the conference room where they can all sit in a big circle. As a result, everyone is really good friends here – the atmosphere, the laughing and the pictures on the notice board of lots of social events are a testimony to this.
- They think the sandwiches I bring to work are strange and boring, but they are too polite to mention it and just instead give me a share of their stuff instead.
- The nice cleaning lady that comes in every day at about 4 knows about no English, and over the past few days i’ve just generally thanked her when i have seen her, but today we magically had a small conversation. I’d like to say that it was because my Hungarian has come on with practice. Alas, she has learnt some basic English much better than my basic Hungarian and she even ended up teaching me the pronunciation of ’Hogy van’ (how are you) because i can not for the life of me understand how to pronounce it.
- The weather is massively unpredictable. A couple of days have abit dull and grey (just like home!) and the other night there was the biggest and most surreal tropical-like-storm i have ever encountered, where the lightening lit up the sky all around us and the rain was bouncing down, but we stood and watched it for a while, without rushing for a jumper. Today, it is warm and glorious sunshine. The air con is on in the office and the next few days are going to be 23-25 degrees....being english we are not used to this and have no summer like clothes at all. This was mostly down to a space issue with the suitcases, but none the less, its boiling and it would be an opportunity for us to experience some form of summer, because there was a distinct lack of one at home! (although i do remember a few warm days whilst i was stuck inside the office, typical)So tonight we are going out with a few people from my workplace who want to introduce us to the ’real Debrecen’. It’s very nice of them to make the effort after work to take us a few places and show us around, but it is a school night so it won’t be a late one!We’ve been here a whole week now and have settled in abit more, learnt lots of things in and out of work, been enjoying ourselves, and are still trying to learn some Hungarian!