With little over a week and a half to report on as school amped up, I spent a lot more time with family in Kismaros and even some days showing American friends around Budapest for their first time here.

To begin with, school (known as Iskola over here) has definitely begun the “intensziv” work. Last week we learned simple phrases, pronunciation, the alphabet (44!!), and a lot of vocabulary. This week it has escalated to verbs, direct objects, possession… oof! As much information as I’m absorbing, the absolute best thing is that I can go out … anywhere… and practice what I’ve learned.

I’ve been in Budapest for nearly 3 weeks now and I’ve only just grown confident enough to speak and practice what I’ve learned – despite whether or not what I say makes sense or if I can handle the response that a person will give. People have recognized that I’m trying and commended me for it.. which makes me feel even more excited to learn. With my communication increasing it also is making me feel more like I belong in this country. I’m slowly starting to better understand my older family members (who only speak magyarul) and the fact that it’s up to me to communicate with them, as they won’t learn english at their age, I feel a familial responsibility to keep working hard on my language learning.

I walked 28 km this past Thursday showing a childhood friend, Heather, around Budapest and we hit all the best spots! Teaching her a bit of the history and customs and seeing how interested she was made me very proud of my country, plus it was very fun to go out with a friend and eat at an actual restaurant rather than a cafe or in my apartment. Friday was the end of the school week and my cousin and I celebrated with his first time on ice skates. As someone over 2 meters tall, it was like watching a giraffe learn – a lot of falls but also a lot of laughs (from both of us I promise).

This most recent weekend, Dessa, one of my closest friends from Uni, visited Budapest for the first time! We ate our way through the city clocking in about 27 km… I definitely don’t need a gym membership here let me tell you. There’s was a food festival this weekend based around the famous curly haired pig and we were very excited to celebrate! We ate lángos, paprikás, forralt bor (mulled wine), kolbász, zsír (pig lard)… the whole nine yards. We woke up on Sunday unable to move our tired legs so we decided to head to a spa to rejuvenate. Hungary is awesome. Dessa is teaching English in Madrid right now so comparing our language experiences is very interesting and I have grown in respect for how much preparation these teachers have to do to make our learning experience as beneficial as possible.

Kismaros is lovely because it’s a small and homey place where I can spend an entire day at my aunt’s house or cousin’s house enjoying a meal of fresh lamb gulyásleves and too many dessert options or I can simply go on a walk to the river. I play with my young little cousins (who are teaching me how to read magyar), learn card games from my great uncle, and go on bike rides. It’s a contrast from the city life that Budapest gives me and it’s welcome every weekend.. if not more often.

In fact, there’s something special about Budapest and Hungary in general that has completely sucked me in. The familiar smells of Hungarian food as I head home from school.. the kindness of the people.. the simplicity of the city and the lifestyle.. I could go on. I’m actually starting to dread leaving and I’ve begun to heavily consider moving back here in April. Only time will tell… but living costs are definitely less here than in Bellingham and I believe that I’ll be very happy spending time improving my language and connecting even more with my Magyar family. We will see! For now… Viszlát!

As a new segment on these posts I want to write a couple of sentences about my week in Magyarul so that I can track my progress (mistakes included). I think it will be fun to look back in a couple months and see how awful I started off and how far (I hope) that I’ve come with the language. We haven’t learned past tense yet so I’m going to write in only present. Here is this weeks! :

~ Sziasztok! Gisi vagyok. Jól vagyok. Amerikai vagyok de most, Budapesten élek. Magyarul tanulok a MagyarIskolában. Minden nap sétálok a parkban és beszélgetek unokatestvéremmel. Kismarosban él. Tegnap, kismarosi családom sétálunk a Duna, nevetünk és eszünk süteményt. Viszlát! ~


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