Published: August 30th 2006August 30th 2006
Depending on you this entry will either be really interesting or really boring. Its mostly about Hungarys history and politics and yadda yadda yadda..
So I am learning a bit about Hungary. Its a pretty crazy place, and you can tell that it has only had its independance for 16 years. I keep forgetting that it was a communist state for 50 odd years and before that it was under the rule of Nazi fascism and full of dictators and aristocracy and everything else you can think of. The government is still trying to work simple things out and basic needs such as health care are getting pushed to the side. For example my host mum Gabriella is a doctor-a specialist!-who worked in the hospital for ten years, and about three years ago she had to leave her job (which she liked very much) because she was not making enough money to support herself and her daughter. A doctor was not making enough money! So now she works as a manager of a large pharmacy type company. A manager makes more money than a doctor! So now many Hungarians can not get health care or a family doctor because there arent
enough doctors. Many people are trained in the medical field but they have all left their jobs because they werent making enough money. Gabi says that the country is in very bad political shape and that there is no hope, especially for health care. There is a socialist party in power right now and that scares many people because they relate socialism with communism. I personally like socialism but I think in a country that has suffered communism and fascism for many years, it will be a long time before a socialist government will work. It does not help that the leader of the socialist party is a descendant of one of the old communist leaders. I know you should not judge a person by his family but try telling a Hungarian that. It makes you doubt how socialist that person is and whether he is not using the word socialism in place of communism. All that people can say of politicians is how much they distrust them and they all say that they make a whole bunch of fancy promises and never follow through with them (it does sound a bit like communism, except now they can talk about
it). I am reading a book right now called 'The Bridge at Andau' and it is all about the Hungarian revolution in 1956. If you dont know what that was about it was a revoluition led by students in Budapest against the Russian communism (Hungary was a communist satallite state in the USSR) and the Russian secret police. It was very very violent and most Hungarians participated in it. In the span of about 1 to 2 weeks the Russians killed 40 000 Hungarians and many many others fled to other countries to escape wither before or after the revolution. Its quite obvious but I will say it anyways, no matter what the Russians said ( they blamed the revolution on fascist leaders) nearly everzbody who was killed (there were very very very few fascist people) were innocent. Many of them were killed in random fire (the tanks would literally just go down streets and never stop shooting at random people). Anyways, why I am telling you all this, I told Gabi about this book that I am reading (she was quite surprised) and she said that people still do not talk about the revolution and that I would know more about it than she would. 50 YEARS LATER and people still do not talk about it !!!!! It was huge!! It is the 50th anniversary of the revolution in October and I am really wondering whether there will be a rememberance or a celebration of their bravery or anything of the sort. I will be surprised if there isnt, but still Gabi has not said anything. I am going to try to find the book in Hungarian for her.
Aside from all that (people who skipped the above 'boring' part you can start reading again, this is just stories) I now know five people!! yay! Gabriella, her nephew Zsolt (who is neither hairy nor pudgy, but who, sigh, has a girlfriend..joking fellow rotarians, I was joking!) Zsolt lives with Gabi during the school year and goes to the university and studies law, the girl down the street (her name is somthing like Yldiko, im not too sure I just try to avoid saying it) and Yldikos two friends who I have no idea what their names are. On Monday night I went to the pub (first Hungarian pub!) with Ylidiko and her two friends (Rotarians, I did nothing to embarass myself and I assure you all of my actions were within the four way test). It was alot of fun (we went at five and left at eleven...so loooonggg...im going to have to build up my tolerance!) And I had a Hungarian beer it was discusting!! They all just laughed at me and they said I am Canadian I am supposed to like all beer! Yesterday Zsolt showed me his university and we went for a little walking tour of Szeged.
Oh and ladies, long hair is in fashion here. For boys. I dont mean hockey hair. Not even Ryan Auty (not the right spelling I know) hair. I mean 'come here Repunzel and let me brush your hair and if you are very good I will braid it'. It is discusting. Fanny packs are also in fashion. argh.
Other than that everybody here has been trying very hard to prove Rotary right and get me to gain 20 to 30 pounds by feeding me ten meals a day. I have learned never to eat anything alone not even a snack because when anybody else in the house eats they ask everyone to eat with them and it is very rude to decline. Im going to start pulling a grandma and hiding food in my pockets. There is also dessert after every meal (Kelsie you would love it here). Every meal. Its tiring. And coffee! My goodness do these people love coffee! I can smell it now, somebody in the house is drinking coffee. No matter what time, I went downstairs last night at nine and I was offered coffee.
Well thats about all for now, Gabi and I are going to set up a bank account for me here so I am not charged 5 dollars every time time I use my bank card ( I guess I still will be, its just now I wont use it as often).
oh Hungarian lesson!
Jo estat vagyot Pronounced yo estay vadyot Say it before every meal, something like bon appetit I think or good health or something like that.
Jo means 'good' pronounced something like a cross between yo and you. People say this at random times, on the telephone everywhere, so when I want to feel like I can understand Hungarian I can always hear 'jo jo jo jo jo' and Im like 'ah! I understand perfectly. Its all for my ego.