Dearest Elderly Ladies of Hungary,
First of all, I must state that I cannot make a COMPLETE generalization of Hungarian females over the age of 60 because I have met a few of you who are as sweet as sugar. BUT I must say that the majority of you need a major 'tude check. I realize getting old isn't easy and I dread the day it happens for me(although I can't wait to take advantage of those AARP discounts and watching Wheel of Fortune all day), but I can't take it anymore. Since you've driven me to the point of wanting to shake my fist at you every time I see any of you, I feel the need to file proper complaints and justifications for everything you openly judge me for. I write this in hopes of coming to an agreement so everyone can be a little happier. For your convenience (because you would probably snarl at me if I didn't write this in an orderly fashion), I have compiled a formal list of instances where I would prefer you to "check your attitude at the door" (insert a couple sassy finger snaps here). Please refer to the following:
1) I realize your bodies aren't totally up to par with a young whipper-snapper like myself, but when I try to pass you on the sidewalk, PLEASE don't grumble as if the sidewalk is a no-passing zone. I am all about stopping to smell the roses, but if I continue to walk behind you, the roses will bloom, die, and then grow again next season by the time I get to my destination.
2) PLEASE stop staring at my feet very disdainfully when I wear flip-flops or a skirt without stockings! And no, your constant glares and grimaces won't make me magically pull a pair of long-johns out of my bag and put them on to make you happy. You don't catch colds from the weather...you catch it from bacteria exchanged between individuals...
3) ...which brings me to my next point...when you cough and/or sneeze, cover your mouth so as to not cover me in phlegm! If you would like me to point you in the direction of some Kleenex or cough drops, I would be more than happy to...assuming you speak English.
4) This is more of a suggestion, rather than a formal grievance...it might be a good idea to check yourself out a little more closely in the mirror and take some tweezers (or in some cases a razor and shaving cream) to those long hairs sprouting up on your chins. Check your ears and nose while you're at it....but like I said...just a suggestion.
5) My last point is meant to be a form of encouragement...I realize the world isn't always on your side. I know you've lived through some pretty (pardon my French) crappy stuff in your lifetime. But can you please smile once in awhile? Actually, I won't even ask that much...could you at least not look utterly miserable and grumpy all the time? Maybe if you practiced smiling for just a few minutes a day, it could become more of a habit. Believe me, it's not as horrible as people may have led you to believe up until now.
I fully plan to make it my everyday mission to make you a little happier. I will continue to smile at you, even when the gesture isn't returned. I will gladly help you get into a seat or give up my seat if there is nowhere to sit. If you take a little longer getting on the bus and I'm a few minutes late to my destination, I will not make a fuss because like I said earlier, getting old is hell. But if I hold up my end of the bargain, I would very much appreciate some help from your side in making my life and the lives of others a little better (i.e. not a living hell when in your presence).
Thank you for your time.
Signed with love,
I think I've mentioned before that the school I teach at happens to be one of the more "exclusive" schools for bilingual education in Budapest. But little did I know I've been instilling knowledge upon the sons and daughters of some quite important people here in Hungary! This discovery occurred yesterday when I was hanging out before class, watching Mate do his daily routine of showing me his best air guitar. He usually ends his performance by spinning around on the ground and waiting patiently for my reaction of shock and awe. I should mention that Mate is one of my first graders, so he's about 6 years old. He also is the only 6 year old I know that comes to school with a popped collar everyday. He usually sports a trendy argyle sweater and has the beginnings of a "faux-hawk" going. I still happen to think he's pretty adorable. Anyways, he was finishing off his daily jam session, and his teacher walked in. She shook her head and laughed. In broken English, she then replied to me, "maybe he gets it from his dad...he's a rockstar." Naturally, I responded with, "excuse me?!" She proceeded to tell me that Mate's dad was part of a popular Hungarian alternative rockband in the 1980s called Sziami. Of course I spent the afternoon Googling Mate's dad and his band from back in the day. Ohhhh, did I come upon a fun discovery! As you will be able to see when you watch this video, I cannot tell which one is the infamous father of my student, BUT you WILL be able to see that this video is just incredible in so many ways. I must ask you to first prepare yourself for the greatness that will follow when you click here. Oh, and if I wasn't "starstruck" enough...another girl came up to me today and said (in her best-rehearsed-3 million times English possible), "My father is a diplomat!" She then looked at me as if I should gravel at her feet and give her 10 gold stars, simply for being alive. Sheesh!
Today I experienced my first time running in a race. Fortunately for me, my first ever race turned out to be in the beautiful city of Budapest! I ran in the Budapest International Marathon, but of course I chose to run the "Mini-Marathon"...which was a 7.5k (or about 4.7 miles). My super-duper running partner, Carla brought up the idea a few weeks ago to everyone in the program, and of course we were the only ones who ended up committing to the run. I couldn't have asked for a better buddy! As anyone who follows my blog closely knows, I have been running a little bit while here in Budapest (and it always seems to be an adventure...), but I definitely have slacked the past few weeks. I was a little antzy this morning as I pinned my number to my shirt, but it was a beautifully sunny day...and there was a chill in the air that made it perfect running weather. Carla and I set out at about 9 to head to Hosok Tere (Hero's Square) where the race started. We got some pictures, stretched, cheered on the marathon runners (and quickly basqued in knowing that we would NOT be running for the next few HOURS) and then went to the starting gate and anxiously awaited our race! As I heard the countdown from 10 in Hungarian, I knew it was almost time, and then we set off down Andrassy Ut! Andrassy Ut is basically the Champs-Elysses of Budapest...while it's not QUITE as grand, it is still pretty specatular and I was feeling incredible as I ran with a huge crowd of people down this huge street. As we ran back through Varosliget (City Park) and rounded the finish line, I was quite excited when I saw Carla's face at the end...yes, she's a superstar runner and ran ahead of me in the first 5 minutes...but she was there at the end to cheer me on!! When I pulled up, the first think she asked me was, "was that your first race?!" I hadn't thought about it, but then I said "Well yes, yes it was!" I had been so focused on actually running and the fact I was running IN Budapest, I had never stopped to think this was my first race...AND I had just finished in quite good time! I was so excited and proud of myself! I really don't consider myself a runner. I am more of a hiking, biking type girl. I usually hate running actually...but today was so much fun, and it's served as sort of a motivation to keep it up! Well, let's be honest...once I get back to CO, I might just go hug a mountain and hop on my bike and ride off into the sunset and never run again...but when in Rome... :-)