This morning I a drew a blank.
The Hungarian word for eggs eluded me. That was not the word I wanted to forget at the local shop less than twelve hours after landing in Budapest, with a hungry child clinging to my leg. In case you’re wondering, the word is tojás which came to me AFTER the shopkeeper asked me if I wanted tojás. Why yes, tíz or ten please.
I went along my merry day getting a thirty day transit pass, and topping off my SIM card with my limited language skills. While I’m in the Vodafone store, the clerk (who was speaking to me in English) pauses. “I’m sorry,” he said after the short delay. “Sometimes I have to stop and think of a word.”
I had to smile at the cheerful young man. “I’m going to spend my entire summer like that.”
It was no truer when I discovered a gas leak near my water heater. I called the gas out – no problem there. But, the two fifty plus men in blue coveralls with not one word of English between them threw me for a loop. But because gas leaks aren’t SIM cards, I had to call someone to get an exact translation of the problem.
I’ve always wanted to live in Europe. Now I’m wondering why I didn’t want to spend my summers whiling away in the English countryside. Language is hard. Acquiring one past forty is harder. Picking the hardest language on the continent . . . .
I’m off to perfect my skills at asking for . . . tomorrow’s breakfast.