The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Budapest Bakery

In the bakery in Budapest, I have to rely on my “have mercy on me” skills. Even when I try to read the tags next to the pastry of my choice, the woman behind the carbs has no idea what I’m saying. So I point as well, and in Hungarian she identifies the pastry I have indicted. She asks in her native tongue if I want what-I-seem-to-be-pointing-toward, and I nod because it really isn’t worth making distinctions. Whatever she gives me, I’ll eat it.

“One?” She asks and I vaguely remember the number one, but now can’t remember if it is the number two or perhaps some other word altogether. I blink at her. She shows me a thumbs-up, and I nod at that too. This is how she shows the number one on her hands–instead of her index finger she holds up her thumb. I reply with my index finger and she isn’t sure what I mean.

I say, “I can’t speak Hungarian,” which is already so painfully obvious that she bursts out laughing and begins to tell me something in Hungarian as a form of commiseration. Overwhelmed and not able to say anything else, I suddenly answer in Turkish. “Evet,” the word for yes, and other Turkish phrases are the only ones coming to me. Not English language apologies, which may ring familiar, but only Turkish. By some oddly-timed miracle, I am fluent in Turkish. She’s giggling, not understanding, and still going on in explanations of other things I cannot possibly translate. I’m replying, “Evet, evet,” yes, yes, of course, like I know what is happening, though we don’t have a clue about the topic upon which we are agreeing. The woman and I are in near hysterics by the time I have paid and moved toward the door. And we both reach to our eyes to wipe away tears, even unable to say goodbye.

-Budapest, Hungary. Merry Christmas!

Looking for a Christmas gift?

Budapest at Christmas time! :)

Budapest at Christmas time! 🙂

14 comments on “Budapest Bakery

  1. andy1076
    December 11, 2015

    I’d be lost, I speak Spanish, Mandarin, Hokkien, some Cantonese and Mandarin but anywhere non English oh boy lol

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 11, 2015

      Lol! Yeah, sounds like it would be tough for you to get around with all that to choose from, Andy! 😀 One of my biggest troubles is that anxiety absolutely switches off the part of my brain where foreign languages are stored. 🙂


      • andy1076
        December 11, 2015

        I think it’s safe to say we’re all the same on that 😀 lol

  2. Maureen Sudlow
    December 11, 2015

    Love it – Happy Christmas to you. I’m trying to find out why my blog has suddenly dropped out of sight with my usual followers – have you seen it on your reader board lately?

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 11, 2015

      Hi Maureen,
      Thank you for checking in. No, I haven’t seen it lately! In fact, I just had to “re-approve” your comment, which is odd. I’m so glad to see you again! 🙂 I checked and my follow is still there on the blog. I’ll un-click and re-subscribe and see if that will help.

      Merry Christmas!! 🙂

  3. Darlene
    December 11, 2015

    I love how the street is decorated in Budapest! I especially love the shoe decoration. I remember the fabulous shoes in Budapest when I was there 3 years ago and now one is hanging in the sky.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 11, 2015

      Darlene–If you need a better shot, I can head over there and get you a new one. I’m here through next week. 🙂

  4. Darlene
    December 11, 2015

    May I share the picture?

  5. cindy knoke
    December 11, 2015

    Wonderful Budapest. Love your post~

  6. davecenker
    December 14, 2015

    Most humans think that language is the best and most potent form of communication. Oh, how misguided they are 😉 Thanks for sharing Paige and Merry Christmas!

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