Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Vegetable Lady

For most of the year, I have been more or less terrified of talking to people. I know what to say, I even usually know how to say it. Unfortunately, simply put--I am a chicken. At school, most of the people I interact with speak English, so I am off the hook there. Outside of school, I speak Hungarian to get what I want and don't have much other reason to speak. This is somewhat an exaggeration, but for the most part, it's what I do. I am a chicken.

To this end, I usually shop in the grocery store--a (somewhat) decent selection, little interaction with people. The cashier and I have sort of an agreement--short hellos, then she tells me the total, we say goodbye. Kész.

However. . .for all this village doesn't have, there is a small produce stand on the way to the store--I've stopped there once or twice, but never made a habit of it. I usually pass by without too much of a glance--the produce in the Coop is, overall, mediocre, but I pick through until I find enough to make decent meals. The winter was a little rough--shrivled paprikas and potatoes seemed to comprise most of the selection, but now that it is spring, new fruits are appearing. The stand had a little more to offer, but not so much as to warrant an extra stop in the winter cold.

The other day, I was out for a walk and happened past the stand. The chalkboard on the front advertised stawberries for 500 HUF a kilo-- just over a dollar for a pound. Not having had any yet this spring, I could nearly taste them as I walked by. On my return, my stomach got the best of me and I filed into line.

As I approached the stand, the vegetable lady (as she has become known in my head) cheerfully greeted me and asked how I was. We clearly didn't have the same agreement as with the Coop cashier. After some small talk, she looked and me and smiled "You came for strawberries, right?" I told her yes and ordered half a kilo. "In English?" "Strawberry." "Strawberry?" "Yes." She quizzed my Hungarian on the other produce, asking for the English she didn't know.

Now, after eight months, I stop at the vegetable stand to chat a bit and buy whatever produce looks the freshest. When I ordered some more strawberries the yesterday, I was told no. They weren't very good, but a fresh batch would be delivered the next day. I walked away with fresh spinach instead.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It was a great trip!

On Tuesdays, I rush to leave school in order to catch a train (that is inevitably late) to Szolnok. I walk to my Hungarian lesson from the station and then to the center of town to meet my private student's parents who pick me up and take me to their home across town.

This week, everything was going swimmingly. . .after finishing Hungarian, I bought myself a small icecream to celebrate correctly remembering the past tense (or I just wanted ice cream). Across the street from the shop (where I needed to go), men were working. . .or something with a fire hydrant and water covered the entire sidewalk and most of the road for about 20 meters. I carefully picked my path to the sidewalk, stepping where there didn't seem to be water.

This, of course, was an incorrect assumption on my part. I lost my footing and making a quick choice between face planting into the mud (less painful) or hitting the concrete (cleaner), chose the later. I went down hard on the top of my foot and knee (the bad one), while my other foot slipped about 4 centimeters deep into the mud. The one bright spot was that my ice cream made it through alright.

I now have one extrememly muddy shoe and a very colorful knee and foot, which makes wearing shoes exceptionally pleasant.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I just found out that I don't have to work next Thursday--school cleaning day--OR Friday. Well, technically on Friday, I need to show up at 10 for a 45 minute School-closing ceremony...but after that, nothing. Wow. Hooray?

Also, today was turos teszta and gulyas for lunch. Hooray.