This past weekend I was in Tivadar with a family camp from church. The majority of the people I spent the weekend with spoke exclusively Hungarian (so I could not even get an English break), but it was great talking with them because we all put such an effort into making sure we understood each other. Granted I can say and understand more Hungarian than I was able to in the previous months, but the people have really opened up to me as they have seen the effort I have put into being a part of this community and communicating with them every single day. I have a lot of great friends who laugh with me, play with me, and invite me to spend time with them outside of the normal church events. It’s really great!
I stayed in a room with six other women and Marika, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite people here, asked me to speak English to her little four-year-old granddaughter to surprise her. The look on little Jasmine’s face was priceless when I asked her, in English, how she was doing and told her that I liked her purple shirt; the poor little thing did not know what to do at first, but then she loved it! During dinner Marika asked me how I like Hungarian food and then told me that she would invite me to her house to teach me how to cook a traditional Hungarian meal—I can’t wait!
At the camp I had my normal job of watching the kids while the parents were in sessions. One little boy just wasn’t happy playing with the other kids because they kept wanting the toys he was playing with, so when I asked him what was wrong, I got an earful of pouting-little-kid Hungarian telling me what he was so unhappy about. I did not understand a single word that came out of his mouth but when I asked him if he wanted to play with me, a smile came on his face and then he handed me a toy. Happy kid = crisis averted.
On the bus to and from the camp I sat by a couple friends with whom I played a game wherein you have to say a word that the starts with the last letter of the word that was said before it…in Hungarian. My vocabulary is not that extensive so I quickly resorted to getting help from the person sitting next to me; the only problem with that was that he kept giving me giant words to say so I just ended up fumbling through the entire game. It was fun, though. On the way home my friend and I resorted to acting out most of our conversation because we really couldn’t understand each other. The effort we put into our conversation was really entertaining and we ended up laughing at how ridiculous we both were, but overall, I would say we were successful in learning new things about one another.
It was a good weekend on the language front. There is still a ton that I don’t know and don’t understand, but I am getting the hang of it. I think the lessons I am learning while learning the language apply greatly to life: even if I don’t know or understand something, the effort I put into it is what is most important. Being open to new things, to successes and failures (no matter how big or small), and to life’s adventures takes a lot of effort every day, but it is completely worth it because, even if I do not understand everything, I have become close to many incredible people and have seen many amazing things just by being open and putting in a solid effort.