some months ago (?) I was listening to my Discover Weekly when this song started playing:
tbh I wasn’t paying too much attention because I was maybe working or something, so it was just playing in the background. but then I started to pay a bit more attention and I was like… why am I not understanding anything? it sounds like something I could understand but I can’t understand anything. then I realized it was catalán. I looked up for the lyrics then and I could understand something. at least the general idea of the song.
and tot està per fer i tot és possible until you get to a place in Barcelona, want to get some tapas and you don’t understand anything.
but that’s catalán and even though I don’t understand everything, this was just a test that pretended to prepare me for something more foreign and beautiful: the Hungarian.
Hungarian is like something you’ve never heard before. there’s no word I can remember from the Spanish that is similar, or from the English or French or any other language I don’t speak.
I had been “learning” some Hungarian in Duolingo for some months already. it was super useless because Duolingo only taught me phrases like szia, katona (hello, soldier) or kiabálsz (you’re yelling). the only useful thing I had learned was sör (beer) but I had already forgotten it when I got to Budapest.
I mean, I already knew I would not understand anything but being here is a whole other story.
so this was my context when suddenly the doorbell rings and it’s the cleaning lady. jo napot! (good morning!) and this confusing thing happened:
lady: [something, something, something in Hungarian]🇭🇺🇭🇺🇭🇺
me: ummm ❓❓❓❓❓❓❓
lady: CLEAN 🤗
me: AAAAAHHH, yes... CLEAN 😁
lady: CLEAN? 🤔
me: yes, yes, CLEAN, please 🙂
*the lady walks to the bedroom where I had just changed the sheets*
lady: CLEAN? 🤔
me: yes, they're CLEAN, I just changed them 🤓
*the lady starts to take off the sheets*
me: no, no, they're CLEAN 😰
*👋lady looks at me while I make signs with my hands👋*
lady: [something in Hungarian] CLEAN 😉
*the lady takes some dirty towels and walks out*
and I was like WHAT😨… I didn’t understand anything. also, I didn’t understand if the cleaning lady thought I didn’t want her to clean. then I was also like, I’m so stupid, I should’ve used the translator to say something. I also questioned myself about not having learned something useful so far. I thought this was the ending of the story but no, the lady came back.
me: 🙂 sorry, I don't know any Hungarian 😕
lady: 😍🇭🇺🇭🇺🇭🇺. kitchen, CLEAN?
me: um, yes, yes... thanks
*cleaning lady goes to the kitchen*
*I get out to avoid more awkward encounters*
and from that day on, it’s an inside joke to say CLEEEEAN. CLEAN. CLEAAAAAAN. using different intonations meaning different things.
the first time I went to the supermarket I started putting the things I bought inside my backpack after buying them. then, a super serious lady started saying something to me. I didn’t understand anything but I thought she was mad at me (but no, almost all of the Europeans are like that hehe). later my two neurons understood that she was telling me to use some bars after the register to put my things inside my backpack so I wasn’t getting in the way of anyone.
but don’t worry, there are things I can completely understand and that don’t depend on the language… like using the metro, walking around the city, or buying icecream:
once I know more Hungarian I’ll share with you how to say ESTOY IMPAKTADA. in the meantime, viszontlátásra or szia.