Many countries, the North Sea, and an about 1,831 kilometres (shortest distance – by air travel) separate the United Kingdom and Hungary, so there is no surprise that their cultures, manners and habits differ.
I had two friends visit Hungary recently, one from England (O.) and the other from Scotland (K.), while both of them enjoyed their stay, there were things they found either strange or unusual. Before leaving, they both stated they were coming back, and one of them is even thinking about moving here!
So what was it that they found weird? Let’s take a look at their experience in Hungary.
My Scottish friend was startled when we arrived in Hungary, and my mother greeted her with a hug and kisses on the cheek. After meeting everyone in the family – who had greeted her the same way – she told me that she was surprised and had not expected so much physical contact or such warm welcome, but she was very happy and was ready to be adopted by us.
When we met up with friends, it was the same, everyone hugged her and switched to English instantly, so she could understand everything we were talking about. She was very surprised to be involved so quickly and swiftly and also by everyone’s English skills.
While we mostly drove around in a car, when we took a stroll in the city and K. saw the messy groups of people waiting for the bus, she mentioned how weird that was. In the UK people tend to form a line and wait their turn, while in Hungary, there is no such thing. Here people will cut in front of others, and on busier buses fight for a chance to take a seat. When I told her this, she did not understand the point of cutting people off, when a line is much neater, and perhaps even quicker when getting on the bus.
They were both fans of Hungarian cuisine, though K. found some dishes a bit too spicy for her liking. O.’s favourite was paprikás csirke; he says it is “the absolute best.” K. loved our pancakes, which some might call crepes, and tried all the possible toppings, from marmalade to walnuts to Nutella, and said she had to learn how to make them.
Check out our Hungarian recipes for delicious dishes HERE.
English and Hungarian are very different, there is no denying it. Both in spelling and pronunciation. When I showed K. our alphabet, she did not understand why we had so many extra letters and why they were pronounced differently.
O. had some troubles as well. He confuses the pronunciation of “viccek” (jokes) and “wc-k” (toilets), so at times he might have asked people where the jokes were, instead of where the public bathrooms were.
Learn Hungarian HERE.
In Hungary, it is pretty common for the grandparents to live with their children’s families, there are often three generations living under one roof. K. absolutely loved this idea and said this was very rare in Scotland.
In Scotland, when you go to a store or a shop, usually a worker will come up to you, ask if they can help you with anything, make small talk, and are just very friendly and open in general. After K. and I got home from shopping here in Hungary, she told me how weird it was that no one, not in a single store, came up to us to chat, and the cashier barely even looked at her when she went to pay.
I believe it is no surprise that they were both done with the hot summer weather of Hungary, especially because they needed coats when boarding the plane, but would have rather been in their swimming suits as soon as they got off.
Other odd things
O. was absolutely flabbergasted upon finding out that TESCO – an English supermarket chain – even existed in Hungary.
Things they loved
They both seemed to like the cities they visited, with the old building, the cultural sites, museums, and views from the hill/mountain tops.
O. said he loved “being in Budapest, everything seemed really exciting for some reason. Maybe it was partly the atmosphere of the city or just the fact that it was a new place for me made everything seem so interesting.”
All in all, cultural differences, hot weather and spicy food aside, they both absolutely loved our little country, and plan on returning – but hopefully during a colder season!
Source: Daily News Hungary