Dinner With A Side Of Learning

Cooking is hard, but eating at restaurants can be harder.  In this world of mine,  I’m never sure what might happen.  Most people go to a restaurant to eat, but I go for the adventure that comes with the unknown.

I went to the restaurant that has the cute waitress who likes to talk to me.  The conversations would probably be great if my Hungarian vocabulary wasn’t more extensive than her English.  I’m usually not sure what we talk about, but that’s okay.

Plus, I don’t usually have to pick what I want to eat.  She brings me a menu, but she just starts talking (usually about food, I think).  I just stop her when I understand something that doesn’t sound horrible.  If I don’t understand something, I just stop her eventually before she gets angry.  I’m pretty sure she just decides for me and thinks of different ways to say it until I agree.  The good old “foreigner doesn’t understand so I’ll make him order something stupid” trick.  Except the food is good.

After I finished eating, she started asking me something that sounded like “favorite”.  Since she was taking my plate away, I figured she was asking why my favorite food was.  What else could it be?  We’d already established that I liked my meal.  Then she walked away frustrated – leaving my empty plate in front of me.

Uh-oh.  I’ve pissed off the waitress.  Can’t eat here anymore.

Wrong.  She came back with a few sheets of paper.  They were full of English – Hungarian phrases.  She pointed to “Favorite Subject,” and I thought she was asking me this.  While trying to think of an answer, I realized she wanted to know how to pronounce it.

Great!  I haven’t pissed off the waitress.  At least, as long as I know how to pronounce “favorite subject”.

She then told me that she needed to know how to pronounce all the words by the 24th or something.  This was ironic because she explained it by writing the date (in Hungarian format) like I talked about yesterday.  If I hadn’t just been writing about that, I might’ve been confused.  This blog is literally saving my life.  Or at least keeping me on good terms at the restaurant - which is equally important.

I helped her pronounce them, and then I told her that she’ll have to help me learn Hungarian next time.  I suppose “next time” isn’t in her English vocabulary just like it’s not in my Hungarian, so all she understood was “help me learn Hungarian”.  She got her papers back out and we went through the list teaching each other.

The best part was watching her write out the pronunciation of English words in phonetic Hungarian.  Favorite became something like févorat, and school became something like skül (I can’t remember exactly what she wrote, I’m just guessing here).  She had to cross out a lot of ő’s and ö’s and stuff before she could get some of the sounds right.

She learned, I learned, and I ate a good, healthy dinner.  Well, at least I ate a healthy dinner.


Hungarian word of the day:


Pronounced Kuuz-ay-peesh-coal-aw.  It means “Secondary School”.  I figure I teach in one, so I should know how to say that.  I’ve upgraded from just school (iskola).  I guess I did learn something.