As usual, I missed out on an important event until it was happening. During my first lesson, a student raised his hand and asked “Do you know that in Hungary today is Women’s Day?”
No, I didn’t know that. But thanks for the heads-up.
In the United States, people don’t usually encounter this problem. Far from it. Holidays like Valentine’s Day are so commercialized that a deaf, blind man wouldn’t miss it. I have all of my senses, and I was caught completely off guard. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m pretty happy I haven’t been visually assaulted with pink colors every time I entered a store in the past month.
I asked my students what Women’s Day entailed, but it wasn’t necessary because I was about to find out first-hand. Outside the room where all of the teachers offices are, a bunch of students were waiting. They always wait here to ask questions, turn in late assignments, make excuses, pay bribes, or any other attempt they can make to stay out of trouble.
Something was different, though. They were all holding things. Some had flowers, others had chocolates, and a few even had big potted plants.
It seems on that Women’s Day, women get presents. Mostly men give them, but some of the girls gave things to each other. This female gift giving was mostly a teacher-student situation, and I have a strong feeling that it involved late homework or bad test scores.
There’s a 20 minute break in the middle of the day, and this is when staff meetings are held, but I never know about them. Sometimes I get stuck in them when I have other things I need to do. Other times I don’t know about it, and this is always when I wouldn’t mind listening to a half an hour speech in Hungarian.
Today there may or may not have been on e. I was helping one of my students and came back to find the room bustling with activity. I was mysteriously handed a Milka chocolate bar without any explanation.
Then, some of my women colleagues showed me their chocolate (the big size) and laughed at mine (the little size). “It’s the consolation prize since you’re not a woman.”
Finally, my last class is all girls. I got there and told them happy Women’s Day. They said, “Thank you, didn’t you bring us anything? Flowers? Chocolate?”
Hungarian phrase of the day:
Pronounced BOWL-dough-g NEW-naw-pote (“pote” rhymes with boat). It means “Happy Women’s Day.” Be warned, however, because you’re still expected to buy flowers and chocolates. Simply learning this phrase isn’t enough.