I feel weird when running around Hungary. It’s as if Germanity will break out at any moment. You see, whenever I go in to a restaurant or a store or have any kind of interaction, people always want to speak to me in German. I guess because of the glasses, blue eyes, and height, I could have been in the Gestapo, but you’d think that saying, “Hello” or “Good evening” or “Is this table free?” would point to the fact that I’m not German, but it doesn’t seem to help. When I ask for an English menu, then it helps for a second only to have them hand me the menu and then say something in German as well as take my order in some odd German. It’s weird. It’s really weird.
I understand that I don’t speak Hungarian and so I’m the crappy one in this deal, but I’d almost rather that they spoke Hungarian so that I would learn some basic words and not be such a dunce in their country. But it seems that my choices are either: German, Hungarian, or Germglish, which is this “English” that some Hungarians speak that consists of one or two English words and then a whole bunch of German words spoken very slowly as we apparently speak English very slowly; and Germanically.
This isn’t to say that all Hungarians are at best only able to speak two languages. A friend of mine who has shown me a bit of her Budapest can fluently speak, Hungarian, German, English, French, and a good deal of Russian. I’m sure she could speak a bit of Serbocroatian if put to the test as well. She’s quite sensible about it though. When asked how in the hell she can speak so many distinct languages, she says, “Well, no one speaks Hungarian.” And this is true, although on a purely practical level, I’d much rather be speaking Hungarian in Hungary than German in Hungary.
Hey Hungary, I'm not German, Mmmkay?