Saturday, December 12, 2009

Further proof that Hungarians are nice people

The title of this post may seem odd to some of our readers. Do we have to offer "proof" that Hungarians are nice? We offer proof to to convince Hungarians that they are nice people. Some Hungarians take pleasure in the belief that they are not friendly, but the reality is otherwise. Hungarians we know are often surprised to hear that overall we are treated respectively and pleasantly when on the street, traveling on public transportation, in a shop, etc. Now of course, we live in a large city and anywhere in a large urban area people are less friendly then say in the countryside. Also, Hungarians aren't yet winning awards for top customer service or highly efficiency check-out lanes at the grocery store or Post Office. All this said, Hungarians offer--from an American point-of-view--a 1950's style of saying hello, goodbye, opening doors, helping mothers with strollers and offering their seat on the bus.

So here is proof: Steven was taking the bus back into town yesterday. He had a heavy backpack with him, but it was manageable. Having waited less than 10-minutes for the bus, he boarded the rather crowded bus. He stood next to a woman likely in her late 60s. She had two large bags with her. As a seat opened, Steven maneuvered to allow her to take the seat that was near him. Steven's behavior is expected in Hungarian more as duty then perhaps being "nice." The older woman then insisted that Steven rest his backpack on her leg. Steven kindly declined, but she insisted grabbing the bag and then holding the bag for the 15-minute journey to the center. Upon exiting he thanked her and she without any fanfare said it was nothing and rushed out the door with her two large bags.

Can you imagine such nice behavior where you live?

It is important to note perhaps why we believe Hungarians are nice. We believe that 'you get what you give' as well as you 'you see what you want to see.' If you are kind, you often receive that kindness back. If you are always looking for what is bad in the world, you will likely find it. We try to be kind and look for the good.

This wasn't Steven's bus but you can get a sense how we travel around Budapest.

We like that the buses are called Ikarus which we assume came from Icarus, a character in a Greek mythology. Trying to escape their prison and return home, Icarus and his father crafted wings held together by wax so to fly away. Icarus defied his father's warning to not fly too close to the sun. Icarus's wings fell apart and he died. Moral of the story: Listen to your father. We wonder if the bus name,Ikarus, is poking fund at some paternal authority.
We just hope the bus doesn't fly too close to the sun!


Peggy said...

Nice story. I like the comment, like in the 50's. I would prefer to be living in the 50's today.
Can't wait until you arrive home.


Diane Kappa said...

I love this story. I do believe you get what you give and you see what you want to see. This holds true with wherever you live and true in almost all situations. I guess its like we say, is the glass half empty or half full?

Steven Greimann and Diane Kappa said...

I agree with you, Diane. I would emphasize that this view isn't karma-driven or some new age ideal. I take it is a 'matter of fact.' You get what you give. By the way, the glass simply has water in it. :-)