Communication without words

As in any other big cities, you can encounter in Budapest a lot of singular and distinctive people, what provides you a big amount of connections, and an everyday loaded with eventful journeys.

I don’t speak Hungarian, so I speak in English with the local people. If they don’t understand English, I will communicate with gestures or with some mispronounced Hungarian words (something that I am always afraid to try).

For the time that I have been here so far, I already had some peculiar experiences with local people.

My building

I live in a flat with two other Erasmus students, and sometimes we like to invite friends to have some drinks before going out. We are always careful, so we don’t make a lot of noise and we never extend it until late.

One morning, after my flatmate invited some friends, I was going out and suddenly I had a surprise when I opened the door. Our table with the ashtray, that is always on the common balcony, was poured in our doormat on purpose. There was a really big mess on our entrance.

I asked my flatmate what happened and she answered me “Ah, maybe it was the neighbour from the second floor, yesterday she was yelling something when we went outside to smoke.”

I was upset. Why didn’t she simply knock on the door and ask them to be quiet?

And who was she?

When my flatmate told me where she lived, I realized she was the Hungarian lady who never greeted me when she passed on the stairs.

Another day during the afternoon, when the event with the ashtray was long gone, we were just drinking some tea outside. Our neighbour went out, stared at us and shouted something in Hungarian asking us to be silent. But why? We were just enjoying a sunny day!

Another neighbour from our floor passed by and said “Don’t worry, she is crazy”.

I suddenly got more relaxed when I realized we were not the only ones having trouble with her.

Since the first incident, we had several more. The ashtray was poured again, a note appeared on our door, and there were at least two threats of calling the police.

She never tried to talk directly to us, probably because she doesn’t know any words in English, so she uses all these other means to draw our attention. This is the way she communicates with us.

Another situation was with an old lady near the Nyugati station. I don’t know if she was a homeless but she was siting on the sidewalk and she looked really poor. I was with a friend and we had a pack of cookies with us. We decided to give it to her.

Her face, that was so sad looking to nowhere, suddenly lit up with a big and genuine smile. She was really grateful and that was noticeable by her look, her smile and her gestures. She suddenly started eating.

We didn’t share a single word.

Ana van Egmond

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2 responses to “Communication without words

  1. Pingback: Erasmus Flats | rachelhaddock91·

  2. Pingback: Erasmus Flat | Lost in Budapest, Found in a Ruin Bar·

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