Humor me for a moment… No Pecs pix in this post. We’ve been in Pecs 3 weeks now and today I started thinking of what I miss from our lives in the US, as well as things I thought I’d miss, but don’t.
THINGS I MISS:
Friends / Family. For obvious reasons.
Having daily “billable” work to do.
Our dog, Sam, pictured below. There are quite a few dogs in Pecs, but they’re “city” dogs and they’re very good at ignoring people on the street (even the Golden Retrievers), so I’ve only been able to pet a dog once or twice since we’ve been here. As nice as we’ve found the Hungarians (and their dogs) to be, they don’t generally acknowledge your presence in public. If you smile or nod at someone you pass by closely on the street or on the bus (as if to say, “hey there.“), they don’t smile or nod back at you. In general, we probably laugh and smile too much for Hungarian tastes (though this is not true for most of the kids in school — they want to laugh all the time).
A POT of coffee. Or the occasional Grande Non-fat Latte (I know, it’s pathetic). There is lots of very good coffee here, and I’ve figured out which coffee to order at the bakery on the corner, but it’s always a very tiny cup. The two women who work at the counter laugh because I walk in 2-3 times in the morning to order another coffee. I suppose we could buy a coffee maker, but then I wouldn’t get to impress the women in the bakery with my Hungarian coffee ordering prowess, which I’m sure translates into something like: “Too coffee macchiato you’re welcome yes thank you no sugar yes thank you goodbye bye-bye bye hello.”
A clothes dryer. We have a little washing machine in the bathroom (photo below) that is designed to dry the clothes as much as possible during the spin cycle. Then you hang the clothes on a big rack, also pictured below, in another room (apparently no one uses a clothes dryer in Hungary — it’s a cultural thing). The washing machine spins so fast, for so long (sometimes hours), that you think it might lift up into the air. The clothes come out drier than our washing machine at home, but they’re also somewhat traumatized — my t-shirts are all misshapen and my pants seem to have gotten longer. Also, when it’s rainy and damp (like it was most of last week), the clothes never really dry.
Showers. I think this is fairly common in Europe, but the bathrooms only have a tub and a hand-held shower nozzle. Hot water is intermittent.
Regular tennis (and The Tennis Channel).
Los Bravos. It’s not really that I MISS it so much, but the Hungarians aren’t into Mexican food. A few of my students crinkled their noses when I asked if they’d ever eaten at a place called “Tex-Mex” on our block — we’ve avoided it because it’s located in what looks like a school basement.
THINGS I THOUGHT I’D MISS, BUT DON’T:
Driving. I haven’t driven a car since we left Evansville. We’ve been in a taxi twice (airport to train station / train station to apartment), and a colleague’s car once. It’s really nice to be able to walk or take the bus pretty much anywhere you want to go. It’s also been good for James because he can go out and do things on his own, whereas in Evansville, he pretty much has to be driven anywhere he wants to go.
Our house. Sorry, house, but apartment living is suiting us just fine for now. And the leaves will have to take care of themselves this Fall (with a little help from my friend, Jeremy).
Office and Seinfeld reruns. Plus the NFL. I broke down and paid for an internet radio broadcast of the Bears-Lions game last Sunday, but it was so boring I think I’ve been cured of it. Note, the NFL has a TOTAL STRANGLEHOLD on their product. You have to pay big bucks to hear or watch games on the internet.
I took photos at the market in Pecs this morning — posting those next…