10 a.m. Hungary
Luckily we found András without problems at the airport yesterday. It was so good to see him again! We were worried at first that we wouldn’t be able to find him, because the airport seemed large and menacing, but then we realized there was an arrivals gate where he would be waiting for us. After getting our luggage, Melvin stood against a pillar while I embarked on search of András. I saw him right away, with those big black unlaced boots and his long, scraggly thin hair. I just walked up beside him and stood there for a minute until he noticed me. He looks the same as I remember, if a little older. There’s more whites and greys in his stubble and a few more lines around his eyes. When he did, he hugged me excitedly, but when I tried to grab his hand and pull him towards Melvin, he groaned and motioned for me to go slower. I wasn’t sure why, but now I know it’s because his back has been giving him trouble.
The drive to András’ place was a little bit awkward and uncomfortable, because I was scared to talk very much, and when I did make attempts at conversation, he only replied with one word answers, and seemed pretty crabby overall. It’s because he spent the last three days at a festival in Budapest and didn’t really get any sleep, so I guess I forgive him. When we got back to András’ place, we listened to music in his room and ate pizza (pineapple for me, yay!) and took pictures (funny stuff) and tried to converse some. We’re understanding each other much better than last time, already. I speak faster and in more complete sentences, and he knows more English. Nighttime came quickly, because we were all incredibly tired. I shared a bed with Melvin, which was alright aside from his snoring.
Not sure what we’re doing today so I’ll write more later.
Today was eventful and really fun. First, Melvin and I awoke around 8 a.m. and got ready while András slept on. Then, when he woke up, we sat in his room some more and listened to music, jazzy stuff. We took more pictures and went for a walk around the lake, which was nice. I remember it from last time, when we rented a boat and András rowed me around in it, and we talked about his health and going to the doctor and smoking and the fact that he worked on a vineyard. Clearly, my Hungarian wasn’t too great then, because I now know that he doesn’t – and probably hasn’t ever – worked on a vineyard, so I’m not sure where I got that from. I remember how we would take my dictionary everywhere with us, and have to look up words to get across what we wanted to say. This time we don’t have to do that, and it’s such a relief. There are still a lot of words I don’t know or recognize quickly enough, but I’m fluent enough to ask him what they mean and to understand when he explains it to me in a simplified way.
It was warm out today, and the breeze was soft on the skin. We were walking to the main square of Szombathely when we ran into Jóska and his wife in their car, and they gave us a ride. Melvin filmed during the car ride, which was pretty funny because I really can’t understand a word that Jóska says. But luckily András helps translate things for me when he sees I have no idea what’s going on.
In the main square we exchanged some money, not too much, and walked around seeing the sights. We visited the big church that I still don’t know the name of and took some pictures and Melvin filmed a bit. (Right now he’s just bobbing along to music while I write this.) Walking around was a little bit awkward, though, because we were walking super slowly because of András back pains while trying to make conversation. I’m not too flustered when we talk because András has a very calming presence, and when I start flailing my arms around in consternation, he just tells me to calm down. I often tell him to wait, and he responds, I didn’t say anything, I’m not saying a word.
Then we stopped at a café and I had an apple juice and Melvin had water. András and I talked about girls. He believes all girls are jealous, and he doesn’t want a girlfriend because then he couldn’t be alone or go to concerts or parties that he wants to go to. And also, a girlfriend wouldn’t like that all of his other friends are female. That part, I said, is very true. They wouldn’t like that. But there are girls out there, I think, who aren’t extremely jealous and actually like to have some space and distance in a relationship. I like to think I’m one of them. We also brought up the subject of him coming to New York, and he said he might be able to get the money to come and stay for a while, which would be pretty cool. Then we helped Melvin with some Hungarian, and András commented on how he was so dedicated to learning, which was admirable.
Afterwards we came back to András place, where we ate lunch (yummy chicken and rice, lathered in paprika, of course). Actually, Melvin asked if there was paprika on it, which was kind of funny. I think he knew there was though, and it was more just an attempt at conversation. I’m glad Melvin’s trying to make conversation; it makes things easier and also more fun. It’d be boring if he wasn’t enthusiastic about trying to talk even if he’s not sure what he’s saying is right. I need to be more like that; I’m too much of a perfectionist, though.
After eating, Melvin and I played MAGIC: THE GATHERING while András watched. We tried to explain it to András but I don’t know how much he actually comprehended. After that we listened to more music, some Hungarian stuff, some Spanish ska stuff called SKA-P, which I have to remember to download. Later, we bought juice and tea at the supermarket and then played hackey sack outside for quite a long time. Melvin filmed it. It was really funny; I’m pretty terrible. András was a little better than me, but not super great, and Melvin was pretty good. Then we went into a bar and András and Melvin drank beer (András pretty much forced Melvin to) and I had a soda and we talked some more. I like being able to hang out with people around whom you don’t really have to do much to have a good time, but can do things like play hackey sack and just talk, and still have a blast. It helps when that talking is a challenge because it’s in another language, but I think the basic concept is the same.