Sunday, September 26, 2010

Letting Go Of What You Don't Know

Dear readers: If you should identify yourself here, believe me, I am not poking fun at you. This is a teaching moment for others.

Getting questions from readers is really a joy for me. I love the interaction. Some readers have more questions than others, which is fine. Some readers ask questions totally unrelated to Hungary. I am not sure where they gathered some grain of information that lead them to believe I could be of assistance in the matter.

For example, I had a reader write asking me questions about Budapest which were followed by questions that transitioned into real specifics like "What type of oil do restaurants use in their cooking?" My response was that is probably depended on the cuisine, the chef, and the dish being prepared. When I cook and I am far from being a chef, I use corn, olive, sunflower, and rarely peanut oils for cooking, depending on the recipe. The list of questions continued from there, which again was fine until they started include Prague.

How do you say "What oil are you using in the cooking?" in Hungarian and Czech? Beats me, I don't speak either language. 

This Q and A went back and forth for a number of e-mails until she finally decided she needed to reward my efforts. She arranged to meet me to award me two boxes of Bisquick. This is like white gold for us, so I was thrilled. As it turned out, the two boxes we had stored were both severely out of date, though recently provided. With the flour mold alert, we tossed them, leaving our cupboard bare.

The very next day, I received an e-mail from another reader who asked questions about Budapest, but broke the happy spell when they were followed by "Will the weather in October be suitable to go to the beaches in Croatia?" "If I am taking the trains around Croatia and Slovenia, should I get a railpass or point to point tickets?"

Then there was the guy who was living here for 3 months before  needing an ACE bandage. I had told him I looked for them for months, but had not been able to find one until I described it. We happened to go into a pharmacy where he proceeded to ask for an ACE bandage. The clerk had no clue what he was asking since she did not speak English, yet additionally would not have known ACE. "A compression bandage is what he needs" I tried. No go. Persisting, this guy kept repeating ACE bandage like a mantra that would educate the clerk through osmosis. When it did not work, he walked out and called the clerk stupid. Needless to say, I was horrified, reminded Dorothy that he was not in Kansas anymore. Regardless, these  incidents do help keep my own ethnocentrism in Czech.
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Andrea K said...

Really funny. Maybe these people handle the region as a solid block. I think even Hungarians don't have a clue of the language, public transport, etc. of neighboring countries.

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