I took this photo in Budapest some years ago. Before my trip, I was concerned that not knowing the language, I would not be understood. Fearing that I would get lost, go hungry, buy something I could not afford, my friend, who was of Hungarian descent, made me a “cheat sheet ” of necessary words and phrases.
As you can see from this sign post, the people of Budapest understood we American tourists would not know where to go if we had to navigate using Hungarian and graciously made our trip to their beautiful city a wonderful experience by using English language signage in many areas.
But, I think that understanding is more than knowledge. Providing the signs embraced we foreigners, in a warm and inviting way. They said welcome in our language so that we could learn more of theirs. They “got” it.
Understanding is “getting it”. We are lucky to have a few friends in our lives who really “get” us. You know them, they make the call to check on you not knowing anything is wrong. They accept your stupid mistakes. They can tell how you are feeling just by the look on your face.
Understanding is reasoning and nuance. It is that filter that keeps our mouths shut or makes us speak up. It’s the why in those senseless occurrences. It’s acceptance of what is or will be, what we are powerless to. It can’t be taught. I’m not sure it can be learned.
It may be one of those gifts we are given, to be trusted and used wisely.
Lovely post! I really like how you have emphasized just how much a street sign can say about a country and its values.
Thank You, Budapest is a wonderfully inviting city, full of warm and engaging people. We should all follow their example.
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