November 08, 2007

encounter with ex-communism

I'm sitting in my grandparents' living room. Both of them are currently reading a newspaper/political magazine. They're really committed that way, my grandmother was pretty involved with the party when she was younger and still reads and watches political news like a maniac :)

They're being lovely as per usual, but just as always they can be a bit tiring at times. My granddad has really bad hearing but refuses to wear a hearing aid. Oh, he does own one - state of the art - but he's never worn it. Ever. He also has had a couple of tiny strokes in the past so his memory has suffered from that. But I don't mind answering his questions twice, that's not the problem. The problem is, that my grandma mumbles and that she does so quietly that even I have problems understanding her. So my grandpa doesn't hear her. But of course he doesn't ask, it's not like he has a hearing problem, right? So she calls him stupid because the things he didn't properly hear he forgets even faster. Surprise! Also my grandmother claims not to have any hearing problems at all. No, no. Incidentally she just got up, went to the other room and turned on the TV at a volume that almost made me jump out of my seat. So basically I've spent the last couple of hours yelling to them and repeating myself. If I could only make him wear the stupid hearing aid... But I guess when you're almost 90 you're allowed to be stubborn.

Still I'd like to stay longer, but I have to go back tomorrow night, cuz I have uni on Saturday. In fact I wanted to come yesterday and stay for two nights, but the Hungarian train conductors' strike kept me from it. Every time I drive through this country, be it by train or by car it strikes me how desolate it still is. I think I saw a couple of newly built roads when the train was closing in on Budapest, but then I see houses in a state that is third world like. And when I get off the train I can't even count as fast as I'm stumbling over beggars and homeless people. Especially with what is going on politically at the moment, this doesn't always resemble the EU-member country it should be.

Nonetheless my grandmother insists that we go shopping tomorrow. She always does that. And of course I don't mind the opportunity to buy some clothes without turning the ATM card over a couple of times in my hand. But I fear that she feels she has to do this. I don't care! That's not why I come to visit them. I'm fine with just buying a rod of salami to take home with me and one to bring to my dad.

However I am planning to come more often now. It just sucks that I can't really bring finn, because it's already such a hassle for them if I come alone. Now that I can at least access the internet here I won't feel so completely cut off from civilisation. That's a good feeling.

1 comment:

LG said...

That's really so sad about Hungary. As an ignorant Westerner :), I would absolutely love to make it to Europe and tour around. I know there is absolutely beautiful country to be found, and it makes me sad that some of it is in such disrepair.

On a side note: I laughed so hard at your description of your grandparents with the mumbling/hearing aid issues, only because my parents are the SAME WAY. My folks are older, and my dad is the one who has lost a lot of his hearing. It's so interesting to watch the dynamic between them.