It’s true. Hungarians do not smile. Now I am not saying everyone here is mean, or you do not get an ~occasional~ smile, but they are a rarity. In our orientation in Budapest we were warned about Hungarian by Hungarians. “That is just how we are”. My first week I passed a police man, smiled, then got an even meaner look back. Rookie mistake. We were told about the pessimistic mindset everyone has that honestly comes from the post-communist era (a super interesting aspect). I quickly learned to not take the bare minimum interactions and frowns personal. I am definitely not saying I love this aspect of the culture but it really puts genuine smiles and small kindness into perspective. I now notice in every store, café, and bar if someone smiles at me or is kind. I have never noticed something as small as a smile before. You genuinely see kindness and happiness here, not the fake front put on in so many other places and countries. The smiles have really influenced my decisions and turned me into a ~regular~ at certain spots. If somewhere has nice employees we quickly text our group messages urging an upcoming trip. I truthfully love how observant to kindness I have become.
February 19, 2019