After a month in America, returning to Hungarian village life can be ... abrupt.
Gone are the days of high-speed vans with automatic doors that open like magic. Gone are the days of being taken out to restaurant meals every night, and clear communication with folks who actually believe (however deceived they might be) that I am an intelligent human being.
Today, I awakened to the reality that I am the village idiot.
Since I speak Hungarian on roughly a four year old level, the villagers have come to accept me as a mental four year old. And today I lived up to their expectations. It began when I dropped the girls off at Ovoda (Hungarian Kindergarten) and found the entire class, including the teacher, decked out in fine white shirts and black pants -- the traditional special event attire.
They had to tell me three times before I figured out they wanted me to go home and get appropriate attire for my girls. Thankfully, they are patient and generous toward the village idiot, and one of the teachers let me borrow her bike so I could make the trip across the village and back before they departed for the event.
Following this scramble, I proceeded into the day's tasks, stopping off at the village "Gummi Szerviz," or "Tire Service" shop. The adorable little old man, clad in blue work overalls, listened patiently as I slowly, painstakingly explained I would be buying summer tires in the city today and I wanted him to put them on this afternoon. His gray eyes began to glaze over as I struggled to construct the sentence. It was as if he were thinking, "By the time you get this horrendously constructed sentence out, you won't need summer tires, because it will be winter again!"
It can be humbling to be the village idiot. It can be frustrating when no one understands your words, and everyone doubts your mental capabilities.
But I would not trade it for a dozen Americas. For all the enticing things America has, for me there is something grander and more alluring in the simplicity of Hungarian village life, and serving God in its midst -- even as the village idiot.
So, it is good to be home in Hungary again, or as I would say it in what I suspect is very poor Hungarian, "Nagyon jó van lenni otthon Mikepércsen!"