Living In “The Abroad”

Posted: November 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell Babz – sorry I mean Mr. Black – was thinking, giving a spot on your lovely blog space to some incompetent female who can barely make correct grammatical clauses. Well, you’re not alone. I was sure Mr Black was out of his mind when he made that international call with his hard earned naira, asking some girl whose blog is STILL on Blogspot, and who fancies herself a poet because she puts some words together every once in forever, to hop on board La Critique. Since he’s being such a stupid hero (I hope I don’t fail my probation because of my quick tongue), I might as well give it a shot. No?

As for the title, I’m basically just fine-tuning my pretext of being an “aspiring” writer. I have to make it convincing, you know. The definite article I inserted before the word “abroad” is no accident. It’s actually how we fondly refer to our little prison in Eastern Europe, where I am presently incarcerated. What I’m serving time for is another story for another day – if Mr. Black gives me another shot. I thought it would be nice to intimate you on the little bits and pieces of my current existence in Hungary. Yes Hungary. And If I get the “Are you hungry?” joke one more time, I’m sure I’ll commit manslaughter or at least aggravated assault. You should know I’m a very happy girl/lady/woman/female – except when I have had enough of stuff I deem to be crap!

One thing that really irks me about Hungary: the brazen faced elderly, sometimes young men, who ogle my goodies. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m not exactly boring to look at; so what’s even more disturbing than the ogling, is that they can’t speak English, but they can manage a few badly constructed sentences to request I follow them home to have sex. Really? Did I just fly halfway around the world to have sex with morons who can’t even hold a decent conversation to start with? Back in Nigeria I wouldn’t have to worry about getting arrested if I decided to slap them. Here, different story. Some girls even get a preview of what instruments these idiotic men plan to work with. I have not been unlucky. Thank God.

Then, there are the passive-aggressive racists riding around town, many employed in the transportation sector. Till you’ve been left at the bus stop in winter just because you’re the only one planning to get on the bus and you are black, don’t doubt me. Getting off the bus is even more horrendous. You’d be on a bus and press the stop sign, but since none of the “massas” is getting down, the bus will keep moving. On the tram it’s different. The driver could refuse to let you on if it’s too early or really late. As for the ticket checkers, I’m still toying with the idea of tearing my top and then falsely accusing one of them of sexual harassment. It would be worth the confusion on the idiot’s face, but I would be risking serious hell.

Let me share an experience. Early on a Saturday morning I was the last in line to get on the bus. As I tried to hop on, the female driver was shutting the doors. Everyone else looked surprised when I hit the doors to let her know I was still trying to get on. The Winch just looked at me and I swear she gave me this evil smile that said “You lose sucker” before driving off. That moment was so epic it could have had its own soundtrack. Something mournful like Sia’s “My love” would have cut it.

On to Hungarian food. The salt is enough to preserve your insides after tearing away at your lips and oral mucosa. It’s enough to make you suspect your ex works in the kitchen. (As for me, all my exes love me! * fixes halo with super glue*). The first time I had popcorn at the cinema, I got blisters on my lip. I switched to tortilla chips after that. Man shall not live by popcorn alone. You can’t get sweet popcorn unless you add sugar yourself. It’s either salt, or butter (which is really just salt with a tiny bit of butter). Last year some evil genius came up with the idea of coating popcorn in caramel and selling a quarter of a small pack of regular popcorn for the same price! Caramel is just burnt sugar. If I knew how to, I’d caramelize my own kernels at home too.

Another thing about Hungary, is that as a nation they are very lazy *cough* I mean laid back. It is beyond belief. Any proof I give here would probably wind up seeming like I am cooking up wild tales to give my piece some shock value. I don’t rate shock value very highly. It’s a tool for lazy under-achievers. See what I did there? I tried to get away with stating a point and not backing it up with evidence. I instead chose to convince you that the proof is so beyond ordinary, it would interfere with the believability of this piece. The only thing that is open in Hungary 24 hours as far as I know, is Tesco, and they close on Bank Holidays. Bankers get one-hour lunch breaks and still close mega early. Shops in the malls close by 7pm latest, and only food places are open till late. Late being 11pm.There are a few exceptions, like the non-stop shops. They have saved countless lives and deserve a spot in heaven if you ask me.

Debrecen is a university town, and Hungary’s second largest city. We prefer to call it Debre-hell. The weather here ranges from negative tens and twenties in winter, to high thirties in summer. I’m talking degrees Celsius here. With temperatures so extreme, this means your wardrobe as a girl would range from your birthday suit, to layers upon layers of fur (PETA members get over yourselves). My mother warned, “Don’t pack any light clothes. You can’t use them. Hungary is cold”. She was half right. It’s also as hot as hell in summer. Plus, you can never be prepared for the chill of winter after a summer that makes you fear heat exhaustion every year. Who knew Europe could be hotter than Lagos? If you don’t get the Debrehell reference by now, please just stop reading.

I know I basically complained about Hungary in this article. But I’ll admit there are a lot of things to love about it too. I’ll talk about those in my next piece. In my defense, almost all the articles I’ve read here were either written by really angry people or at least they had me convinced. I decided to follow suit. Can’t be setting new trends as the new kid in school. If by some stroke of luck the board lets me write again, you can look forward to some form of good cheer from me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my article will be filled with daisies and rainbows, but I’ll type in the words “good cheer” at the end.


Authored by Phara,

Phara is one of our authors here at La Critique and can be reached at
Follow her on Twitter @Ehpeaphany

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Debrecen University

Debrecen University

  1. ShookyP says:

    Una too dey blow grammar!

  2. dochtorjack says:

    definitely expecting daisies, rainbows and lots of “good cheer”, when next we get a glimpse of “debre-hell”

  3. she who must NOT be named says:

    Too much grammar? Wow. Then we really should thank La Critique for giving us English lessons. We should also ask Google to include “English (Dumbed Down)” as part of their languages on Google Translate. Smh.

    @Phara: I do not envy you at aaaall. Debre-hell! Lmao!

  4. vivaLaGlam says:

    beautiful beautiful beautiful write up!!!….this makes me want to pick up a dictionary and work on my “vocab” loool…….would be reading blogs more if people wrote like this! *applause*

  5. nanella says:

    u r sooooooooooooooooo…………….damn…..right…

  6. Cee says:

    I LOVED THIS! Found it engaging. I’m quite surprised at the “too much grammar” comment. LOL.
    I like the way you write: kinda loose without losing the reader. Looking forward to the next post that’ll end with ‘good cheer’ 😀
    p.s Nigeria’s waiting for you 😉 can’t have you ODing on salt 😐

  7. adeola says:

    Hummmmmmm daz kul

  8. kunle olawale says:

    Great stuff!

  9. jiraiya says:

    Eastern Europe really is crappy,I gotta admit nd YES dear,we hav some angry writers here esp ‘she’ that has ‘ee’ in her name or is it ‘ss’! Hehehe. Nice piece! Black doesn’t have a choice but to keep U!

    • Fariwonda says:

      Eastern Europe has its perks too like any other place.About the ‘ angry writers’ line, I wasnt taking shots at anyone in particular.Sometimes passion often comes off as anger.Thanks for the compliment and I hope my bosses see this comment.LOL

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