Seasoned Expat Experiences
I pushed the door open to the small hairsalon. “Tessék?”, a lady said, turning from making a client’s hair to face me.

In that moment, I realized that I had no idea how to say that I wanted a haircut – but then, isn’t that obvious in a hair salon? “Egy rendelöt szeretnék”, I said. “Most jó? (I would like an appointment. Does now work? !!! No idea whether this is correct, but you can get an appointment that way) The lady laughed. No, they didn’t have any slots available right now. “Pénteken? 10 órákor?” I tried again. That time was good, she said. Proud to have arranged this in Hungarian, I said:” Viszóntlátásra!” (Good bye) and left.

The next Monday, I arrived at 10am sharp – and did a double-take. “How can it be closed?”, I asked myself in bewilderment. Then it dawned on me. I had asked for an appointment “Pénteken” – and that means Friday. Monday means “hétfő”, and “on Monday” is “hétfőn”. I was embarassed. They had waited for me in vain.

I have to admit that I never went back to apologize – I didn’t know how to say it. The same day, I found another hairdresser nearby who had an open slot right away. While she was cutting, the hairdresser and talked a mix of Henglish (Hungarian and English), completed by words that we looked up on our cellphones. Three months later, I needed another haircut – and returned to her. By now, we can really talk together!

Good to know:

Friday – péntek
On Friday – pénteken
Monday – hétfő
On Monday – hétfőn

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