You are probably wondering what the title of this post means, unless you are Hungarian, and then you know. It is the same thing as the American saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” This saying basically means when someone gives you something, or offers you something, and you need help, don’t question their motives or abilities. Why would I bring this proverb up, and why would I post it in Hungarian? Valid questions that I promise to answer by the end of this post.
Today my husband and I (along with the girls of course) drove a friend to the airport in her car. We are in Hungary for a month, and since we have lived here before, the drive up the small highway triggered a flash back of our induction into family traveling. I wish I could say that it is a good memory, but at least we got home at all.
We decided to take a trip into the closest big city the second day we were in Hungary to get a few groceries that we couldn’t find in the village, so we took a bus. There were a few other Bible college students with us, and one of the students had his mother with him. They asked if they could come along, and we said sure, because we didn’t think the day was going to be a big deal. Wrong. It ended up being Hungarian Labor Day and the bus schedule was all messed up. We did our shopping and returned to our bus stop, only to find that three hours later, a bus had not come. My husband, Travis (an experienced traveler), suggested that we take a bus going the wrong way because he knew there was a main bus station one stop away, and we would definitely be able to take a bus from the main bus station. It was a very reasonable suggestion and it would have kept us out of the bad situation we ended up in, but the student’s mother refused, and Travis didn’t want to split up the group. So we continued to wait for a bus that finally came several more hours later.
The only problem was the bus that we got on stopped one whole stop before our stop, and the bus driver told us to get off because it was the last stop. We still had 4 km to go until the village, and it was super dark. Not knowing what to do, we started walking. Travis was carrying Ksena, who was 2&1/2 at the time, and I was carrying Katienne, who was only 9 weeks old. We realized walking was not the smartest move because there was no where to walk on the side of the highway because there were ditches on either side, and walking on the highway was very dangerous because there were no street lights. All of the cars on the road that night were whizzing big rigs that were ignoring the speed limit. I have to admit, I was pretty desperate at that point. My arms were aching and both of the children were crying. Did I really need a broom this badly?
Finally, a car stopped next to us. I thought it was going to be to yell at us for walking on the road, but Travis recognized the man. The bus driver had gone and dropped the bus off and came to pick us up in his car!! I could hear the hallelujah chorus! Travis and I climbed in the car with the girls on our laps and one of the students got into the car with us. The mother of one of the students convinced her child and two of the other students that it was too dangerous to get into the car, and the guy could be a serial killer. Travis tried to explain that it was the bus driver, but she wouldn’t listen, and they outright refused to get into the car. All the way home I couldn’t help but think, “I could not have walked this far in these conditions.” And all we could say was, “Muchas gracias!!” Our new friend and hero couldn’t speak any English, and we couldn’t speak any Hungarian, but we could all speak a little Spanish. He offered to take Travis to get the others by gesturing, and Travis went with him. The others finally, upon seeing Travis had not been maliciously murdered, got into the car and took the 3km ride back to the college.
All this to say that traveling is not risk free. You might find yourself in a sticky situation. I’m not saying you should hand over your passport to anyone who seems nice, but if you need help, don’t refuse when it seems like someone is genuinely going out of their way with your best interest at heart. Hence the Hungarian proverb that titles this post. Ajándék lónak ne nézd a fogát! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.