It is statutory to experience culture shocks when you move to a new city or country, and as expected, I looked forward to the new experiences in Budapest. But a part of me low-key thought I had seen it all when I moved to Lagos, Nigeria. That city shook me so much that I was traumatized at some point, so I could have sworn that Lagos is undefeated but I was wrong. While Lagos will continue to lead in some things, Budapest seems to be following closely behind but with some good things though.
I’ve only been in Budapest for a few weeks so I might not have seen it all, but here are some culture shocks that you’ll probably experience if, or when you come here.
1. Public Display of Affection (PDA)
I was at the bus stop the very first time I witnessed a couple make out in public. I thought it was a joke at first because I mean, they should be shy that people were standing next to them but these people could care less. I thought maybe it was just those ones that had ‘no shame’ until I began to see couples making out unapologetically everywhere that fit in the public category. And you know the more shocking thing? Every other person went about their business like it was nothing.
You guessed right, I’ve also started minding my business.
2. Buying plastic/paper bags
If you are Nigerian, then you’ll probably know that ‘nylon bags’ as we popularly call them are free but the reverse is the case here. I found it weird when the cashier at a store asked me if I would need plastic bags for my groceries. Excuse me? In my head, I was like where else would I put these things? (Read it as an African mother asking if she should put them on her head).
Since I thought they were free, I asked for three plastic bags and I also watched my bill increase, lol. So now, I carry a plastic bag in my handbag because who wants to go about buying plastic bags every time? Not me!
3. Packing groceries
You, my friend, will pack your groceries by yourself! Theirs is to scan and collect your money and that’s it. I remember going to buy some home essentials and my friend told me we had to pack the things by ourselves. I thought maybe we had to do that ourselves because those things we bought were heavy and very much until I went to get smaller groceries. The cashier must have thought I was weird because I kept on staring at her, expecting her to pack them for me. Jokes on me!
For someone like me that moved from Lagos, Nigeria, I would only see people smoke at parties or in some coded places. The only ones that you would see smoking by the roadside or in public are the ‘agberos’ so it was a real culture shock when I started seeing people smoke everywhere.
Do you know what shocked me the most? Everyone here smokes, literally! Yes, the grannies and the corporate folks are inclusive! If it’s not cigarettes, then it’s vaping or anything else that I might not know right now.
5. Car honking
Since I’ve gotten to Budapest, I have only heard a car horn once or twice and I’m not joking. There were a couple of times when the Lagos driver in me would feel the bus driver should blast the horn on a sluggish driver but no, the drivers here would wait patiently instead. I trust my Lagos drivers, not only will they forget their hands on their car horns, but they’ll also dash you a few curses and abuses after, lol. I feel drivers in Lagos need to come and learn here though.
6. Pedestrian traffic light
For some like me who would rather cross the road rather than use the pedestrian bridge back in Lagos and it was normal, it was a culture shock for me when I got here and saw people waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green before crossing the road. I mean, the road is free guys, no car is coming so can’t we just cross the road?
I don’t know if there’s a penalty for not waiting but one thing I know is that you’ll look insane if you run the lights. So, thank you Budapest for teaching me patience.
7. Nose blowing in public
I intentionally left this as my last point because of all the culture shocks, this one in particular has left me in shambles. How on earth is it okay to blow your nose on the bus with people beside you? If you are so uncomfortable and you have to blow your nose, why then do it loudly like you are blowing a trumpet?
The first time I witnessed it, I was so disgusted. This man blew his nose so loudly with just one tissue up to 4 times and kept putting back the tissue in his pocket. I kept wondering why every other person was calm except me because the people on the bus didn’t even flinch.
Budapest is a beautiful place to be and I still sometimes feel like I’m living in a movie but nothing prepared me for some of these culture shocks. I know that the longer I stay here, the more new things I will experience so I’ll keep looking forward to them.
Before you leave, tell me some of the culture shocks you’ve experienced in the comment section, and show me I’m not alone in this. You should also read some other posts before you leave but start with this.
Till I’m back with more about living in Hungary, cheers.