Learning curve living abroad 2 – shopping

When I moved to Hungary, the nightmare was to go to the supermarket on the weekends.

I spent hours looking for things, trying to read packages in strange languages to me, looking for products that it doesn’t exist here!

In my second month here, my friend Renata who lives in Frankfurt came over to help me. And we went shopping together. With her I learned thousand of things that are completly different from my home country. For example, laundry.

In Europe, the water is rich in calc (in portuguese is Calcario). This is the reason why at the shower or any piece of metal gets withe stains. Also the kettle to boil water and the coffee machines accumulate a discusting crust into the water reservoir very fast, no matter how often you clean it!

Then, Renata told me I should laundry my clothes with soap, softner and add a substance called anti-calc on it to “clean” the water. If you don’t do that, in 3 months your clothes are gone and also your laundry machine soon goes to hell as well.

For 1 year I bought the powder soap, the softner and the famous Calgon. Until when I got a cleaning lady to come over once a week.

One day she asked me to buy a product called “softner” and she explained me what was that for.

Of course I knew what was that!!! I have been using it for years! I am the household Godness! And I showed her the cabinet where I stocked plenty of softner at home.

To my astonishment she said: “noooo Mrs Graziela! This is not softner, this is liquid soap! You have been laundry your clothes with double soap and no softner! Luckly you didn’t destroyed any so far!”

I have no words to describe my feeling at that time. I was a numb in a foreign world!

But this is not only for me. My father in law came to visit us and he bought butter instead of yogurt… Luckly at time my Hungarian and my experiance progressed a litle and I could prevent him to eat it! 🙂

There are some produts that are still hard to buy it. For example flour. The paper package doesn’t help at all! Water as well. Who knows that pink is still, blue is sparkling and green… Well, green concep even exist in Brazil. The green is the mild or medium sparkling! We have to try, always!

Also the products are organized in a completly different logic here in comparison to Brazil. For example, in Brazil, tomato sauce and pasta are always neighbours. Not always in Hungary. Also the cheese and the ham are not even close to each other. The cheese is close to jogurts. The ham is close to the salsiches and meat. (Did you get the chain of custody concept in here?) 🙂

The good is that all the promotions are always together in special shelves, you can go direct there and only go to the ordinary shelves if you don’t find the product you need. Good for the consumers!

By the way, I am still looking for some products everytime I go to the supermarket. How the Hungarians say, ki tudja (Who knows) one day I will find it?

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.


  1. #1 by Estela on January 17, 2013 - 9:43 pm

    It would be funny if it were not so tragic. Cause you could drink arsenic poison instead of soft drink, if you buy by mistake. rsrsrsrsrsrsrs Anyway, I believe in learning by stumbles. They are instant fixes and everlasting. You’ll never forget them.
    Congratulations for your brave survival in so different (and lovely) country!!!

    • #2 by grazielaa on January 17, 2013 - 9:48 pm

      That is true! thanks! 🙂

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great hungarian plain

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