It’s the little things…

Richie and I always say that Winston is a little dog with a big heart. Winston disagrees that he’s a little dog, and he makes this clear by regularly getting up in the faces (or… other places…) of the biggest dogs in the dog park. You may remember when we first moved here and Winston lost a little bit of ear. Well, today he repeated himself and managed to irritate the sweetest, gentlest black Labrador in the park into tackling him. How? By doing the traditional schnauzer howl. Winston has been famous amongst the Hungarians at the dog park for his “please pay attention to me” howl – whenever he lets one out, all of the people at the dog park join in and imitate him. It’s actually pretty hilarious. The black Lab didn’t think so, though, and decided to put him in his place.

Winston is of course fine – after making a few of the saddest little puppy whimpers I’ve ever heard, he went right back to the dog that attacked him and started playing – but it made me realize that we don’t have some of the typical first-aid supplies on hand like hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol for disinfecting. So I asked Richie to ask his team where to get those things. They confirmed that you have to request it from behind the counter at the pharmacy. This wasn’t a surprise, since all US over-the-counter medications and solutions (even Advil and contact lens solution, for example) are behind the counter here in Hungary. Many of the people working in the pharmacy don’t speak English, but I Google-Translated (yep, that’s a verb now :)) “hydrogen peroxide” into Hungarian and came up with “hidrogén-peroxid”, and “alchohol” was “alkohol”, so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem.

However, what I got when I asked for that was this:


It’s a far cry from the standard 16-ounce bottles you get in the USA. It never occurred to me that rubbing alcohol would be mixed locally by the pharmacy, or that hydrogen peroxide could come in tablet form. The pharmacist managed to mime to me that I should put 3 tablets in a small amount of water to disinfect cuts. (Miming and pointing is seriously how I get 75% of things done here… it’s surprisingly effective.)

This is just another one of those things that takes longer here than it does in the US, though. One of my fellow Americans says that she follows the rule of 3 here – for everything that she could do easily in one attempt in the US, it takes at least 3 tries, or at least 3 times as long, when you’re living in a foreign country. I absolutely agree with that. In Texas, I would just run to Walgreens, grab a giant bottle of rubbing alcohol and of hydrogen peroxide off the shelf, and check-out 30 seconds later. Here, I definitely save time by walking one block rather than having to drive a few miles and park, but that’s more than offset by waiting in line for a pharmacist, trying to explain in broken Hungarian what I want, and trying to understand what I’m being given!


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