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Can I trust you?

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You might trust a stranger to hold your place in line, but would you trust a strange man to watch your kids while you use the bathroom at a crowded zoo? Not that Dave is strange, but when I (Jenn) found him with these extra kids I was pretty surprised. I filed that experience away with the others I have had with Hungarians and varying levels of trust in strangers. Here's what we have learned about how Hungarians trust strangers so far. There are many reasons for these varying levels of trust. For example, it is our understanding that in Hungarian culture it is unthinkable to harm a child, the safety of children is a community responsibility and child predators are nearly unheard of, so it might make sense to trust a stranger to keep track of your kid for a few minutes. However instances of non-violent theft and burglary are abundant so it is reasonable to by suspicious of anyone near your things.

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Interestingly, property in Budapest must, by law, be encircled by a fence. By contrast, in the western U.S. anyone can walk right up to your front door, and if you live in Wyoming, it's only locked to keep the wind out.

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Many homes in Hungary are also protected by these exterior blinds which roll down and lock at night. Sun goes down – Boom! – Fort Knox.

According to car insurance regulations, our car must have two levels of security in use whenever it is parked. Therefore our car spends the night behind our locked gate, in the locked garage, with locked doors and an armed alarm and a club on the steering wheel. In Cheyenne I didn't even remember to lock our van half the time it was in the apartment’s parking lot. Business men will go out of their way to help a mother get a stroller on the bus and older women

will feed your kids chocolate, but use an unzipped purse downtown? You might as well as just toss your electronics into the Danube. If a frantic woman rings at your gate asking to come inside to escape men who are chasing her, you would be advised by Hungarians, even Christian Hungarians, to keep the gate closed. This is a disturbing reality. Unfortunately, you can’t trust unexpected strangers at your gate because they may be attempting to get through your gate and rob you.

We’re still figuring out how to navigate urban life in a prudent and Christ-like manner. Like many parts of cross-cultural living we find contradictions at every turn. Do you have any urban-life experience to share with us? What is the strangest thing a stranger has trusted you with? Chime in on our facebook page!

#Trust #Theft

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