Our First EffortWe were all pretty nervous when we first gathered on that June Saturday morning. On the forty minute drive into Budapest to pick up the crew, Janos was silent, but I talked nervously. One by one we picked up the team: Andras Suranyi a skilled camera man; Vince Kapcsos, a calm and competant sound man; Bernadette Frivalski, a talented interviewer; Janos Erdos of the Ars Longa Foundation; and me. Of the five, four were Hungarian, and the other one could speak very little Hungarian and understand only a little more. Can you guess who? Language was just the most obvious sign of the cultural differences soon to emerge.
|The Haller Castle ~ One View|
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
~ Psalm 77: 9 NIV
So far, if you have read the posts, you may have received the impression that everything was sweetness and light. To be honest, it wasn’t. Puzzled looks, averted gazes, embarrassed silence, sleepless nights, occasional inclusion of scatological language, and excessive use of antacids were all signs that in spite of our good intentions, being a team would not be easy. Limited by my personality and my cultural blinders, I had made assumptions about the interview strategy. My assumptions were not shared. Communication was complicated and sometimes tense – and that’s putting it mildly. I didn’t sleep much that first night; it would not be the last.
With apologies to the skeptics out there, I can say that whenever I was acutely uncomfortable in my producer role and ready to pack it in, an angel appeared. The first was Sonja Henderson, a Canadian English teacher living and working in Cluj-Napoca (in Hungarian, Kolozsvar). I was especially relieved when she agreed to accompany us for a few days.