Ups and downs of living abroad

especially if you do not know how to pronounce stations

It has been over a year since I made the decision to leave my home country and as I describe it on my Twitter, emigrate from the Czech Republic in search of a worse country, currently residing in Budapest, Hungary.

But what did the past year bring to me and what did I lose?

And was it actually a good idea to move from Eastern Europe (that Czechs like to refer to as Central Europe) to Eastern Europe (that Hungarians like to refer to as Central Europe, too)?

What I gained:

1. New city

Budapest is beautiful, it reminds me so much of Paris, especially when I walk down the Andrassy avenue to Hosok Tere (walk it with me). It also keeps the warm Prague feeling and for architecture geek and detail lover, Budapest is certainly a place for multiple visits.

View from Buda to Pest side
View from Buda to Pest side

Thanks to our regular pub crawls, I am also not getting lost anymore. Good feeling.

2. New job

After almost 5 years in Exxonmobil, I decided to move  on and get a bit of less virtual and more real job. We will see what the coming months bring.

3. New friends

I think I am an incredibly lucky person (perhaps because I was born on Sunday?) in terms of people that I meet throughout the life.

My last years in Prague were in the sign of debaters and believe me or not, it is hard to find friends that would match up so greatly as the geeks I used to hang around with when back at home. But all the Csabai people (no, this does not refer to people eating famous sausages, but to a Hungarian city) and the office people, the new faces such as Dori or Akos and the old faces of Zsolt, Csilla and Gene have been very nice with me.

The biggest paradox is that I would have bet my shoes into that I would be spending time with my old work friends I knew when I was still working from Prague, but I don’t. No regrets.

There is always more to read:  Budapest things to do and know to avoid troubles

4. New life situations

This would add up at least for one blog post alone, but I learnt for example that it is not easy to deal with bureaucracy in a language you don’t speak (basic and obvious, I know), that talking to the doctor in English might be challenging too and that when I take the public transport, I am always trying to figure out where would that particular bus take me rather than when exactly does it go (as this is kind of a secondary problem).

especially if you do not know how to pronounce stations
Navigating through a city can get hard

5. New language

I speak hell lot of languages, ranging from Slavic, Germanic to Romanic, but what was missing in my collection was a Finno-ugric one. I have taken part in 2 Berlitz courses so far, reaching the level 2 Hungarian with excellent results.

One thing is classroom practice, other is the ability to use the language in everyday situations, which I have to admit is going surprisingly well. I am starting to understand things around me, which is the biggest joy of learning a language.

Hungarian alphabet has 44 letters (Czech 42)
Hungarian alphabet has 44 letters (Czech 42)

What I lost:

1. Not much, actually really nothing exta special
2. Some friends, but probably they were not worth it
3. Insight in Czech politics (and I don’t regret)

What I miss:

1. My friends and family

That one is pretty self explanatory, my family misses me, I miss them, to their benefit, I am now actually coming home more often than I used to when I was sharing the same country with them. This is a good thing and I suggest everybody to spend more time with the family, because they deserve it.

It is harder with my friends as most of them don’t share the same place as my family, most of them have moved on, some of them did not really want to stay friends when I emigrated, which I fully understand and tolerate with heavy heart. I am trying to keep some sort of contact and I try to come couple of times a year.

There is always more to read:  Hungarians are so brave for surviving this

Sadly enough, very little of them came to visit me in Budapest. I feel already quite repetitive proposing everybody back at home to come see me and they never do. But why? Laziness?

2. Debating

I miss coaching and training, did not realize how this feeling of passing on my knowledge and experience is actually fulfilling when I was actively doing that.

I am still trying to come regularly to the Debate League tournaments, this season I made it to 3 of them (!!!) and I am still involved with running the organization, so I probably mostly miss being on the spot, helping out with real tasks and not just the online ones.

3. Magnesia and other shopping basket items

Seeing my family very often usually means that I am driving more and with the car I am able to do big shopping and import items that I miss to Hungary.

Surprisingly, this is  mostly mineral water (yes, water) Magnesia and Kofola. I rarely forget to buy tvarůžky and medicine as it has different market names in local pharmacies.

4. Reporter and Reflex, new books

I used to rush every Thursday off to the newsstand to buy Reflex and was happy that I could continue buying the printed magazine here in Budapest (until they cancelled the distribution almost a year ago).

Lately, however, Reflex has lost its attractivity to me and I devoted myself totally to the Reporter magazine. Partly, because it contains a bit more elaborate and interesting articles, partly Reflex became a bit of tabloid and the cultural section that I was seeking for, is actually much better in Reporter. Long story short, I got digital subscription and the real printed Reporter is making my grandma happy every month.

BookwormThanks to Reporter, I am actually able to track new must read books, sadly enough, I am not able to buy them instantly. Instead, whenever I go to the Czech Republic, I am coming with a long list of books that I totally need to buy. All this results in no free space in my library. I guess, that’s life.

There is always more to read:  Why I left Budapest (2/2)

5. My bday celebration

All life long stigma of having a birthday on 23rd December has been even multiplied when I moved abroad. Now, there is really a zero chance to throw a big bday party on the actual day.

I guess, celebrating will never get out of fashion and I could do a summer half buli.

8 Replies to “Ups and downs of living abroad”

  1. Well, was there ever any chance of throwing a B-Day party on the actual day?
    I’ve been experiencing something similar as my birthday is on December 25. Try that one ;-).

    1. katechka says: Reply

      Well, when I think of it, I actually managed to celebrate here in Hungary on the exact day.
      And yeah, 25th December is also not a big hit, but lately there has been this trend to escape the family harmony already on the Christmas Eve and go for a beer 🙂

  2. You learn Hungarian? Hats off! Indeed, family and friends are the ones I miss here in Belgium too, but it motivates me to see them quite often and it leads to more quality time spent together. And I also buy sometimes the printed Reflex here in Brussels 😉 They sell it 200m from my office and it makes me feel for a little moment that I am not abroad… Courage!

  3. So nice! Looks like a great trip. And your friend seems to live right arnuod the corner from my work. I pass by there every day. so funny to see it here now.

  4. We lived in Japan for four years and it was so special. Living abroad changes your perspective on many things. I love seeing the gorgeous photos of Budapest and wish you the best with your new job and new city. Linking with you today at Coffee for Your Heart.

    1. Hi Ginger,
      Thanks a lot for this comment, I am new to blogging and linking parties, but I am really happy that it works and attracts engaged readers. I would love to visit Japan one day!
      Wishing you a nice day full of great letters and words, Katechka

  5. Hi Katechka, I’m linking with you at Coffee for your Heart — nice to meet you! I just came back from a trip to Italy this summer so your travel topic hooked me! Loved reading about your thoughts and I applaud you for making this change! Look forward to reading more — blessings to you!

    1. Oh, Valerie!
      Thanks a lot for stopping by and for dropping me a comment. I am new to linking, but will for sure check out your site too!
      Wishing you a nice rest of the day!

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