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.
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.
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).
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.
What I lost:
1. Not much, actually really nothing exta special
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.
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?
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.
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.
Thanks 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.
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.