Before I came to Hungary, I didn’t really have any expectations. I mean, you always have some expectations, don’t you? But simply said, I just felt like going abroad again and even though I had never planned to go to Budapest, when, all of a sudden, the job offer landed on my lap, I took it as a new challenge and opportunity to experience something new in my life (go to What the heck am I doing in Budapest if you want to know the beginning of the story). After two and a half years, I can say….it was absolutely worth it! Moving to Budapest was one of the best decisions (after Erasmus) in my life, no matter what my life brings me in the future.
I’m gonna be honest with you, I got a job offer but I didn’t really move there for work. In fact, I also knew I accepted a job I wouldn’t like, but at the end I don’t regret at all. It was good experience anyway. I spent two and a half years working in corporations, I didn’t develop myself much but either way I gained some experience, got to know new people, earned good money, and mainly found out that this isn’t the road I want to go down in my life. But more importantly, I had a great time, traveled a lot, met plenty of new people, made new friends and tried out new things. It was in Budapest where I started practicing yoga (greetings to my favorite yoga teacher 😎 ) and became acquainted with meditations. Believe it or not, for the first time in my life I also ice-skated on the winter ice rink in the Budapest city park. With a bunch of people I went caving and played an Escape Room game. I attended salsa and tango classes (hello to my favorite tango teacher 😎 )!
However, based on the arguments mentioned in the previous post and other personal reasons, the time has come for me to leave this awesome city as well. I know that I’m really, really, really going to miss this city a lot, and the moment I leave is going to be painful, but I’ve just gotten to the point where I feel the city doesn’t have anything new to offer to me and it’s time to move on….
I can’t emphasize more that this city is great, but I think it’s difficult to live a happy life here. I think I could possibly live in Budapest, but I couldn’t live in Hungary. In other words, if Budapest was in a “Western” country, or at least in the Czech Republic (we like to consider ourselves a Western country 😛 ), I can imagine myself living here. Everybody has different expectations and I know you might see it differently, but comparing to other European countries (and to some extent also CZ), Hungary is in many ways still a post-communist, developing country with too many significant shortcomings and big difference between “the rich” and “the poor”, as they say. And the big difference you can already see if go just a bit out of the center.
With a couple of my friends, whether locals or foreigners, we agreed that if you have a well paid job (above average salary, let’s say), you are healthy and everything is working fine, you can have a pretty cool life here. However, once something doesn’t work out, and it does happen quite often in Hungary, you may get into real trouble. Unless you have lots of money. Because money solves everything here. The whole social and political system in Hungary is ridiculous. You pay many, and at the same time pretty high, taxes but in case you get ill or lose your job, the state doesn’t give a flying crap about you. With the state benefits you get you can’t survive. If you have money, you can pay a better lawyer in case of an issue, have a better doctor, bribe a policeman, politician or whoever else who can get you out of the troubles (Hungary is unfortunately “famous” for being a very corrupted country), and last but not least buy much better food. And talking about food, this is another thing I could no longer take. I don’t want to criticize the Hungarian cuisine again 🙂 , but generally speaking, the quality of the food you get in Hungary is ghastly (no matter what Hungarians say) and if you add to that the low quality of healthcare…no wonder everybody here is sick all the time. And lastly, let me just remind the bureaucracy and administrative processes and burdens you have to go through whenever you need to obtain some card (they love cards), register something or so. Everything takes damn ages.
All in all, I do not want to deter anyone! Definitely come and see! I’m opening the door to new things and adventures in Prague. I can always come back soon. And I will be back soon!