The Same, Only Better: How I Moved To Budapest And Live As I Lived

A life 2022

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The Same, Only Better: How I Moved To Budapest And Live As I Lived
The Same, Only Better: How I Moved To Budapest And Live As I Lived

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Stories about moving to another country usually begin with the fact that a person wants to radically change something in his life. This story is not one of them. I do not even like the word “emigration” precisely because of the hysterical connotation that it acquired as a result of the dramatic changes of the twentieth century. You need to decide to emigrate, in emigration you need to suffer from bouts of nostalgia and reflect on the meaning of life. That is why I prefer the everyday word “move”.

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Moving to Budapest became the thirteenth in my life (unless, of course, I forgot something in the calculations). Before that, however, I only moved within Russia. Of course, like any dreamy girl, every point of the planet that I have visited, I tried to try on myself, like a dress - "but would I like to live here?" - and many times she answered this question to herself: "Yes, it would be great." However, this has always remained just a hypothetical thinking - I never thought about really living abroad.

Moreover, one fine day I decided at all that it was necessary to gradually tie up with moving and buy my own apartment. I had just become a mother, having switched to the troubled bread of a freelancer about this, for the first time in my life I became terribly afraid of instability and began to save money in a panic for a down payment on a mortgage. I began to read "CIAN" with interest in the morning and ask my acquaintances which of the dormitory districts of Moscow is prettier than my brothers. Golyanovo or Koptevo? Perovo or Printers? Elk platform or Mark platform? One opportunity is more tempting than the other!

This continued until I thought: why do I need to finally settle in Moscow? I'm a freelancer now, so what the hell? For example, Peter … After a while, spent studying the real estate market in St. Petersburg, the thought rushed even further - why, in fact, do I limit myself to Russia? After all, the proletarian, as K. Marx and F. Engels said, has nothing to lose except his chains - he will gain the whole world.

I didn't have to think long about where to move - well, of course, to Prague. She was on the list of my “here-would-I-lived” cities, the procedure for moving to the Czech Republic was generally known to me, a whole bunch of my friends and acquaintances already lived there. I switched to Czech real estate websites and signed up for an online Czech language course at Charles University. Changed all the random link in the Facebook feed to the "Posters" article. Completely unfamiliar people told me about their experience of moving to Budapest. I might have forgotten this article in five minutes, but it mentioned apartment prices (about the size of my planned first mortgage payment) and had a link to the Hungarian analogue of CIAN (it's time to admit that real estate sites are my RedTube).

The long-term rental market in Budapest is about as wild as the Moscow one, except that the prices are twice as low

After about a couple of days, I, a person who had never been to Hungary and did not know anyone who lives in Hungary, decided to move not just anywhere, namely to Budapest. Six months later, I flew to Budapest for the first time in my life, fell in love with it (not at first sight, I must admit, but on the third day), three months later I became the owner of my first apartment in my life, and six months later I moved into this apartment with daughter and three hundred kilograms of luggage (240 of them were books). A year and a half has passed since then. I am now friends with the guys who wrote that article.

The very process of buying an apartment in Budapest is quite simple. An agent is not required for this, but a lawyer is needed. First, you follow the offers on that very local analogue of "CIAN", choose the ones that you like, sign up for views.If everything suits you, then you agree with the seller and, with the mediation of a lawyer, pay a deposit - 10% of the amount. After registration of the bail, the lawyer transfers your papers to the municipality - he must give permission to the foreigner to buy a specific apartment. When permission is received (usually this happens after a month), the date of the transaction is set.

Apartment prices in Budapest were ridiculously low until recently, but have recently risen markedly - thanks to the Airbnb boom. Right now, there seems to be no home in the city center that doesn't have at least one Airbnb apartment, and in areas like the Jewish Quarter, permanent residents are often in the minority among tourists. As for the long-term rental market, in Budapest it is about as wild as in Moscow, except that the prices are two times lower.

Budapest houses, as a rule, are very beautiful and often very neglected in appearance: the communications are monitored very closely, but they are looking for money for the repair of facades in the last place. Falling off plaster and bullet holes left on the walls since 1956, or even since 1944, are trifles on which the eye no longer even fixes. However, it must be admitted that every year the city has more and more facades, neatly put in order.

For something to be demolished here, the house must have finally turned into ruins, otherwise it will be preserved to the last. My apartment is located in a house built in 1873. He was already inhabited when the first trams appeared in Budapest, the first generation of children managed to grow up in it, when the first metro line on the European continent was stretched nearby, and he is still alive and feeling great. And this is not some kind of architectural monument, but a completely ordinary apartment building. In Moscow, I really missed such an attitude to antiquity.

As I said, in general, my life after the move is not much different from the life before the move. Unless it became easier to work, because my daughter went to kindergarten. Attending kindergartens in Hungary is mandatory from the age of three. In Budapest there is one private Russian-language kindergarten and a whole bunch of English or bilingual Anglo-Hungarian kindergartens. The problem is that 95% of them are located in Buda - this is where family expats prefer to settle, leaving Pest to careless bachelors. We live just in the central part of Pest, and, having figured out the different options, I decided to try an ordinary Hungarian municipal kindergarten. They are free (including for foreigners), you only need to pay for food, at the current exchange rate - about two thousand rubles a month.

You need to sign up for the kindergarten for the new school year at the beginning of May, but you should be admitted to the kindergarten to which your home is "assigned" even if you come later. Hungarian kindergartens are in many ways similar to Russian kindergartens (which, however, I judge only from the stories of friends), but they are more friendly to both children and parents. In our kindergarten there are mixed groups for children from three to six years old, and this turns out to be very cool: older children take care of the younger ones, and the younger ones follow the older ones. At first I thought that this is a common Hungarian practice, but the locals explained that this is an experimental direction, and in most kindergartens there are still ordinary groups for children of different ages.

People over 35 studied Russian at school, but it was taught in Soviet Hungary in much the same way as English was taught in Soviet schools

As you know, psychologists distinguish four stages of the adaptation process of emigrants: euphoria, disappointment, depression and acceptance. I did not notice any of them - for me, moving to another country turned out to be psychologically no more difficult than from Sukharevskaya to Tishinka. Of course, such a soft adaptation was facilitated not only by the fact that I did not change my lifestyle and work, but also the choice of the country: it must be admitted that Hungary is in many ways similar to Russia - as in a bad sense (corruption, dog lovers who do not clean up for with their pets,and the panel sixteen-story buildings inherited from the Soviet regime, giving some districts of Budapest a frightening resemblance to the conventional Altufiev), and in good (love for pickles, sour cream and curd cheese).

The Hungarian language could greatly complicate matters, but modern Budapest is a very cosmopolitan city, and you can speak English almost everywhere in it. People over 35 studied Russian at school, but in Soviet Hungary it was taught about the same as English in Soviet schools, so rarely anyone's vocabulary goes beyond the phrases “hello”, “goodbye”, “thank you” and “there are no absent in the class."

Rumors about the incredible complexity of the Hungarian language are spread mainly by English-speaking expats. That is, of course, it is really not the easiest one, but it is much easier for a Russian-speaking person to master his grammar and phonetics than for a person who speaks English - my Hungarian teacher confirms this. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I studied diligently, so in a year and a half I mastered the language only up to level A2: for example, I cannot really read a newspaper article, but I can already understand what it is about in principle.

When moving, many people are very worried about being deprived of their usual social circle. I was lucky with this: I am the same person for whom chatting in a chat is no different in principle from a personal meeting over a cup of coffee. And personally, in a year and a half in Hungary, I spent almost more time with my old friends than in the last two years in Russia, because everyone, as it suddenly turned out, literally constantly travels to Budapest: either to relax, or to a conference, then on a business trip. Gradually, new acquaintances and even friends were made - for the time being, they are mostly foreigners like me, but there are also Hungarians from mixed families. In general, I'm at home.

Photos: taweepat - stock.adobe.com, Arndale - stock.adobe.com

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