One year ago this week, we were in Budapest on our house hunting trip. How fast the time has flown! As with most anniversaries, one pauses to take stock of the passage of time. This is no different. Life has changed so much during this past year. First, I am living in a country that at times seems to be the polar opposite of Canada, yet has many similar elements. The language is an incredibly difficult one. I would be lying if I told you that I was comfortable living in a place where I have so much difficulty communicating. But I’m managing. Without the internet, I’m not so sure I would be doing as well. Between email, forums, Skype, and the “live” relationships I’ve established here, I actually have more of a social life than I’ve had in years. Maybe even decades. Wow.
A quick, off the top of my head, random list of things I like about living in Budapest:
- Winter lasts all of two weeks. Summer begins in April. Enough said – I’m Canadian.
- An incredible sense of history, everywhere.
- The way the city sights along the Danube are lit up every night, all year. One day I’m actually going to get a decent photograph.
- The friendliness of our counterparts from different countries. We were sought out and invited into their social circle and included in all sorts of fun activities.
- Budapest’s summer drink is lemonade. It is amazing how many delicious variations they’ve come up with.
- Architectural details. I swear that I don’t actually watch where I’m going because I’m too busy looking up. Yes, I have bruises.
- Cell phone rates are cheap. So I use my phone instead of just carrying it around with me.
- The best tomatoes on the planet, except home-grown.
- This is the city of festivals. I mean, where else can you possibly find a bread festival? This weekend is the pálinka festival. I’m not going. Pálinka is not on my list of favourite things about Budapest. I am, however, counting the days until the wine festival.
- Café culture is booming here. I love to sit outdoors with a coffee, enjoy the weather and people-watch at this time of year. Though the cafés are no less busy during the off-season.
- I share a house with my husband. After a lengthy deployment, followed by a year of language courses out of town, we are living together again. We are referred to as the honeymooners.
- I can take art classes. They’re affordable and fun. I don’t know if the ones local to me at home are fun because I couldn’t possibly afford to enroll.
- New Year’s is celebrated with fireworks. The unbelievable display lasted for two hours, at least, beginning at midnight.
- The markets. Not just the fabulous food markets, though those are amazing. But the outdoor stands that pop up fairly frequently in the city core. They sell everything from food to soap, handicrafts to pálinka or mulled wine.
- The transit system, which is probably the best of any city I have lived in. And it’s cheap.
That’s all I can think of on the fly. Surely I’ve forgotten something important, but I’ll come back to it.