A Life Overseas
Over a year and a half ago, my wife and I moved from Brazil to Hungary. That was a huge life change. After a long 15-hour flight and 10.252 km away from home, overnight we found ourselves experiencing a new climate, culture and lifestyle – as described in details next.
Brazil is a tropical country (located in South America), there is sunlight and warm weather almost the whole year. The temperature, on average, is around ~20 oC (Real Feel is always a bit higher due to the humid weather). The lowest temperature I faced in Brazil which I remember was 6 oC. In Hungary, on the other hand, the 4 seasons are really well defined. Being here for a full year, I could experience: the harsh cold of winter; flowers and vibrant greens in spring; sticky heat of summer; and lots of yellows, reds and oranges of autumn.
When I arrived in Budapest, on January 3rd 2016, right after stepping out of the airport, I could already see and feel how severe winter can be in here – on that day the temperature was exactly -12 oC. The first thing I thought was: “I hope there’s a very thick blanket at the apartment where I will stay for the next 4 weeks…”. But, when I got to the apartment and checked the blanket, I thought it would not be sufficient to keep me warm. Though I noticed that the bedroom was actually quite warm – thanks to the heating system available in every house, apartment and office in Hungary. J
In Brazil, there’s no heating system in the houses, apartments or offices. And, on top of that, normally, all the floors are covered with ceramic tiles (helps to cool down the rooms during summer but also makes cold days even colder!). Thereby, during winter, when it’s time to sleep, we feel a way colder than in Hungary, so we have to end up putting on two (sometimes three) blankets to ensure we will have a nice and warm night of sleep.
Budapest from a Brazilian standpoint
From my point of view, living in Budapest can be briefly described by residing in a beautiful place with a fascinating architecture, exciting natural resources and good food.
- Architecture: in Budapest, you can find roman ruins, gothic churches, extremely old houses and modern buildings just side-by-side. I constantly find myself travelling several hundreds of years back in time just by standing on a single street corner.
- Natural Resources: whenever I am looking for a place to release the stress and relax, in Hungary, one name comes to my mind immediately: Balatonfüred. Balatonfüred is a popular resort town situated on the northern shore of the Lake Balaton, and for me it is an excellent place to base yourself on the lake and enjoy the awesome atmosphere that this place has, not to count the many good quality dining options.
- Food: apart from the spicy meals (I cannot handle that J), I find Hungarian food quite tasty – especially when prepared from fresh ingredients and seasoned with paprika. As the Hungarian cuisine was influenced by the Austrian cuisine under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, pork and chicken meats are extensively used in the most common dishes here – which as a “Meat Lover” I just love it. I must say though as I am not a big fan of soups, I still haven’t tried the famous goulash soup, and I miss quite a lot the famous Brazilian barbecue (churrasco).
Two other things I definitely must mention about Budapest is: Public Transport and Healthcare.
I am really amazed by the public transport in Budapest – it is efficient, always on time, and take you wherever you need. Could not say less about the healthcare – my wife got pregnant and my son was born in Budapest. The whole prenatal care was done at FirstMed (a private clinic in District I) and my son was born at Maternity (a private clinic in District XII). The attention, support and care received in both clinics let us really astonished. The staff, from receptionists to doctors, speak English and the cherry on top is the Védőnő (a combination of social work and maternity nurse (HOME CARE), which function is to keep track of baby’s healthcare, vaccinations, and to be a first-line support person if any questions about baby care come up – this service is FREE of charge).
All in all, living in Budapest for over a year and a half now has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I can confidently say that Budapest has exceeded my expectations by far.