Living in Budapest; The First One Hundred Days

Each overseas post is a little different; but one thing remains the same, there’s an adjustment period for each of us. This time around in some ways my adjustment was easier, but in other ways it was just as crazy as usual. We often hear people speak of a president’s first hundred days in office. Well I’m taking that phrase and using it to highlight my adjustment to Budapest, and my third overseas job.

Touch Down

My arrival in Budapest was a little intense. It took a few minutes after ALL the passengers had departed with their luggage for me to find my dog. STRESS!! Then the driver sent to pick me up didn’t speak English. Not a happy moment for me, not with a dog in tow.

As we rode into the city and I saw all the beautiful bridges and historic buildings I was enchanted with Budapest. My dog was next to me in the van and I was feeling excited to start a new chapter in our overseas life. Here is a link to my photo impressions of our first week in Budapest.

Living in Budapest and Finding A House

house hunting in budapest

One of many houses I looked at, but decided against. This one I liked but the landlord wasn’t willing to remove their art or furniture.

Everyone has questions and wonders what it will be like to find a house in a foreign country. I can happily share with you that house hunting in Budapest is a great experience. The houses will not disappoint you. I was shocked at the amenities offered and the beauty of the houses. (This is Eastern Europe after all.) I was not expecting the fantastic options I found.

Also keep in mind I’ve lived in Berlin and house hunted there. Berlin was a little different. I didn’t have my dog then, I had cats. So I opted for an apartment right in a shopping district of Berlin. This time around I needed a BIG yard, for a BIG dog. I needed a spacious house with space for him to be comfortable. Take a look at My House Hunting Budapest Experience

Getting Settled

Getting settled into my house was pretty straight forward and a good experience for us. I’m living four blocks from shops and public transportation. Tanner loves our yard and as an added bonus for Tanner and I we were asked to care for our landlords cat when they moved to Austria. Now Tanner has a new buddy, and they get along very well.

My Shipment Is Here

household shipment

This part of my experience was more difficult and complicated this time around. When I moved to Berlin my shipment came by air and arrived within days of my arrival. This time, that wasn’t the case, due to some confusion with the shipping company. Because my employer was paying for shipping costs there were certain guidelines. (Just like in Berlin.)

To err on the side of caution (because I didn’t want a big expensive bill for excess weight) the shipping company had to send someone out twice to double check the dimensions and weight of my shipment. The problem stemmed from the fact that I was departing the US within days and shipping company was overbooked with appointments and couldn’t send someone back out to check my shipment.

Plan B

My shipment was departing from Florida, and fortunately my aunt lived only 8 blocks from the storage facility where I was storing my household belongings. Most of which remain in Florida, with a small shipment to Budapest. Because my storage was filled to capacity I worried that the movers might take the wrong boxes. So I loaded my rental PT Cruiser and made multiple trips to her house in Florida’s 100 degree summer heat. Fun stuff!

I stored my 24 boxes, my bike and two paintings being shipped to Budapest in my aunts garage. Though my shipment was coming by air, there were multiple delays :-(. The moving company whose price quote I’d accepted was fully booked for pack outs and when they had a free day to come my aunt was unavailable……ahk it was a vicious circle for a bit. Finding a date and time that worked. At last my shipment arrived, cleared customs and was delivered in September; six weeks after my arrival.

Figuring It All Out With A Lot of Help

living in Budapest

My first real shopping excursion and the small and expensive bags of dog food, that would never work for a 140 lb dog.

It took me a bit to figure out the daily details of life in Budapest. My employer and colleagues were fantastic. Seriously, fantastic. If I needed to know how to find something someone, many someones were there to help. That was a godsend. We forget until we’re overseas that we have to figure out every little detail to begin our life…. Where to shop, where to find hard to find products and spices, and where to find dog food in bags larger than say five lbs. Yes, that clearly wasn’t going to work for us. There was also finding my way around, and navigating the city transportation. I wanted to learn where my colleagues and friends were living, and where to find my favorite ethnic restaurants.

It was a process; even with substantial help, it took a few weeks to really feel like I had daily life in Budapest under control. I’d say I finally felt like things were in control around Halloween. I’d settled in, I had my household goods and I’d had a weeks vacation. That was 96 days in to my adventure of living in Budapest. That’s why I say it really takes about a hundred days to feel like you have a handle on living life overseas.