The Adventures and Challenges of Life Overseas

Making Big Purchases in a Foreign Country

While living in Budapest I had the task of purchasing a washing machine and dryer for my new rental house. I’d  looked at the appliances the previous weekend, so I felt confident going into the situation. (That was probably my first mistake.) I went to Auchen; which I’ve been told is a French store similar to a Super Walmart. On this visit, to a different location, no one in the appliances department spoke English, fabulous.

Having lived in Budapest fourteen months, and had a million good experiences with Hungarian’s speaking English I knew there was at least one English speaker in the store. I pressed my luck and I insisted through sign language and basic English, that the sales man call someone who could speak English and help me. I waited, and I looked at the machines.

Eleven Languages I Can’t Speak

The machine I’d looked at previously stood in front of me. From my walk around it appeared to be the only washing machine and dryer combination in the store. I wasn’t going to be picky, It was time to exit doing laundry in the 14th century. After ten minutes a young woman appeared to help. She spoke excellent English and she confirmed that the machine was in fact a washer and a dryer. We looked inside the washing machine/dryer for a manual. There was a manual in eleven languages; just none of them English, #@!? On my last visit the manual included English, this was not going well; how was I supposed to figure out the many features and buttons in languages I couldn’t speak?


Google to the rescue, soon we were googling the machine; we quickly found the company site and  a download version in English. The site stopped working and wouldn’t complete the email process. On we went, next we found a YouTube video that wasn’t half bad.  I didn’t envision that when I thought about buying a washer and dryer in Hungary. At that point I told her I would like to purchase the machine. At some point you have to simply have faith.

48 Hours and a Gift

48 hours later my washer and dryer arrived; best of all the delivery men brought me an owners manual in English. I could have kissed the guy I was so happy. My washer and dryer work and I can report that I am figuring out the many settings it offers. It is a little challenging but that comes with living overseas. If I was looking for every day to be just like living in America; I’d be living in America. Instead I’m living a European adventure.





Budapest Thermal Baths: Lukacs Baths

Budapest is known as the city of restorative thermal waters. There are ten public thermal baths throughout the city. Lukacs Thermal Baths and Spa is found on Frankel Leo utca on the Buda side of Margaret Bridge. The spa has been in existence since the Middle Ages.

Budapest Baths
Plaques of thanks at Lukacs Baths.

The architecture of Lukacs Baths.

Centuries of Healing Waters
The spa contains three indoor medicinal pools, three outdoor swimming pools with a small jetted relaxation area, and a very small wave area. In addition the wellness area of the baths contains an additional two indoor pools and two outdoor pools for treatment.

Sauna, Steam and Massage
There are also free steam rooms and saunas within the baths. For an additional fee you can have one of several massages, including an aroma relax massage, a chocolate massage, or a sole reflex zone massage.

Thermal Baths Budapest
The entrance of Lukacs Thermal Baths

thermal baths
One of three outdoor pools at Lukacs Thermal Baths.

budapest baths
a jetted relaxation area at Lukacs.

thermal Baths
The hottest of three indoor thermal pools. This one is kept at 40 degrees celsius.

healthy living; thermal baths
Two women drinking the restorative water of Lukacs in a relaxation area.

Though Lukacs Thermal Bath and Spa is on a smaller scale than others in the city, it’s very clean and the staff are friendly and helpful. My first visit was a little daunting as I found my way around. At first it’s very maze like, but with one visit you will have a clear understanding of where the indoor and outdoor pools lie. You’ll also easily sort out where the lockers and changing rooms are, as well as where you can find each of the restorative heated pools, steam rooms and saunas. The cost of a day at Lukacs is 3,000 forient (approximately $13,50 US). For an extra 2,800 ft (12.75 US) you can have a private changing room and a 2o minute massage.

My Top Ten Favorites in Hungary

I’ve lived in Hungary one year and two months; in that time I have come to love many things about Hungary. Here are my top ten favorite things about Hungary.



1. The people in Hungary are very friendly, helpful and kind to me.

2. Running a close second are the beautiful sights of Budapest; especially the historic and ornate bridges, Buda Castle and Parliament. They are beautiful visual reminders that I live in Hungary.

3. The Hungarian festivals that allow me to see more of the local Hungarian culture.

4. I love that Budapest is filled with beautiful architecture.

5. Hungary offers excellent cold fruit soups and delicious fresh picked plums.

6. I love that Hungarians welcome my dog Tanner within Budapest and when we travel.

7. Hungary has excellent, well marked highways.

8. Budapest has beautiful homes for rent with many amenities; think steam showers, in home saunas, dishwashers, American style kitchens.

9. Hungary and Europe offer amazing travel opportunities.

10. Budapest offers an excellent expat community.

These are my top ten favorite things about life in Hungary. Check back for more insights into life in Hungarian culture and life in Europe.








A <3 Hate Relationship with T Mobile and T Home

I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for several years.

They were the first to offer decent options for using your US phone overseas; they were also the first to unlock your phone for overseas sim cards. Those were reasons I originally liked them. I also liked them because they were a German company that I knew from my years living in Berlin.

Fast forward a few years and I’m living in Hungary. I’ve lived here nearly a year. I have a T-Home account (cable package) and a T-Mobile pre pay sim card; The sim card allows me 5oo GB of data per month for $8.80, and charges me per minute for the calls I make. It has worked well, but gets costly.

Photo Credit

Spending Your Saturday at T-Mobile and Other Things I’d Rather Not Do
This weekend I decided to brave it and visit T-Mobile and get a new phone plan. I say brave it, because I’ve visited T-Mobile here in Hungary on at least five occasions; getting out of there in under an hour is nearly impossible; one day I was there over two hours! T-Mobile is a main provider of mobile phone service in Hungary, and they rarely have enough customer service agents.

Rarely do they share all the plans for cable packages they offer without you raising your voice and saying absolutely not. Rarely do you get someone who knows all the English language TV plans. T-Home, here’s a tip; Customer service matters.

Train your employees to know all the plans and options. I had to have the assistance of my Hungarian speaking landlords, and three customer service agents over an hour and a half to get the plan I wanted. That’s not good customer service.

Silly me for thinking getting a new phone plan would be a straight forward process. After all, I’m an account holder already. I might as well have been from MARS for all the good it did me. In fact I was so peeved that I called a Hungarian colleague who specializes in helping our work staff on just such problematic occasions.

Despite Being an Account Holder, It Was Still an Awful Experience
In my possession, an account with T-Home, a prepay plan with T-Mobile, my passport and my residency card; still it wasn’t enough. They have to have an official address card. This is basically a folded in half index card with my address written on it, and a single stamp. (Trust me, it is very basic.) Certainly not like the official looking residency permit card I carry in my wallet. None the less, despite speaking to my colleague in Hungarian and having me melt down and be the Ugly American, I still have no phone plan.

After speaking to another colleague, whose wife is Hungarian. I feel better. She was also at T-Mobile yesterday and had a similar awful experience. She ordered her phone two weeks ago and was called on Friday to say come in and pick it up tomorrow. She arrived to pick up her phone and they told her not only is it not here, but it’s not available. What?! She was a very unhappy customer. What’s the deal T-Mobile? You’re so important you’ve forgotten who made you important; YOUR CUSTOMERS? World Wide customers keep you in business. Personally, I’m happy to go elsewhere, where my business is appreciated.

*Though I am a T-Mobile customer, they did not ask me to write a post about how peeved I am at them; or how they can’t think outside the box.