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I’ll keep the introductions brief: all you need to know is that I lived in one country (Scotland) my whole life, and have now been living in another country (Hungary) for the past couple of months, indeed for the next year… and possibly beyond.

The reasons are various, though what’s important is right now (for this blog) is just how the Dickens all of it has been – moving to an entirely new country, which happens to be on the opposite side of the continent, where you don’t speak the language, nor quite understand the currency (367HUF = 1GBP?!).
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Here are three things I’ll mention for now:
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1. A Whole New World (Country)
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I should probably start off with the most profound change of the past four-and-a-bit weeks: an actual switching of country. Not just a change of scenery, or a new view from your bedroom window, but a real, 100% genuine ”everything’s different” kind of altering you don’t normally find everyday.
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I mean, yes – upping sticks from one nation to another where you can’t even read the ”open/closed” sign on a shop door is quite the change of pace; but having to learn (or relearn) an entirely new set of skills and routines is just as jarring/intimidating/exhilerating/exciting!
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Having spent most of the past few years in and around Edinburgh was actually pretty good training for living in and around Budapest: lots of people, lots of traffic, and a frankly ridiculous amount of pretty sights from both a man-made and natural perspective. The architecture of both cities are, of course, world famous. It’s a rare joy to go walkabout in an unfamiliar city and consistently be impressed with what you’re looking at. Oh, and without question Budapest (indeed, many other European cities) has one advantage over Edinburgh in one aspect: the travel pass. For just over £25, this shiny ticket will see you right for a full month, letting you go by bus (trolley bus or regular), tram, metro, train, and even boat absolutely anywhere within the city limits, an unlimited number of times. I cannot overstate how much peace of mind this gives.

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2. All Walks Of Life (Culture)
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Remember that bit before when I said ”everything’s different”?
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Not completely true. Yes, there are many differences: cinemas only serve salted popcorn, Hungarian men shave their armpits (not in Scotland), but there are also similarities. Food is very similar, and the Hungarian/Scottish sense of humour makes for natural bedfellows. Working in BARE International’s Budapest office helps ease any cultureshock or homesickness-inducing anxiety. As we work so closely with our friends in Belgium, a real team spirit is palpable. Everyone is contstantly on skype for both the most important conference calls and the smallest of questions. Even further, technology enables us to interact with offices even further afield, with the USA, India and China all reachable at the click of a mouse. It’s a cliché, but being able to actually speak to and hear a person in real time goes a long way. You get a feeling of presence, therefore the most enjoyable and efficient work can happen.

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3. Ain’t No Sunshine (Climate)
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In Scotland, there’s the saying, ”If you don’t like the weather, wait for five minutes”. The Brits are (in)famous for their obession with small talk relating to amateur meteorology, and thanks to the mercurial nature of clouds above the UK, it’s not unfounded. It’s pretty much given that in the months of July, August and September, the weather in Budapest is rarely anything other than tan-tastic sunshine. Almost certainly more than these three, but I haven’t experienced others first hand. One of the first things talked about if I mention I’m living in Hungary is how I’m surviving being a milk bottle-coloured Scot (spoilers: SPF is my new BFF). For native Hungarians, however, conversations about how the weather is would become repetative pretty quickly.
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A quick note on hearing the Hungarian language day in, day out: at first it may sound quite argumentative, so even if you hear a mother and daughter talking perfectly well about how they slept last night, it’s easy to mistake it for a long-brewing fight.

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BONUS 4TH POINT!

4. Faster Than A Speeding Bullet (Commute)
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The absolute cherry on the cake in regards to my moving to a complete different country to a new job is how darn quickly I can get there; because of where my apartment and workplace are situated, I can easily make it from my front door to my desk in five minutes. To put it in perspective, my previous job took a 3-hour round trip to get from my town into Edinburgh (honestly though? It was worth every bum-numbing minute), whereas now it’s 2 minute dash to the office if I run.
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There may be much I miss having left the place I called home for almost quester of a century, but there is even more I am looking forward to in the coming year. The past few months have been an enjoyable, sometimes surprising learning experience, and I’m sure the next few will take it to new heights.
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Not to brag, but you know… I don’t think I’ve ever had it so good.

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Author: Richard

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Richard is a real community builder, involved in various activities within the office, helps charities and has a degree in filmmaking and screenwriting. He’s a ”Creative”, interested in telling stories, making connections and helping generate ideas. An avid reader, he is passionate about gaming, food (don’t feed him after midnight) and history. He has plans for the future, and you -the one reading this sentence- are part of them.


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