I came to the realization a couple days ago that I have now been home for 6 months. “6 months since I’ve last been in Budapest and my Facebook page is still full of Hungarian ads” is what I posted on Facebook without really thinking. And then reality sunk in. It has been 6 months. This is the longest time in a really long while where I haven’t traveled. Where I haven’t gone some place new.
Throughout this whole process of getting adjusted back at home and getting acquainted with Vancouver, there were definitely some things that I wish I could adopt from my other life:
1. The warm (more like hot) summers
Yes, I complained all the time about the heat in the summer while I was there. Who wants to spend time in 35+ degree weather all the time? Working was a pain especially as my office didn’t have air conditioning. Taking the metro was the worse. It’s already really hot out and combined with the heat of an old metro system, it was not fun.
But there is something about the warm of the summer in the evenings that I really miss. Not having to carry a jacket in case it cools down. When I was at the night market a couple weeks ago, I was so cold! Right now Vancouver is averaging about 20 degrees whereas Budapest is usually 10 degrees warmer. Strangely, I miss it.
2. Cheap alcohol & social hour
I’’m not a big drinker, but while in Budapest, I tagged along with friends and coworkers for after work drinks. I miss the ability to pay less than $3 for a domestic beer. $4 for an import beer from Europe. Or to pick up a decent bottle of wine for $5.
It’s not even the alcohol side of things that I miss the most. It’s the social side of things that come with going for drinks after work. It was almost a part of the culture I would say. Sitting late into the evening with a bottle of wine talking about anything and everything.
If you go to the market to pick up food instead of a supermarket, you’re almost always guaranteed to have farm fresh and organic fruit and veggies. It is the most affordable option. There was a little fruit and veggie stand on my route to work and I would pick up the day’s fruit snacks on the way to work and veggies for dinner on the way home. Everything tasted amazing and it was so fresh.
Yes, you can get the same here, but its so much more expensive! Here you pay a premium for organic, farm fresh. In Hungary, it is a way of life.
4. The ability to pack up my bag and go
It was so easy to hop on a train and in a couple hours be in a completely different country and city. I did a lot of country hopping and at a whim, I could decide to go somewhere new with relatively low cost. A passport, day or overnight bag, and off I go. I really miss this flexibility.
5. Vacation time
I don’t understand this. Europe starts off with a minimum of 20 days of holiday. In Hungary, you get an additional day every 5 years by law regardless of how long you’ve been at a company. North America, you have 10 days at a minimum. That 10 day difference has such a huge impact. I got too use to having those extra days (see 4) and now I’m struggling to fit in everything that I want to do in a year within those 10 days of holiday. It’s a lot harder to fit in any kind of travel!
(Also, it seems that I’ve retrained my brain. I keep referring to vacation as holidays which is what they call it in Europe.)
You can pretty much go anywhere anytime with Budapest’s transit system. During the day there are many trams and buses that go all over the city and at night, there are a wide variety of night buses to take you to where you need to go. Despite how sketchy it looked to me at first, this system of buses, trams, and metro really worked.
Plus, they have these really fast escalators in the metros. Every time I’m on a long escalator now I’m very aware of the time that it takes to go from one end to the other. If only they had these fast ones like in Budapest!
What things have you seen from your travels or living abroad that you would like adopt at home?