Friday, 11 December 2015

Meeting People & Expat Resources

Moving to a city where we didn't know anyone was a little daunting, especially when our immediate family was about 30 hours away, so I was pretty eager to meet other English speakers (especially mums) when we arrived. These are the groups I found to be the most helpful:

Budapest Momswebsite / Google groupFacebook
Probably the most well established English speaking mothers' group in Budapest. There's monthly coffee meetings, weekly playgroups, second hand sales, etc. The most up to date info is usually posted to the Google group.

Somewhat linked to Budapest Moms and another great one to follow, there are frequent updates about family-friendly events, info about sale days at shopping malls, etc. Very handy!

A very active group in terms of regularity of posts and responses by the members. Unlike some of the more general expat groups, it's quite focused on kid-related issues and relatively free from spam posts.

British Women's Association - website / Facebook
To join, you have to be a British or Commonwealth citizen (or married/a civil partner to one), and pay an annual membership fee. The monthly meetings in the Intercontinental make it totally worthwhile though, since you can leave your child happily playing in the kids' corner with tons of toys and a babysitter while you enjoy a coffee, pastries and some much-needed adult conversation. There are also social events like outings to museums and evening drinks.

I've only met two other New Zealand mums in the seven months we've been here, but was intrigued to discover this 'NOZZIES' Facebook group for Kiwis & Aussies living in Budapest. Admittedly I didn't meet the mums through the NOZZIES group anyway but homesick antipodeans may find this useful.

If you're keen on cricket you might be shocked to discover that there's actually a Hungarian Cricket Association - James has even joined a team, the Baggy Blues, though he only managed to play in two matches for the season. In the same vein, there's even a Budapest Rugby Watching & Beer Drinking Fans Facebook group.

Other expat/English Budapest Facebook groups:
Expat Info - Budapest (~6,000 members)
Budapest English Friends (~3,700 members)
English Friendly Budapest (~1,500 members)
Budapest Apartment Rentals (~9,000 members)
Apartments/Roommates in Budapest (~7,000 members)

When it comes to the latest news about where to go in Budapest for food, drink, festivals, events and everything else, my favourite site by far is We Love Budapest. Here are some good links to start with if you're an expat or thinking of moving here:
Other useful sites:
Budapest By Locals
Budapest Agent
Everything Budapest

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Living in Budapest

Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andr├íssy Avenue. This site has the remains of monuments such as the Roman city of Aquincum and the Gothic castle of Buda, which have had a considerable influence on the architecture of various periods. It is one of the world's outstanding urban landscapes and illustrates the great periods in the history of the Hungarian capital
Well, I guess it was kind of inevitable - we moved to Budapest at the end of April 2015 and are now technically living within a UNESCO site:
Since my last post well over a year ago, we've managed to have a baby and haul our new family across the globe for James' work. We actually had a choice of living in either Boston or Budapest, but picked the Hungarian capital in the end - there was the prospect of easy travel around Europe, the lower cost of living, and of course the UNESCO factor.

In the months that we've been living here as expats, we've learned a lot (even a little Hungarian), plenty of which I wish I'd known earlier. In fact, more recently relocated expats who've since been on the receiving end of my tips suggested I should blog about it or something - so, here we go. I'll create separate posts for each topic and try to keep them updated going forward, but hopefully cover all the usual basics like where to live, how to buy things, how to meet people, where to get a good flat white, etc.

There are of course many existing sites and blog posts with expat tips for Budapest, which I'll link to, but I guess it doesn't hurt to throw my two cents (or eight forints, if I'm using the New Zealand dollar exchange rate) in there!

Side note: there are actually ten unfinished drafts for posts about the places in France, Germany and Spain that we visited after Paris in 2014, but I can't let that stop me from writing new posts, otherwise it's just never going to happen...