I’d like to write this post after experiencing how it feels like living in London after couple of weeks and what my findings are from the city.
But let me start at the beginning.
I’m one of those people who like collecting as many experiences as I can when discovering a new city. This is usually a holiday or, like in this case moving to another city/country. After I experienced everything in a city and let the city’s atmosphere soak, I am always happy to say that I utilized all the the opportunities. Then if boredom takes over I just move on and discover more about our beautiful world.
This is the reason why I moved from Debrecen to Budapest (Hungary). I lived in my hometown for 19 years, during my high school years and I experienced everything what the city offered. I tried every entertainment opportunities, restaurants and outdoor programs with my family and friends. After a while we just couldn’t find anything new in the city and that’s when I knew it was time to move on. So I decided to go to uni in Budapest and everything in the best imaginable way as possible, I was got into ELTE, which is one of the leading universities in Hungary.
After starting university most of my friends moved to Budapest or abroad so I had barely a few friends left in Debrecen. I went back home to Debrecen once a month to visit my family. During my uni years, I was studying and working a lot, though I wasn’t part of the so called big uni party life. I found great friends and I spent my free time with them. We always found exciting things to do and tasted the most delish foods of Budapest. (That’s one of the reasons I started my ‘food places’ posts:) In Budapest, you have a lot of opportunities to spend your time well and the city never sleeps, you can find new activities, restaurants every single day. I lived in Budapest for four years and I didn’t have the time to make the most out of it, maybe I would have reached that limit in 1-2 years. Overall I liked Budapest it’s still one of my favourite cities in the world.
After I got my degree, I had to think about what I want to do in my life. Obviously I didn’t want to continue the job I was doing because it was a part time job next to uni. I wanted to utilise the knowledge I acquired during my studies – which was social sciences – and I wanted to combine it with those things that I was really interested in. I asked myself how this would be possible and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to go to do an MA. The reason is that I prefer working and acquiring experience while I’m do things in real life rather than studying for exams that I won’t use at all later in my life.
So I faced the situation of working for a basic salary in Hungary which is around €400 per month having a degree but this option didn’t seem to appeal for me. Besides, I couldn’t feel that I could live my whole life in Hungary. (Probably my generation won’t even get any pension because how the economy is set up.)
I couldn’t feel I could accomplish my creative ideas, my goals or the challenges expected from my life. I also have a life philosophy that is not suited for Hungary.
This could be thanks to the option I had, to visit lots of different countries with my family. I always love to discover new places, cultures and meet different people all around the world. I’m such an open person and my life perception is so positive. I try to look for the good in everything and I accept everything and everyone. You always need to try and understand other people’s opinion and perspective.
I’ve learnt so many things from my own failures and experiences. I believe this is the best way to know yourself. My mantra is that everything happens for a reason and you attract good and bad things accordingly.
That’s how I met with my boyfriend, Ben. He came to my life as a shining star (haha). Our thoughts about life and what we want to reach were pretty much the same. So we started to make an action plan of how we want to make all this happen. He is my rock solid half who inspires and encourages me to reach my goals and dreams every day. That’s why I started writing my blog as well, to get closer to my dreams. 🙂
It was a dream planning, until we had to think about what is the next step in our relationship. He has living in the UK for four years and he didn’t want to move back so we choose the long distance relationship for a couple months which wasn’t as bad I thought for the first time. I visited London couple of time to meet Ben and he flew back to Budapest. We also went on holidays together. After we got to know each other a bit better and we were sure that we are a perfect match we started to talk about me moving to London. The long distance relationship works out well for couple of months but it can’t be maintained not forever. When I got my degree in June, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so moving was an easy decision. I have to say that he gave me the courage to move abroad, that ticked one of my boxes on my bucket list.
In the summer, I was preparing for the moving. I have been organizing my flat and my stuff of what I need and what I don’t. Actually organising a move wasn’t that difficult for me because when I moved from Debrecen to Budapest I decluttered my things but I still had some unnecessary stuff to get rid off. So at the end I ended up taking 3 boxes and 2 suitcases. Sorting out official things took the most amount of time, I’m thinking here about making a passport, arranging your new and old flat with the bills, going to the bank and canceling your mobile contract.
Because we didn’t want to share a house with other people, we decided to rent a flat together but the process wasn’t easy at all. Finding a nice flat in London is so difficult to find even if you are there but when we started looking for one I was in Budapest. Also because I didn’t live in the UK before and I didn’t get a job made our situation quite tough, especially to meet the budget we aimed for. As an FYI, in the UK, the landlords and agencies always do a background check. (This is about monitoring your background and salary.) They can ask for a reference from your workplace about you having a long term job and that you are able to pay for the rent. Luckily, Ben had references from his work and his flats where he lived previously but it still took two months to find a right flat. I started looking for work online and sent my CV to lots of jobs during the summer so that I would have some interviews after I moved. During this time, I was working in Budapest to save some money for London, in case if I didn’t find a job immediately.
The moving day came so fast, we were so excited. After I arrived to London, we got the keys for the flat and we finally moved to our new flat. I have been in London many times so I was familiar with the city. On the first week, I started off with the official things like setting up an English mobile number, bank account and registering home address (for contracts and bills), NI number (which is the most important document if you’d like to stay and work in the UK). Actually, I realized if you are from the EU, you are so lucky and the paperwork is so much easier for us (for now). During my stay so far I met with my friends who living here and continued for looking for a job. I’m here for 3 weeks now, I had some interviews and got a job but getting to this point didn’t happen overnight. You need so much patience and persistence to get through. I’m feeling very good and Ben helps me a lot and supports me in everything besides that my friends here are a big support as well.
Some things what I experienced in this three weeks:
1. Everyone is so nice and helpful.
2. You don’t need perfect English because lost of foreign people live in London.
3. The public transport is so expensive but it’s well connected.
4. The weather is not as bad as I thought. In Hungary we have more extreme weather.
5. The peak period in the tube is horrible and so crowded but after Budapest is still tolerable.
6. The essential food isn’t more expensive than in Hungary so it’s worth cooking than going out and eating somewhere. I love cooking so this doesn’t really cause any inconvenience.
7. You have a lot of opportunities to have fun or relax: free exhibitions, parks, pubs etc.
8. The melting post is wonderful. I can feel the freedom everyday. No one will stare at you for even the most extreme things either.
9. The administration is so slow. (Until now I thought Hungary is the worst but NO.) But in the UK, there are more people so I can understand it.
10. All of the best clothes, make up and interior brands are available here. 🙂
This was my ‘little’ summary about how and why I moved from a little town from Hungary to one of the biggest cities in the world and what I experienced in the first three months. I’d like to continue this post and tell you a bit more about my London life. My plan is to write about my working experience and how easy it is to fit into the society, what are the advantages and disadvantages living here in London. If you are interested how it is like to live as a foreigner in the UK join me in my next ‘Moving to London’ post.