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In college, I admired the photos of Robert Capa and learnt that he had died in Thai Binh, not far from my father’s home village. Of Capa’s 31 photos of Vietnam, I particularly like two of children crossing a Hanoi Street, with French soldiers in the background. The small details of daily life reveal a world quickly eroding, a universal phenomenon. Never before has so much been lost so systematically, eagerly and rapidly. Capa’s last photo took place seconds before he stepped on a landmine. In my twenties, I read Arthur Koestler, Géza Csáth and two poems of Attila József, who wasn’t really available in English. His astonishing “The Seventh” remains a favorite, and I’m also charmed by the manner of his death. With his sleeve cut off, József laid next to a rail, with his bare arm extended across it. Though he just wanted to be amputated, the greedy train took everything. Finally, in my 50’s, I was able to visit Budapest, a most elegant and stylish city, though still ravaged from decades of Communism. Its subway system was not grand or sleek, but intimate, and it was delightful to be squeezed into a car with such a lovely people. I feel very blessed to have had a glimpse of this magnificent country. Below, I interview an American who’s lucky and plucky enough to make it his permanent home.

How long have you lived overseas?

I have lived continuously in Budapest, Hungary, since the fall of 1999, so going on 20 years as of date of this interview. NB: I also lived in Germany for two years in the late 1960s, when I was working for the US government – which sounds better than saying I was in the Army.

Budapest is one of those wonderful places that just gets hold of you and never lets go. Budapest is a big city with a small-town feel. Nearly every expat I have met here is still here; the only ones who left did so reluctantly and are always eager to return.

What made you decide to leave the US?

I finally made my move to Hungary for many reasons. First of all, my mid-life crisis had grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and shaken me so roughly I virtually HAD to get myself out of my ennui and enjoy the rest of my life. My daughter was grown and about to get married and would be starting her own adult life. Most of my younger male friends in my social circle had gotten married, so I rarely saw them any longer. I was tired of the same old office job day after day for too many years and I desperately needed some adventure in my life. It was time I lived my life for ME instead of for what others thought I should be doing. And I wanted to travel much more. And, of course, I could read the writing on the wall (which has gotten bigger and scarier since I left).

What did you do in the US? Please describe your background a bit.

Like most other people of my generation, after university and a stint in the military, I spent nearly 30 years in the same industry, moving around among financial companies (and states) as an Internal Audit Manager. There were obvious challenges and rewards, perks and benes, but I finally had my fill of sitting in an office all day and decided I wanted to spend the remainder of my life living in Europe and traveling. My two years in Germany had given me a taste for the exotic life. Pushing papers and numbers around had gotten me as far as it could, and I was ready for a major change in my life. Other than my daughter and her family, I had no ties in the US, no place I called ‘home,’ as my family, and then later I, had moved so many times I really didn’t have roots anywhere (I had lived in eight states). It appears I was born to be an expat.

What do you miss about not being in the US?

Krispy Kreme donuts, corned beef hash and cold water drinking fountains. OK, seriously? I don’t see my family as much as I’d like and….well, that’s about it, actually. Living in Hungary has so many advantages (at least, these days) over living in the US that I really don’t miss anything worthwhile about living in the states.


What are the challenges of living where you are as a foreigner?

Sometimes the language is a barrier to being understood or needing to do what needs to be done, but that has become more rare over time. After a surprisingly brief time, foreigners can easily blend into the city and country where they live to the extent that major challenges just don’t crop up any longer. Learning enough of the language to get by (no need to be fluent) helps immensely and you’ll find many locals will be eager to help you. One particularly annoying occurrence that repeats itself almost endlessly is when I order some dish or drink from a menu and the waiter tells me they don’t have that. This happens constantly and still drives me up a wall.


How are you making money in your new country?

ORDER IT NOW

I taught English as a Foreign Language when I first arrived in Budapest, and continued doing so for about seven years. With my background in the financial industry, teaching Business English was a natural for me. As such, I could command higher fees and so, on that income alone, I was able to live quite well (rent, utilities, food) and to travel extensively all over the world. I am now retired and my pensions are sufficient to allow me a lifestyle I could not have – literally, could not have – in the states. In fact, I could not live on my pensions in America, whereas in Hungary I live quite well. Obviously, the cost of living in Budapest has increased over the past 20 years, but it is still among the lowest in Europe and what would be an income just above the poverty level in the states allows me to live quite well in Budapest.

Why did you choose Hungary initially? What were the other choices? Were you well-traveled?

I had originally thought of teaching English in one of the hot spots of Europe: Madrid, Paris, Rome, Athens. My trainers in my TEFL school, however, told me that back then (1999), it was quite difficult for inexperienced American English teachers to find work in western Europe, due to competition from the young British teachers who were members of the European Union. My trainers told me they had taught in Budapest for a while and loved it. So, I thought, what the heck, I’ll teach in Budapest for a year or two and then move to one of the hot spots of Europe. It took me about a week to realize Budapest was the hot spot of Europe, especially back in 2000 when it was still the Wild, Wild East!

My only other serious contender for my new lifestyle at the time was Istanbul, Turkey, which I had visited while on a cruise. While I was in my TEFL school, however, Turkey had a major earthquake and I didn’t think they needed me there during all that upheaval (pun intended). So I opted for Budapest on the advice of my trainers. And I’ve never looked back. Best choice I ever made.

I was moderately well-traveled at the time: London, Paris and Rome when I lived in Germany, Greece (Athens and the islands), Istanbul, plus a trip to Egypt and a cruise up the Nile, along with shorter jaunts to Mexico and Panama. But I wanted more. I had my Bucket List of 50 or so cities and countries I wanted to visit, which was my primary reason for moving to Europe to live and work. Air travel from Budapest to other exciting places would be faster and cheaper than if I stayed in the US. (Note: when I return from my next trip to Lebanon in March 2019, I will have been to 75 countries around the world on six continents – I skipped Antarctica as it’s too cold for me there anyway).

What are some of the pleasant surprises you’ve encountered in your new home?

Kindness and generosity of the Hungarian people (after an initial period of overcoming their general discomfort with foreigners); welcoming and acceptance by other expats/foreigners; ease of earning a living; variety and type of restaurants in this major European capital; better quality of life on a much lower income than in the US (e.g., don’t need a car, which is a huge major expense in the states); world-class public transportation; ease of traveling to other countries; world-class dentistry; living in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

For most of my time in Budapest, I have lived in the southern part of the “downtown” area, which includes one of the best huge indoor covered markets in Europe. Lots of fresh food: veggies, meats, fruits, dairy, etc. I usually cook at home 4-5 nights a week and go out the other days. You can spend a bit these days at restaurants (Budapest now has three Michelin-star places!) but you can also find good deals at the smaller Mom and Pop places. I can get a good solid meal and drink for less than $4 US! Whiskey and wine are rather expensive, but beer is always a deal. I am five minutes from the Danube, always a pleasant place to pass a summer day watching the boats go by. There is also a lovely small park close by and University Square for outdoor dining in the summer. Everything I could want is right near me, which makes everyday life so much easier.

I have a small flat, 40 sqm, which is certainly large enough for one person. Rental flats here come fully furnished, so no need to buy anything else. Due to inflation and the new popularity of Air BnB, standard rentals have gone up quite a bit, probably about 450 euros now for a one-bedroom place. But as one gets acquainted with the locals, there are always better deals to be found.

What are some of the unanticipated problems?

Dealing with Hungarian medical system; other than that, really, none. I read widely on Budapest and Hungary before moving here and was ready for pretty much anything I encountered. A little (or a lot of) research will ease the move considerably.

You mentioned kids, so did you come to Hungary with your wife? If not, have you found another significant other?

I have one daughter who lives in southern California with her husband and two children. I knew I would miss seeing them more often, but I had my life to live and I made my choice. I had been a widower for quite a few years, so I was alone and fancy-free. I found out as I met more expats in Budapest that nearly all of the young men here had followed a lovely Hungarian girl to Budapest and then, even if their relationship didn’t last, they decided to remain in the city. Most of them are still here and have found other Hungarian women eager to hook up with what they consider a well-heeled foreigner. Nearly all of these mixed marriages have stood the test of time.

As for me, still single after all these years. Budapest is a big candy store, with some of the most beautiful women in the world – as is true of Central and Eastern Europe in general. Young Hungarian women are fun-loving and love to socialize and I have done my best to oblige them. Also, surprisingly enough, it is difficult to meet single Hungarian women over the age of, say, 50 or so, who come without baggage. So the older Daughters of Venus seem to prefer locations where I am not.

Please tell us about some of your Hungarian friends.

ORDER IT NOW

Once the Hungarians get over their discomfort with strangers, they are some of the warmest, friendliest people anywhere. I have made many, many friends here, some I see every week, others only once every few years. It is too much to list them all here, but they include:

Zoltan and Ildiko, married couple, she was my first private student and he has the same job I had in the USA. He is also a wine connoisseur. They have been friends for 18 years.

Andras, mid-fifties, a singer with a raspy voice, I follow him around Budapest on his various gigs.

Zsofia, a young lawyer and pop singer and my only current student

Hungarian Kendo champion Tibor Istvan and his brother Bela, managers of one of our best neighborhood pubs and karaoke clubs.

Eszter, owner of a small pub in my building.

Younger Hungarians love to meet foreigners and to practice their English with them. In addition to locals, I have also met and remained friends with expats from all over the world, as Budapest draws people from everywhere as The Gateway to Eastern Europe.

What is some advice you have for Americans who also want to get out?

Do it! Make your plans and break your bonds. Do your own research (lots of good books out there about relocating to a foreign country). Don’t listen to ‘friends’ and family who wonder how you could ever leave the states; it’s a great big wonderful world out there and if you are the adventurous sort and yearn to live the expat life, pack your bags and make that move. You’ll never regret it. I certainly haven’t.

(BTW: you can read my book on moving to Hungary, To Úr with Love. Copies purchased and presented in person will be signed by the author while imbibing a palinka, one of the national drinks of Hungary)

Gary Lukatch (75-years-old)

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Hungary 
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  1. Hungarians gave a good account of themselves in both rounds of the 20th Century World War, and again in the 1956 Uprising against Judeo-communism. But

    pretty soon, Orban is going to have to fish or cut bait. Hungary can be a White nation with borders, or stay on the EU debt-tit. Not both.

    and just now the (((banksters))) are beginning to tighten the screws on Hungary.

  2. @Haxo Angmark

    ‘Hungarians gave a good account of themselves in both rounds of the 20th Century World War…’

    Ahem.

    I won’t debate it with you, but…

    • Replies: @republic
    , @Haxo Angmark
  3. 450 Euros isn’t that cheap.

    • Agree: TKK
    • Replies: @republic
    , @freedom-cat
  4. Trevor H. says:

    More power to the Hungarians, who are trying to buck the trend and go their own way. And should expect to be pilloried for it at the very least.

    I admire this guy but I’m sort of unclear what he does for medical treatment and exactly what his citizenship status is.

    • Replies: @republic
  5. Biff says:

    Don’t listen to ‘friends’ and family who wonder how you could ever leave the states;

    People/humans are tribal; when you leave the tribe their natural instinct is scorn, resentment, and grudge. Most reasonable people get over it but some don’t.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  6. wmexpat says:

    Linh…
    I really enjoy reading your essays and agree with many of your
    insights into what the US has become. I became an expat american
    many years ago and have traveled the world extensively.
    I am currently living in Dalat city and have lived in other Vietnamese cities
    as well. I spent last year living in Albania and traveling in the Balkans.
    With regard to this specific article and this topic series, it would be most
    helpful if you were to ask the guest what method they employ to remain in
    their host country.
    As an example: Albania grants americans a one year visa on arrival and a five
    year resident permit is easily obtained. The Republic of Georgia has the same policy.
    Here in Vietnam I am using a one year multi entry business visa which is easily
    renewed and costs a total of $255/year. I spent a few years living in Thailand on a
    visa based on “retirement” which required Thai bank deposits; 90 day reports and lots
    of other b/s.
    I always look forward to your essays and photos….Thank you

    • Replies: @M. Hartley
  7. @wmexpat

    I spent a few years living in Thailand on a visa based on “retirement” which required Thai bank deposits; 90 day reports and lots
    of other b/s.

    Yet another country which is vastly more careful about who stays within its borders than the USA is.

  8. utu says:

    Orban seems to be a very skillful politician. He plays Israeli-American game of undermining the EU which offers some protection from adopting insane EU immigration policies. At the same time he is flexible enough to maintain a decent relationship with Russia. However once the US will make the reset with Russia which is inevitable, the protective umbrella extended over Hungary (and Poland) will be folded and Hungary and Poland will be left at mercy of the EU and Germany, which however may be a blessing in disguise if by then the EU will rectify some of its insane policies thanks to the new trends set by politicians like Salvini of Italy. For the politicians of the so called V4 countries it is a waiting game and navigating between the ‘anti-Marxist Zionism’ and the ‘anti-Zionist Marxism’ but there is no escape from the neoliberalism, i.e., the power of financial markets of oligarchy.

    One should consider a possibility that the reason countries like Poland and Hungary were allowed to resist the Muslim invasion of 2015 was that they were being groomed to be a lifeboat for the exterritorial expansion of Israel into Europe (see Operation Shylock by Philip Roth for a fictional version of this scenario and Henry Kissinger’s 2012 utterance that Israel would not exist in 10 years).

    In an ideal case, in theory at least the EU might be the only salvation for the Western Civilization in the long run. Only EU could stand up to the American-Jewish-Russian oligarchy. Neither America nor Russia can control or contain this oligarchy as it was created by Judeo-Capitalism and Judeo-Bolshevism. Europe can resist Islam very easily however to save the Western Civilization it must resit Americanization which poses much greater threat and this threat will be greater when American will join its forces with Russia just like in the WWII when the two non-European powers conquered and occupied Europe.

    • Replies: @Plato's Dream
  9. republic says:
    @obwandiyag

    average salary in Budapest is around $830,after taxes, so not cheap.

  10. republic says:
    @Trevor H.

    Before Hungary joined the EU, staying long term on a 90 day tourist visa was very easy, one had to travel a few miles to the nearest frontier and return on the same day to get an additional 90 days.

    Today that is no longer possible as Hungary is in the Schengen zone and after 90 days in that zone one has to exit for 90 days. It is called the 180/365 day rule.

    Getting a temporary residency permit is quite difficult. I have researched this topic as I have visited Hungary many times in the past.

    Prague used to be a favorite long term destination for young Americans in the 90s, but the sudden change in visa laws after Czechia joined the EU caused many to leave.

    The best way to stay lone term in Hungary would be to pay a well connected lawyer to do the paperwork, otherwise it would be difficult.

    Getting medical care in Budapest using private doctors would be easy, using the free public health service is very bureaucratic.

  11. republic says:
    @Colin Wright

    I don’t know about that fact, Hungary lost 900,000 in WW II, 300,000 soldiers and 600,000 civilians.

    It was first an ally of Germany and then attacked the USSR. Defeated in the USSR it tried to cut a peace deal with the US, the Germans became aware of this betrayal and then occupied Hungary.

    The very last time that the US ever declared war on any country in the world was in 1942 on Hungary.

    So it lost nearly 10% of its population and had the world’s highest inflation rate in 1946.

    In July 1946, it had a inflation rate of 41.9 quadrillion percent, with prices doubling ever 15 hours.

    • Replies: @Marcali
  12. anonymous[191] • Disclaimer says:

    The author already has a Hungarian last name so that would endear him to the locals somewhat and help him blend in a bit better.

    I really like these expat articles and hope for more in the future.

    • Replies: @Aufklærer108
  13. Vinteuil says:

    I’m sorry that Mr Lukatch doesn’t mention my own favorite thing about Budapest – the Opera scene.

    I’ll be there 5/19 – 6/19 next for the State Opera’s Puccini cycle & MUPA’s Ring cycle.

  14. Vinteuil says:

    Oh, and – the Hungarian language is a bitch – even harder, for an English speaker, than Russian, or Polish, or Romanian.

    • Replies: @Jud Jackson
    , @TKK
  15. Vinteuil says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    I see that Vox Day has now banned you from his comment (i.e., cheering) section.

    Too funny,

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
    , @anon
    , @anonymous
  16. Marcali says:
    @republic

    Hungary joined the Anti-Cominterm Pact with good reason in 1936.
    Others allied themselves with the greatest butchers, the communists, who started the butchery in 1917 and never really finished. To date they achieved 147 million victims worldwide, and counting.

  17. @Colin Wright

    your disinclination to debate 20th Century military history

    with Haxo Angmark

    indicates that you are, fundamentally, a wise person.

    just as a fr’instance, the Red Army’s 1945 seige of Budapest

    was one of the most savage, extended urban battles of the war.

    • Replies: @Wally
  18. @Vinteuil

    funny, but also tragic. Just the other day, Vox had a little trashcan appearing next to each of my comments, so any one of his Vile Minions who wandered by could X it out. But I suppose that wasn’t too successful, so (with a bit of creative editing on my part, much as Bismarck edited the Ems Telegram to provoke a war with France) here is VD’s latest assault on poor Haxo:

    View post on imgur.com

    no matter. A couple years back, http://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com was a run-of-the-mill prepper site with neo-connish inclinations; w/in 6 months Haxo turned it into the race-realist free-for-all that it is today. The lovely (((Ilana Issacsohn-Mercer))), OTOH, simply chose to close off comments altogether when given a cold bath of Haxo’s race-realism. And Weaponsman, after banning and un-banning Haxo about 17 times, finally ran up the white flag; sadly, wm soon thereafter died of a heart-attack, which Haxo sincerely hopes was not his fault.

    why VoxDay continues to resist Haxo’s bursts of geometric logic and overwhelming facticity I do not know. Haxo is, after all, no more than a seeker of Truth and Penitence, wandering in a wilderness of lies and nonsense.

    perhaps VD, as a yet-unrepentent Trumpaholic, is a glutton for punishment. In any case,

    resistence is futile.

  19. “Don’t listen to ‘friends’ and family who wonder how you could ever leave the states ….”

    One of my funnier expat-visiting-home experiences was when my Sister-in-Law, who is one of those “How could you ever leave the States” types, asked me when I planned to return to the States, and she went into a sort of sputtering melt-down when I replied, “I don’t know … maybe never.”

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  20. Good on you, mate. Nice to see someone find their thing.

  21. anon[804] • Disclaimer says:
    @Vinteuil

    I see that Vox Day has now banned you from his comment (i.e., cheering) section.

    Too funny

    sad

    they all still suck trump’s d1ck over there – TGE TGE!!

  22. Budapest now has three Michelin-star places!

    As of last week, actually six, one of them two-star.

    Costes
    Costes Downtown
    Borkonyha
    Onyx (two stars)

    and last week received:

    Stand
    Babel

  23. @obwandiyag

    That’s about $500 u.s. I can’t find an apartment in the US for that, not even a studio.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  24. @utu

    “Only EU could stand up to the American-Jewish-Russian oligarchy.”

    Your Russophobia is blinding you to the fact that the EU itself is a key tool of the (((global oligarchy)))

  25. @Haxo Angmark

    Hungarians gave a good account of themselves in both rounds of the 20th Century
    ——————————————————————————————
    Yes, and the German SS were annihilated attempting to break the siege of Budapest by the Red army. The SS who fought in the streets of Berlin at the end of the war were French, Norwegians, Danes, Swedes.

  26. @Biff

    BIFF

    Nobody questioned why I left lower middle class Phoenix/Tempe. To begin with, you won’t meet any Mexicans overseas. Or perhaps you meet Mexican nationals but not the Cholos who lurk ominously around dusty bus stops and doorways in the Southwest US.

    You won’t meet inner-city blacks. Which is sort of an outdated term because hood rats are everywhere. A good number of pleasant African-American retirees in the Philippines will tell you the reason they moved for retirement to the Philippines was so they did not have to live next door to a crack house.

    Then there are the rednecks who were wired on meth and following people everywhere back in 1999 but have now apparently switched to Opoids.

    Also, the fat lower class slut single mothers are hard to take. So are whiggers.

    Are there any other reasons to leave the US? Why wouldn’t a person who could not make some sort of living in another country not leave the US. Try riding a bus in another country without 300 pound female she-beasts having chimp outs. Public transportation is wonderful without them.

    And urban America is so anonymous anyhow that it is hard to imagine anyone feeling scorn or resentment at anyone coming or going.

    Rich Americans have always lived in Paris or in Europe. And everyone admires them.

    As a single male, I’m glad I arrived overseas young. I wasn’t 75!!! when I got away from Phoenix.

    • Replies: @TKK
    , @anonymous
  27. Ravaged by decades of communism, lol. It is now that Hungary is ravaged by decades of capitalism. Both demographically and in terms of real human rights. My dad spent 10+ years in Hungary as part of western army group. He absolutely loved the place in 60s and 70s. People were happy and cheerful. As he said there was lots of fun. Without the help of communist ravegers you vietnamese would have beed dead meat. Always remember who saved you. And yet you non stop whining here about communism. Note, neither pol pot, not Hosni ming or Mao were communists. Communism is eiropean phenomenon which was the most developed under stalin and ended with him.

    • Replies: @Marcali
    , @Henribeyle
  28. @anonymous

    author already has a Hungarian last name

    I wondered about this, too. György Lukács (born Löwinger) with his dissident Marxism was one of the most important authors for the counter-culture of the 1960s, neither Linh Dinh nor the interviewee seem to be aware…

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @Wally
  29. @The Alarmist

    ALARMIST

    I’ve never encountered that. Americans come and go from living overseas; students, spouses, summer houses in France. When I moved to Dubai in 1999 nobody I knew then said anything.

    Perhaps in the sticks among rural whites it is unusual; among the urban Americans of all classes moving overseas is relative normal. The underclass sometimes does it to avoid alimony and the middle class does it for work and the rich do it because they can afford to.

    Urban Americans seemingly have less attachment to their hometown than rural or exurban whites who have lived in the same zip code their entire lives.

    Or perhaps it is generational. Generation X are common overseas. If you met 4 Americans under 50 like myself, at least two of them would have spent a significant portion of their lives overseas.

    • Replies: @Deschutes
  30. @Aufklærer108

    Most people with the name Lukács are not Jewish. It simply means Luke.

  31. Wally says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    LOL

    That would be the same irrational & “autistic” Haxo Angmark who faithfully believes in the scientifically impossible ‘Nazi gas chambers’.

  32. Wally says:
    @Aufklærer108

    “I wondered about this, too. György Lukács (born Löwinger) with his dissident Marxism was one of the most important authors for the counter-culture of the 1960s …. ”

    Really? Says who?

  33. @Vinteuil

    That is for sure!! I have been here 7 1/2 years and understand almost nothing when people are speaking. Fortunately, many people speak English. I honestly don’t understand how people learn to speak it. I learned French in high school and after 4 years could read Camus in the original French.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  34. TKK says:

    Outstanding article and information.

    After being in a work environment yesterday where an African American female was shelling, shucking, sucking and gnawing on pistachios less than 1 foot from my ear- and I don’t mean a few, I mean cups- and watching the female white trainers nervously want to say something but wimp out-

    Ready to leave.

    These blacks are out of control. Dealing with the Magyar language would be much less stressful than tiptoeing around their perpetual outraged entitlement.

    Another fun observation was watching a young thin black female get up during the presentation, waltz in front of the speaker and and saunter over to get the one comfortable chair in the room. Everyone else sat on metal folding chairs.. Sitting around her were several quiet men in their 80s.

    As she dragged the chair back to her table she shouted to her home girls ( their heads wrapped with shawls like it was a trip to the Yukon, and not an overheated conference room and 60 degrees outside )

    I’s gonna be comfortable!!!!

  35. republic says:

    To Úr With Love

    This is from the Amazon review of his book

    What an incredible, amazing, thought-provoking, vomit-inducing, happy, really nifty book. I laughed, I cried, I bought another copy. Of course, it is my book. Yep, I am the button-busting proud author of To Úr With Love. Don’t know what the title means? Remember the 1960s Sidney Poitier movie about a teacher in the “difficult area” of London? To Sir With Love? Well, “Sir” in Hungarian is “Úr.” Got it? Good.
    So, my book is about another teacher, albeit this time in the wilds of Budapest, Hungary. John Kovacs finally realizes corporate America isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so he
    decides to chuck his boring, conformist, grey-suited life and start over. He figures, what the hell? He’s lived one life, mostly for other people: parents, teachers, bosses, wife,
    colleagues. This time it’ll be for him, the life he should have led the first time around. But it’ll be better now, because he’s had some experience and he knows more about what he wants. And he is Damned Well determined to find it!!
    I had a ball writing this book. My first year teaching English as a foreign language in Budapest, Hungary, exceeded even my wildest expectations. The people, the adventures, the excitement, travels, parties, food, music, sights and sounds — they’re all there in John Kovacs’ memoir. Included along the way are such things as:
    * John realizes why he will never take up scuba diving or parasailing
    * John finds his future in a serendipitous encounter with Atlantic Monthly
    * John comes to grips with mortgage banking management and arm-wrestles it to the ground
    * John runs head-on into TEFL school and bounces off the whiteboard with a severe headache
    * John arrives in Budapest – friendless, studentless, homeless, jobless, and happy as a Guinness junkie in Dublin
    * John finds out why America and England are “two great nations divided by a common language”
    * John meets all of the Bruce and Sheila Australian ex-pats in Hungary
    * John travels to “Dracula’s Castle,” has a Sacher Torte, floats in the Dead Sea and goes to an Irish-Cuban bar
    * John discovers learning Hungarian is exactly like learning Klingon!
    These are just a few of the adventures that await our hero as he divests himself of his old life and puts together his new life. Bigger, better, happier. His monthly income drops 90 percent, but his happiness quotient rises 278 percent. He figures he got the best of the deal. Read this book. All of you long-suffering coporate drones out there, there’s hope for you yet. If John can do it, so can you. In the immortal words of every Irishman for whom someone buys a pint of Guinness: “Whale Oil Beef Hooked!”

  36. As a foreign born American (to the core) and lover of original American ideals, and also world traveler, I can tell everyone this:

    America has made the rest of the world modern. You can live anywhere (almost) comfortably and with the same new conveniences as in the USA. The advantages of living outside the USA is that the rampant insanity infecting it, is pretty much missing in the rest of the world (except England , France,
    and Germany.)

    My advice to any young person : get out of here and do what your forefathers did : get out of insane governments led by shallow idiots that dwell in transgender-ism rights instead of focusing on our crumbling infrastructure, broken educational system, and the most expensive health system in the world coupled with a decrease in life expectancy.

    You do not have to live in America to be American

  37. Marcali says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    The genocide and mass murder of only the soviet communists (rolled):

    The Civil War period till 1922: 3,284,000
    The NEP period till 1928: 5,484,000
    The collectivization period till 1935:16,924,000
    The Great Terror period till 1938: 21,269,000
    Pre-World War II period till June 1941:26,373,000
    World War II period till 1945: 39,426,000
    Postwar and Stalin’s twilight till 1953: 55,039,000
    Post-Stalin period till 1987: 61,911,000
    (R. J. Rummel: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder since 1917, Transaction Publisher, 1990.)

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    , @By-tor
  38. eah says:

    get out of here and do what your forefathers did

    How is the average American supposed to do that?

    Via ‘visa waiver’ programs, Americans can generally travel to other countries without a visa and stay there (as a tourist) for a certain period of time — this is because Americans can usually be trusted to go home — the reverse is often not true: eg Poles still need a visa to visit the US because they have always been likely overstayers, whereas Americans can visit Poland as tourists without a visa.

    You must be a citizen or national of the following countries* to be eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP.

    The vast majority of Americans who end up living overseas do so via 1) a spouse, or 2) getting a work-related visa that in time turns into permanent permission to live and work in that country.

    The average American cannot just go and live in whatever country they may prefer.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  39. Deschutes says:
    @jeff stryker

    No, that’s not really true, i.e. that ‘at least two of them spent significant part of lives overseas’. I’m from urban USA, and I only know one other person from my high school or college (a huge university) who lived abroad. Keep in mind before 9-11 less than 10% of Americans even had a passport. After 9-11 that number went up to a mere 25%. And that was mostly to go to neighboring Canada or Mexico. So, definitely not a common as you claim speaking from personal experience. I would also agree with the Alarmist in that most Americans think of moving abroad a weird, odd, “why?”, etc. All things considered, it sure is nice to not live in USA any more 🙂

  40. @Marcali

    Where are you sucking all those fantastic numbers from? Demographic statistics and opened archives along with common sense do not support this crap you posted. However, population OP n declines all over former socialist states and demographic catastroph threatening their future after abandonment of socialism is a hard fact which is in demographic statistic. Silent murder.

    • Agree: Plato's Dream
  41. Clyde says:

    Linh Dinh….good one! Enjoyed immensely! If you want to comment briefly how you liked it in Budapest? And to ask a totally stupid question…Does Budapest have good Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants? Both Viets and Chinese like Germany, France, UK more, but some must be in Budapest.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  42. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Clyde

    Hi Clyde,

    The worst Vietnamese food is in Eastern Europe. Why? These Vietnamese are all refugees from the Communist north, during its worst years, when the food, like everything else, was awful, so they took that heritage with them and serve it in Eastern Europe. I had a bowl of pho in Prague that was criminal. As I tried to swallow that slop, I looked with pity at the poor Czechs who actually thought this was acceptable Vietnamese food.

    The first time I was in Hanoi in 1995, I couldn’t believe how bad the food was generally, but it has improved, thanks to influences from the south and, more importantly, increasing prosperity and competition.

    As for Budapest, I wrote about it in Hungarian Lessons, and here are the photos.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Clyde
  43. Tony says:

    Not too smart are you dinh? Now everyone will be coming to budapest and it’ll be ruined. On the other hand maybe you should stay there.

  44. Vinteuil says:
    @Jud Jackson

    Same here – I’ve visited Budapest about half a dozen times in the last few years, and finally decided that I should learn a bit of the language.

    So I bought the whole Pimsleur Hungarian course…

    Now that I’ve finished 29 out of the 30 lessons, I can say, with little fear of contradiction, that Hungarian is the language from another planet. Or possibly even from Hell.

    And, besides, everybody you really need to talk to in Budapest speaks English way better than you will ever speak magyar.

    • Replies: @hunor
  45. TKK says:
    @Vinteuil

    It’s Magyar- similar in some ways to Turkish.

    It is very hard- a jumble of consonants.
    But primitive in some ways.

    Sentence structure is:

    Subject verb object

    Like Turkish. Get the basics and your point can get across.

  46. TKK says:
    @jeff stryker

    US. Try riding a bus in another country without 300 pound female she-beasts having chimp outs. Public transportation is wonderful without them.

    AGREE!

    And the strange culture that is growing, if you call the cops on them, you are the villain.

    Not beating it into the ground, but the black beasts at the training I was at yesterday basically ran the show. You could see the white supervisors nervously observing but everyone was afraid to say anything.

    I actually did say something and was told that I could put in earplugs if I did not want to hear the retard beside me shucking and chowing down on pistachios.

    When I asked how I was supposed to also hear the instructor while in ear plugs- I did not receive a response.

    This is a micro example of the Plague of Black Coddling that has taken over America, which will destroy it.

    I have represented the Cholos you reference. Subhuman degenerates. Illiterate gangster culture who only value violence and money. They have nothing in common with Western values or Christian values.

    When my elderly mother passes on- I am leaving.

  47. @Haxo Angmark

    They’re everywhere those, (((banksters)))

  48. @eah

    EAH

    MY EXPAT OBSERVATION

    You rarely see a visible minority overseas. For example, I’ve never seen a black American woman or Chicana in Southeast Asia or Europe. They just don’t travel and could not support themselves overseas anyhow.

    Nor do you run into the real white trash. Like the Chicanos and blacks, most often they are either on welfare or probation/parole or pregnant. So they cannot travel well. African-Americans, perceive a great deal of racism overseas.

    Also, the real poor Americans have to be within proximity of their drug dealer. Riding a plane for 18 hours sober would be a real stretch for them.

    Western Europe is different, because white Americans are essentially Western Europeans anyhow. Italian-Americans and a fair number of Irish-Americans and of course Jews have strong ties to their ancestral countries and often dual citizenship.

    The Philippines is the exception. Many blacks and lower class white males who served in the military there move back because it is better than the projects or trailer parks. Many picked up the language and even have old girlfriends there that they reunite with.

    But overall, living in Eastern Europe or Asia is for white working middle class males like myself. The reason we do so is simply to get away from people we would have to live around in the US.

    “White flight” is a true reflection of how middle-class white males feel. You might publicly proclaim to love garbage because that is the mainstream narrative or proclaim it enriches you, but deep down, you just want to get away from it as far and fast as possible.

  49. @TKK

    TKK

    I arrived in Dubai in 1999 accidentally as a young man when an old high school buddy offered me a job.

    In Phoenix as in Southeast Michigan, I’d become accustomed to the unfettered primitivism of rednecks, inner-city blacks and Cholos.

    This reached a nadir in Phoenix. When I first moved there, I lived in low-income housing with redneck tweakers and a few Hoodrats, including a black pimp who showed up at my door with two white trash hookers trying to sell his wares. One particular white tweaker followed me around demanding money from me.

    So I moved into a Tempe condo which was better, but on the fringes of the Guadalupe barrio. Cholos would emerge from the barrio to menace and sometimes assault the middle-class Anglos like myself for no particular reason except boredom, seemingly.

    When I moved to Dubai, suddenly I was amazed at what life was like for the average not-so-rich person in other countries. Parks were safe. Beaches were safe. Everybody rode the public transport peacefully. There were no whiggers or meth-addicted rednecks around. There were no gangs or drugs. Single mother sluts with sullen glares were not around.

    In Southeast Michigan I had experienced several outbursts from blacks for no reason. One had been a woman.

    Once I got to Dubai, there was none of this. Russian women were commonly prostitutes, but they did this discreetly and, seemingly, did not get pregnant. There were no juvenile delinquents.

    Other Westerners worked for oil companies or were engineers or white collar professionals of some kind. So they were well-behaved in public.

    However, one notable exception was when black sailors got off a ship and started a brawl in a local KFC. Other than this, I never heard of any Americans creating a problem.

    Within a week of arriving in Dubai and sitting at the beach watching the sunset over the Persian Gulf, I reflected on how much safer and more pleasant my life was than Phoenix.

    Americans who have never been overseas take these things seemingly for granted. Like the fact that Mestizo gangs rove the street or poor whites are out of their minds on meth (Opoids was after my time) or outbursts on public buses from 300 lb she-beasts or white women being raped. Its just par for the course.

    Some American posters here will say “move to a rural city or town”. What the hell are you going to do in the Ozarks if like me you have a white-collar skill-set? Overseas, you do not have to live out in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road with potholes that is 10 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart?

    Unlike Mr. Linh, who may have felt professionally bridled, my own reason for living overseas is simply for quality of life. I had no relatives like he did in Vietnam among Emirates or Asians and was not really interested in the local culture, though I eventually married a Thai-Chinese woman from the merchant community.

    My own reason was “white flight”. Like everything else, “white flight” has gone global.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  50. Truth says:
    @TKK

    Your blaming a black person for sitting in the most comfortable, and empty, chair?

  51. @TKK

    TKK

    Look at it this way, whites simply leaving is the ultimate form of revenge. Because white flight result in a collapsing city and wherever white tax money has disappeared is an internal third world.

    Imagine if every white man left the US. Would not matter much to us and we can adapt to just about anywhere.

    As a lifelong expat, I’ve gotten even with my own bad experiences in the US as a young man by not paying taxes (Your exempt overseas under $110,000 a year) and giving my life’s work to overseas employers. I feel great about that.

  52. @freedom-cat

    That’s about $500 u.s.. I can’t find an apartment in the US for that, not even a studio.

    Property taxes in alone burn up more than that in the US on a moderate home that one supposedly “owns”!!!

    I’d have left long ago if it were not for family; how can the guy can live without his grandbabies?

  53. @TKK

    Yeah, that and people who voted for the likes of tRump and the Cackling Hillaryena, to say nothing about the standing ovations for Netanyahoo, and all the wars all the time.

    This place stinks to high heaven and has for a very long time.

  54. @TKK

    Illiterate gangster culture who only value violence and money. They have nothing in common with Western values or Christian values.

    Hey, you could be a modern day Douglas Reed. He said similar things about a group of people living in Germany during the WW2 era and he was right.

  55. Clyde says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Thanks much! Love that pho with thin sliced raw beef! Sriracha on the side with the bean sprouts etc.

  56. AaronB says:
    @jeff stryker

    I remember the 90s in New York. They were very bad, violent, dangerous, just as you say.

    But America is not like you describe any more, at least in many places it isn’t.

    New York today is quite civilized and pleasant. People here smile more and are friendlier than in Thailand, for instance.

    When was the last time you were in America? I’m not saying you should return, and I also enjoy living overseas. But you left during a particularly bad time.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  57. @Sergey Krieger

    Poor guy, your father was never allowed to leave his military barracks so he had no idea about the life in Hungary. Meeting with Hungarians was strictly forbidden, understandably because the locals hated their guts. Clearly, he was a good Communist who liked to tell you tall tales.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  58. @AaronB

    The last time I lived in the US was in 1999. And I never lived in New York. I should state that as a young post-college entry-level worker I was broke and lived in low-income places.

    Anyhow, it would be impossible for me to return to the US now and younger expats should take note. Everything I have done as an adult-have a career, buy a house, get married-was overseas. When I left the US I was only 25 years old, a young man.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  59. AaronB says:
    @jeff stryker

    Yeah, there’s no reason to return. Life is great overseas also.

    But violence from blacks and cholos is down significantly. In the 90s as a kid, I lived in a middle class neighbourhood but walking a few blocks after dark was risky.

    I live today in a “gentrifying” neighborhood, and there’s lots of blacks and Hispanics around. Its pretty safe with no incidents and I feel comfortable waking around late at night.

    Things have really changed since you’ve been in America.

    Expatriating can be a great option, but lots of other places in the world are facing all sorts of social strain. Thailand, which was once the land of smiles, is now full of angry, tense people who are seriously on edge. China is cutthroat and can be fairly harsh.

    The world is going through some problems these days all over. Many cultures are xenophobic and have values that Westerners might find repellent.

    Which is not to say expatriating is a bad idea. It’s a ton of fun and a great adventure. I love travel and will continue to visit these places till I die.

    But let’s not kid ourselves – there’s no paradise on this Earth and there are no angels anywhere.

    • Agree: Commentator Mike
    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  60. anonymous[855] • Disclaimer says:
    @Vinteuil

    Vox is a traitorous jew-worshiper. Jew-worshipers are what turned MAGA into (((MIGA.)))

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  61. anonymous[341] • Disclaimer says:
    @jeff stryker

    Now anti-white jeff “patel” stryker got away from Arizona instead of Michigan. The story ever changes. LOL

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  62. @AaronB

    AARON

    In fairness to blacks and Latinos in NYC there was a reason why Guliani went after his own people because the mafia had corrupted the city from top to bottom. Nothing against Italians, but until Gotti went away the East Coast was run in part by paramilitary crime families. If you are my age you remember when “gangland slayings” were so common that when people heard that some men whose last names ended in vowels were found in triple homicides or car bombs killed some Capo the American public just shrugged and said “Guidos are be like Guidos”.

    Once the criminals at the top were locked up under RICO, it was easier to go after black muggers on the subways or whatever. And Bernard Goetz himself remarked that AIDS and Roe vs. Wade played a part in this.

    As for white criminals, it just is not worth it to be some Jeff Goldblum type Jewish mugger/rapist in NYC like DEATH WISH depicted or a Richard Kuklinski professional killer or serial killer on a whim like Richard Speck…technology guarantees they’ll be caught more quickly and they will go to prisons that are 80% black and like Richard Speck they will be forced to take smuggled female hormones in order to work as prostitutes for candy bars or cigarettes. The three strikes law locked up most of them and the rest just stopped being career criminals and got jobs as assistant managers in low-end fast food chains.

    My own experience in Phoenix was probably symptomatic of that time and place. I grew up in middle-class Ann Arbor and Warren, Michigan as the son of a scientist. It was not until I graduated from college that I saw how unfettered the urban underclass could be.

    Crystal meth was ravaging the population at that time.

    My own experience left me believing that one reason that the poor are in the situation they are is because they live in a sexual hothouse of molestation, out-of-wedlock children, higher than usual fertility, prostitution, incest and rape.

    As for Asia, it would really depend upon your circumstances. If you are a 30 year old white-collar male who just started a family and made a down payment on a house then you would have to be pretty stupid to throw it over to move to the Philippines. However, if you are a divorced near-penniless African-American ex postal worker who has to live on $1000 a month you are a better off in Philippines than in subsidized housing. If you are an ex-military divorced middle-aged man living in a rural trailer park in squalor than Thailand might be for you.

    Most longtime expats like myself don’t really care how we are regarded by locals. It is the same self-centered indifference that took us overseas for work in the first place. Expats are not the type of American who shows up at a protest because want to change things. We are all about the currency exchange and our own material comfort.

    To some degree, I hold the rednecks and blacks and Mestizos and whiggers and other low-class Americans in contempt but have no money to live anywhere but around them in the US. At age 45, I am too old to want to make rent by sharing an apartment with another aging bachelor so it is easier to marry some Chinese or Thai woman who owns a business and simply invest whatever savings I have in expanding it so that I can live with a female in Asia.

    There is also the issue of having fun. You can get laid in Asia. A divorce means your wife keeps the house and you fly to a new Asian country to start over. In the US, paying for female company means some unpleasant junkie in the worst part of town in some SCARFACE-type cheap motel of horrors where some ambush is always around the corner.

    Fundamentally, expats just don’t care about their own country or its culture or laws or media. The last time I watched US television the original episodes of X-Files were on the air. I could care less about Hollywood or watching some reality TV show featuring some Armenian sluts whose Dad might have been involved in the murder of Nicole and Ron. Life is too short for anything but warm nights at the beach over drinks and exploring new places.

    One has to add the personal background of an expat. My parents went through a horrendous divorce and we lost the house I grew up in. My brother moved to Los Angeles when he was 18 and I have not seen him in 13 years since he visited me in Dubai. I’ve mentioned I was glad to get out of Phoenix just to get away from Cholos.

    Living overseas, I made no attempt to meet other Americans or Westerners. On one occasion I led a group of Navy sailors around but they became so drunk and disorderly that I left them in the dust.

    On another occasion a female commercial sailor wandered into the girly bar I managed in the Philippines and I got her soddenly drunk and had a one-night stand with her because it had been years since I had been with an American woman.

    But in general I could care less.

  63. @anonymous

    324

    I do not want to derail threads detailing my own personal circumstances to tailgaters but I moved to Phoenix from Southeast Michigan after college. Short of cash, I did not realize how primitive and potentially dangerous beaners can be.

    Up to that point I just thought they were short guys in sombreros like Cheech.

    In Phoenix they were mostly gnarly-faced Amerindian demons.

  64. @Henribeyle

    You have no clue. Not only our yonge officers were mingling with Hungarians but a lot more than that… my dad said Hungarian girls were quite agreeable. Another western moron speaks about things he has no clue about. As my dad told me, when on leave our guys were parting so hard there was no money left often until next salary.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @awry
  65. republic says:

    The White nationalist, Dr. William Luther Pierce, was married 5 times, the last three were to Hungarian women.

    A great book to read about Dr.Pierce, is Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds

  66. anon[473] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    why would you say something like this?

    do you wonder why the formerly occupied countries dont like you?

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  67. @anon

    Those “occupied” countries either actively participated in German attack on the Soviet union or served as highway for German troops. USSR had every right to keep them under control after the victory. Their current behaviour 30 after there is no Soviet union support my views.

    • Replies: @anon
  68. anon[199] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Those “occupied” countries either actively participated in German attack on the Soviet union

    why would they do that?

    why did so many in the Ukraine and the Baltics welcome German “invaders”?

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  69. awry says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    I doubt that many girls were “agreeable” with Soviet soldiers, maybe a few low-life whores and gypsies were… The Soviet soldiers didn’t have much money and they were pretty despised by most of the population. There were plenty of Western tourists (German, Italian etc.) to whore themselves out to (if they were so inclined), who had much more to offer than a Soviet officer.
    I don’t doubt that Soviet officers burned all of their salary on the first leave in a pub, got piss drunk and then no more fun for next month… (I remember a story that one time 3 drunk Soviet officers got in a disagreement with the locals at a pub, were kicked out and later came back with a tank and run over a guy in revenge).

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  70. bluedog says:

    You shouldn’t repeat story’s for it destroys the validity of your post..!!

  71. Vinteuil says:
    @hunor

    Thanks – fascinating. But this does tend to reinforce my conviction that Hungarian is too foreign for me ever to make much headway with it.

  72. Vinteuil says:
    @anonymous

    Vox is a traitorous jew-worshiper.

    Whatever you say, dude.

  73. @awry

    Гусары денег не берут.

  74. @anon

    How many? There are traitors in every nation. You better answer why there were so many French and poles who deployed butt up position. Was that also Russia fault?

  75. anonymous[739] • Disclaimer says:

    What’s Hungarian TV like?

    This is one of my greatest complaints about life in our USA – the television media, especially television news is dominated by arrogant, liars, who tend to overwhelmingly come from racial, ethnic and sexual groups that hate my people.

    I quit a Chicago tennis sports club because the owner insisted on forcing CNN on all the big screen TVs – like something out of Orwell’s 1984.

    • Replies: @hunor
  76. hunor says: • Website
    @anonymous

    The tv news network in Hungary is the same as CNN in the USA. Simply because we have the same masters as you do.

  77. By-tor says:
    @Marcali

    How many military age males would have been left in the USSR to fight Greater Nazi Germany from 1941-45? Inquiring minds want to know.

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