Budapest during the global pandemic – How does it feel to be an expat in an empty city, far away from home? In this post, you can read Alina’s story. She left her home town Minsk, to study in Budapest. While she decided to move to Hungary, she certainly didn’t expect to experience a global pandemic. And yet she made the best out of it.
“Se puszi se pá!” - The summer in Budapest during the global pandemic
“The summer of 2020 in Budapest was a true adventure. After studying for one whole year at the Andrássy University, I had been looking forwards to a great summer. I really wanted to go home to see my family, my friends, my cat and my beautiful hometown Minsk! After that, I had planned to travel and enjoy the sun. But these plans didn’t come true at all… Due to the COVID restrictions, this year was really stressful, starting during the springtime. Three months of strict social distancing and studying online … the social distancing slowly started to depress me.
Budapest during the pandemic
Fortunatly, the cafés were able to reopen their doors in June. It was such a joy just to sit at the Danube and enjoy some delicious fried fish! Or to finally be able to go to a café and a piece of cake at a terrace … life in Budapest quickly became what it used to be. After a few days, I had completely forgotten about masks and social distancing.
Still, I had to work really hard for my studies, which is why I couldn’t enjoy the first months of summer – I mainly just stayed home to work on my assignments. But for one week, my boyfriend and I travelled to Hévíz – even there, besides the swimming pool, I had to work …
I started an apprenticeship in July, so I could not fly home during this time. I had to use public transportation every day, wearing a face mask and using hand sanitizer of course. Face masks were obligatory in public transportation. Due to the apprenticeship, I could hardly enjoy the summer – but I had a few great experiences anyway.
For one, I participated in the Lupa Beach Run and the Generali night run. It was such a great time! Generali night run was supposed to be a “Bulifutas”, which means that you are asked to dress up in funny ways. That’s why I ran in a long black dress 🙂 It looked kind of silly, but I had lots of fun.
Learning Hungarian during the pandemic
Besides running, I also participated in an online super class to improve my Hungarian. But it wasn’t in the online class, where I learned the most important Hungarian expressions – I learned these in the streets!
“Se puszi se pá”normally means “no kiss, no goodbye”. That’s what you say, when somebody leaves without saying goodbye properly. Some Hungarians consider it to be rude, to leave without kissing the other person on their cheeks three times.
But due to Covid “se puszi se pá” got a new meaning …
The second expression is “Tök jó!”,which means “awesome”! So, over all, despite the pandemic, my summer in Budapest was tök jó!”
I really hope that you enjoyed reading Alina’s story. She is still in Budapest to finish her Master’s thesis.
Do you have a lockdown story to tell, too?
Thanks to Alina for sharing her experience.