Yaay! 2017 is here! We made it! Hope you’re all doing well and you’re ready for the challenges the new year will bring.
Well, this year is going to be a big one for us. Our main challenge this year: moving to Romania! Yup, from the middle of the year we’re going to be residents of the (arguably) most corrupt country in the EU. Yippeee!
One Question: Why?
Here are the main reasons:
– My parents are getting old and are going to need our help more and more in the long term (this is reason number one).
– In the short term, we need their help too to raise our kids.
– We don’t have office jobs and most of the stuff we’re working on can be done online – we basically don’t have to be in Germany.
– The kids feel great in Romania and my parents seem to forget about all their health issues when surrounded by grandchildren.
– We’ll have professional babysitters so we can take an evening or a day off from parenting every now and then.
– There’s a good community there for us, great cultural and social life so we won’t get depressed or bored.
– There’s actually not much that we’ll miss in Germany.
– The political situation is crazy in both countries anyway (although to be honest we prefer Germany in this regard at the moment).
– We’ll finally have access to decent vegetables grown in my parents’ garden with no packaging, a tiny carbon footprint and no costs!
– If we get bored of Romania and want a change, we can park the kids with the grandparents, hop on a cheap Wizzair flight and check out a new city in Europe for a weekend or so.
What are the downsides?
We didn’t take this decision lightly, we’ve been thinking about it for about 18 months now. We’re doing quite well in Germany – it’s a good place to live and a great place for entrepreneurs.
What I’m going to miss mostly is probably the healthcare system. It’s expensive, but as long as you pay your insurance premium, you’re fine. (Listen Trump, if you wanna make your country great, start with the healthcare system and have a look at some European countries. Your country is a disaster! It’s true! Totally fake!).
Of course, after over 10 years, we have many social connections that we’ll miss. I hope to be able to keep in touch though and we’re not cutting all our ties to Germany anyway. It’ll be a pleasure to come back every now and then.
I’m afraid that I’m going to get too pissed off about corrupt Romanian politicians and shit bureaucracy. It’s a mess. After Germany this is going to be really hard I think.
I’m also a a bit unsure about how easy is going to be to be an entrepreneur in Romania. I hope they don’t try to fuck with me just to get some bribe money. Maybe I’m too pessimistic. I’ll keep you posted.
Putting all the pieces together, after thinking about the pros and cons, we came to the conclusion that this will be best for our family.
What are we going to do there?
Well, in the town I’m from, where my parents live and where we’re going to live initially, there’s not much to do. It’s small, we don’t have much in common with the people there. They mostly live a spendy, luxury, status-symbol-oriented lifestyle even though they don’t have much money. Since they can afford cars and have taxis in the town, they don’t walk anywhere anymore. Quiet sad…
The bigger city nearby, Timisoara, has everything we want. This is were I went to school and where I studied. We’re also quite looking forward to exploring the fast-growing culinary experiences as the city centre is going through a renaissance at the moment and new restaurants, cafés, wine bars and pubs are popping up every other week. We’re planning to move there when Miss W starts school so that she can go to the same Hungarian-language school I went to. Also, Timisoara is going to be Europe’s Cultural Capital in 2021. So, put a reminder in your calendar for end of 2020 to book your plane ticket!
There are a number of NGOs in the area that do great things and we’re looking forward to learning more about them and seeing where we can help. We also want to try to help a children’s home in my hometown that houses about 12 kids. Last summer we did some German language teaching for them. We also collected donations of shoes and pens from Germany for them. I want to help more though. I want to make sure they get the education they deserve. Some of them are quite talented. I’ll start by teaching Excel, Word and later we’ll see what we can do.
Apart from that, I’m going to work on all the stuff I worked on before, mostly my Web portal (my baby) and freelance consulting for some German firms.
Mrs W is going to spend the first few months intensively learning Romanian and trying to build up a community for native English speakers in Timisoara. She’s also going to be focusing on getting the kids settled and finding ways to keep their German and English going. She’s not going to be bored!
Oh, and we want to explore Romania more. Actually visit my relatives (like those living in that tiny village in the Translyvania) in remote places who we’ve been promising to visit for years. Go trekking in the beautiful Carpathian mountains (checkout this Nat Geo youtube documentary). And go further into Serbia than the pljeskavica restaurant just over the border. Pljeskavica is a kind of Serbian hamburger that’s so out of this world that we normally get distracted by it on trips to Serbia and don’t bother going any further (the border crossing is only 3km from my parents’ house; we go there by bike :-))
There’s a big Hungarian community there. I know many of the people that are active in it and they do many things we’re interested in. From kids’ events to concerts to wine tastings, there’s plenty of stuff we can do there, and during the last two summers we spent there, we had the chance to go to many events and meet many new people. It’s not like “we hope”…we know it’s going to OK.
Why the Hungarians?
Some of you might ask why I care so much about the Hungarian community, since we’re talking about Romania. In fact the Hungarian minority makes up about 5% of the population in that area. My parents are Hungarian, I went to a Hungarian-language school and then a Romanian-language uni. I speak both languages fluently and have many Romanian friends too. I think and feel Hungarian though. The culture, the language is close to my heart and this is what I am. There’s nothing I can or want to change about it. I got so much from the Hungarian school I went to and from the Hungarian community in Germany, that it became clear to me that being an active part of the community is what I want to do, what I can do and what makes me truly happy. A good community is so important for happiness!
One of the things I already started getting involved in is the management of a web portal that lists all the events and news around the community. If we want to have quality concerts and other events here, we need to reach the members of the community and I think this is something where I can and want to help. The best thing: no money involved! As Pete (Mr Money Mustache) said in his epic presentation at the World Domination Summit: “Work gets a lot better if you don’t need the money!”
We’ve also been thinking about FIWE 2017. We’re still working on the details, but we can reveal that it’s going to happen in Timisoara this September. This is one of our main projects this year (apart from moving), and we’re excited about how it’ll turn out.
Where are we going to live?
This was actually our main challenge. We want to have our own place but be close to my parents, ideally within walking distance. Well, we found a place by accident while we were in Romania over Christmas. More on that in an upcoming post.
Watch this space for updates on how we’re going to radically change our lives with geographic arbitrage. Also, we’ll be publishing some expense reports to show you how this change impacts our finances.
So, that’s our big news. Preparations for a new chapter in our life have started…wish us luck!