Our Big News – We’re Moving

Our Big News – We’re Moving

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 :-))

The Hungarians

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!”

FIWE

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!

  • Oliver

    Wish you all the best of luck guys!! 🙂 I hope you settle in well and find everything you are looking for in your new home. And of course we are all going to visit you in Timisoara in September! 🙂

    • Thanks Oli! I’ll doubt we’ll find everything we’re looking for over there. One of the things I’m not going to find there is Bretzel. I love Butterbretzel. One strong motivation to come back every now and then…

  • raluca

    Welcome back! 🙂

    I’m glad somebody is moving back here. I can attest that yes, the healthcare system is on the aggregate, the worst in Europe. This does not mean that you cannot find places where it’s all right, like in the big cities.

    My husband and I were recently discussing this, as we are seriously considering emigrating. Any other system, like the school system, the roads, everything else the government provides can be bypassed with money. There are good private schools in Romania, also, you can decide to spend more time with your kid and he/she will end up ok. You can choose to retire early and then you don’t care about state pension. You can easily bypass bad roads by travelling by plane to Mallorca, or elsewhere for your holidays. You can even reduce bureaucracy in your life by hiring a tax consultant and in Romania they are quite cheap.

    You can even bypass rutine heathcare issues like having your teeth fixed or checkups or vaccinations or things like that, because private healthcare is ok here and should be affordable to somebody who still works for German money.

    But you cannot bypass an emergency health issue. Because that’s when you need to enter hospitals and be at the mercy of the healtcare system. And that’s really a bad situation to be in, at least on average, in Romania. The worst problem is that there are people dying here of diseases or problems that would be treatable in other countries. HPV screening for example is something that maybe 20% of women are doing here. It’s insane how nobody in the government cares about this and it’s only one of the preventable diseases that receives zero attention from people in power.

    PS. If your wife is looking for an english speaking comunity, she can try to find or found a Lean In chapter in Timisoara if she thinks that is something she would be interested in. In Cluj at least, meetings are in English and the discussions are diverse, ranging from work/life balance to health to start-up experiences.

    • Hi Raluca. You’re right in all your points. What the school concerns we’re lucky that we have a good school in TM where I went to. So we don’t have to look for a private one.
      I am going to need a good tax consultant since our situation is pretty complicated. I just had the second hour long call with the german tax authority’s international office. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
      The healthcare system is worrying me but I have to say we had some very positive experience as well recently which makes me be a bit more optimistic.
      Thanks for the tip about the EN community. We’ll look into that!

  • Sound great.

    I’m really interested to visit the Carpathian mountains. The landscape looks really nice around there.

    I hope all works like you two expected.

    • Dummerchen

      Hi mafis,
      Oh, yes. The nature is really great down there. If you avoid the tourist traps (look for Dracula aka Vlad Tepes), there is still a lot to see. I’ve been there twice and all the city names sound quite familiar to me: Timisoara, Reschitza, Cluj, Tirgu Mures, the western Moldavia with its monasteries, I’ve seen a lot and a journey through romania was quite an adventure back in the first years of this century. Maybe it still is?!

      @Mr and MrsW: I wish you all the best for this big step “back to the roots” (at least for MrW).

      • Thanks Dummerchen! I curious about your Romanian trips. I hope we’ll have the chance soon to chat about it.

        • Dummerchen

          Well, I can hardly remember the details, but I know for sure that these were two great trips. The only words i kept in mind are Papanasi and Mamaliga, guess why ;-).

          • haha. Not bad, but there are many more good things to try over there. Did you try Mici?

    • I don’t want to promise too many things since we have a shitloads of stuff to sort out this year but I am seriously thinking about organising mountain trips to the carpathians. Something like “FIWE Outdoor”. A smaller group of people for 3-4 days in the mountains. I really hope we’ll make it happen maybe even allready this year. What do you think?

      • No hurry. I didn’t mean this year. But next year…

        FIWE Outdoor sounds like an amazing idea.

  • amber tree

    Great move. All the best in Romania. The non paid work sounds super great.

    I look forward to the Fiwe details.

    • thanks man! FIWE details coming soon! I think we have chosen the weekend…

  • Congrats you 2!!!! Romania sounds very idyllic and I love that it motivates you to be part of the community and help out those kids, as well as improves your quality of life!

    We will try to visit you sometime when we’re back in Europe. There’s a vegan cycling festival in Romania this summer in Baia Sprie that we may join too. 🙂

    • I’ve just looked up Baia Sprie. It’s far 🙂 But hey. You have the time to connect it with Timisoara! You’re more than welcome to visit us. Actually I have relatives close to Zalau and Bistrita which is quite close to Baia Sprie. When is that cycling festival going to happen?

      • The dates for the cycling fest are not set in stone, but I believe it starts sometime in August. We’re not 100% sure we can make it to Romania at that time but it would be nice to catch up with you and Mrs. W in person! 🙂

  • Congrats for the decision! I agree with all the points! (specially because I am romanian and I have friends moved in Timisoara).

    I proposed similar think to my husband (would be very possible for as to do it in 5-10 years) and he says…: “Romania, lady? are you kidding???”
    Don’t forget: you can find some local properties to rent for us there. The flight tickets to Timisoara are cheap!!! (I found some with 30-50 euro…)

    • you are in a quite similar situation since both your families live in a different (cheaper) country as far as I know. So, you might allready be FI if you moved there. Of course, this is notenough reason to move but it’s worth to think about it.

    • I’m sure you can find a cheap house to rent in our neighbourhood. Come and visit!

  • Ex-Studentin

    I was waiting for this post although I am a little bit sad about your decision. I thought we could arrange a user meeting in Stuttgart before you leave. On which day are you going to you move?

    Self grown vegetables, nice landscapes and lovely grandparents seem like a good deal.

    • I’m sure we can arrange a reader meetup before we leave. Looking forward to it.

  • AufHellerundPfennig.com

    Good luck! What an exciting journey you have ahead. My husband feels unsure about staying in Germany as well. It is a constant discussion at our table if we should stay or move back to the US.

    • Why is he unsure about staying in Germany?
      And why to the US? Doesn’t look very promising to me what’s happening there…