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Everyday Life in Hungary

Life for expats in the 2020 Hungarian lockdown

Spring is here in Hungary but the world is not a happy place right now.

Coronavirus is an infectious disease (COVID-19) caused by a new virus. There is no cure.

We are entering our third week in lockdown, Hungary announced a state of emergency, with restrictions on free movement. The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary today now stands at 1,579. People in compulsory home quarantine, 13,360. Thankfully 192 have recovered but sadly 134 have died.

We live in a small rural village with less than 300 residents. There is lots of community spirit with social distancing taken very seriously. I looked out of the window the other morning and villagers were shouting loudly to each other from either side of the road, and from their gardens. Some with masks some without. The village has an aging population with many in the high risk category. Our village website regularly circulates messages from the local doctors explaining the relevant procedures if a doctor is needed. The local shop has gone into production of homemade masks and readily distributes them to those in need. There are offers of help (via the website) to do shopping for the elderly residents so they do not go without. It is reassuring to know we live in a community willing to help in anyway they can.

We have been home for the last 2 weeks, filling our days with garden planning, sowing seeds, lots of digging and weeding, cooking, and for me blogging and reading.

These boots are made for diggin!

Our fortnightly shopping trip was yesterday as our cupboards and fridge were bare. The fruit bowl looked sadly depleted with just a few lemons left, down to the last few onions in the veggie basket and the freezer empty of bread and meals. We also needed to pay bills at the post office and visit the tobacconist and chemist. The rules for shopping here state if you are under 65 you have to shop after 12.00pm each day, this is to allow the older people to shop between 9 and 12. If your prescription runs out the pharmacies will repeat it for you without the need to visit your GP.

We managed to do all our shopping, keeping our distance from people and following the makeshift barriers around the meat and cheese counters. I was surprised in Tesco that the checkouts did not have protective perspex barriers and that the cashier had no mask or gloves. I was super glad I was wearing a mask. The rules for all small shops is one in one out, Eric, bless him, queued outside the post office, pharmacy and tobacconist, fortunately it was a sunny day! I am very relieved to always have hand gel in my handbag, I use it regularly. I got lucky and bought a bottle just before it ran out in the shops. I treated myself, I bought a new mop since I am forever cleaning our floors, funny but I am super excited about using it… practising good cleaning methods. I also bought a box of young fuschia, all that digging I needed something to plant immediately!

All restaurants are closed and only allowed to provide takeaways, I am missing our favourite eating house, we used to go there often, http://www.tulipanetterem.hu/ they must be suffering like so many other establishments. This means my meal planning and home cooking has increased, I do seem to be much more organised… that can only be a good thing.

Eric and I share the cooking but I do ALL the clearing up…he is one messy chef!! But a good one!

Hungary has restricted entry to foreign nationals, meaning our stream of English visitors will not be coming to visit us this summer, which is sad but necessary. Thank goodness for social media so we can stay in touch easily and frequently. The same applies to our families, some in England, Lebanon, Armenia and Spain.

So for us the virus has affected us in many ways, not only in our everyday lives but also the impact it is had on our finances, because our income comes from England who, unfortunately, are in a far worse situation than we are here in Hungary. Let’s hope it comes to an end soon and we can regain some sort of normality although I expect it to take a long long time. Remember stay safe, stay home and wash your hands!

By Sue

I am an English Ex-Pat living in Hungary with my wonderful husband and gaming-mad teenage son. You can find me frequently writing, reading and taking photographs. We live in a beautiful small rural village surrounded by forests and lakes always appreciating the beauty around us. Life is good.

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