We've been living in Budapest off and on since March 2007 -- we were here six months in 07 and 08 and now we're settling in for a 2-3 month stint each year. Hungary was hit hard by the global financial crunch and had to get an IMF loan in early '09 to keep from going under. The Socialist government that has run things for the last 8 years has been corrupt and inefficient -- made up by a bunch of ex-communists -- and so most Hungarians (especially my wife) were thrilled when they were officially kicked out yesterday in a big parliamentary election. It was not the best time to buy a condo as we did in the summer of '07. But we feel good (especially me) about the prospect of using our condo to do a number of home exchanges with other families from around the world. When I was going into my junior year in high school my family did a home exchange with a wonderful French family and we stayed for 3 weeks in their lovely place 30 miles outside of Paris. They were extremely generous and we did our best to reciprocate. So I foresee us exchanging our place with many of the other families listed here on www.homeexchange.com. Another bonus is that we could loan our place "asynchronously" with families on the Oregon coast, or Canada or the San Juan Islands near Seattle so we don't always have to head overseas to use it.
One other thing. I cracked myself up (and Agi too somewhat) when I came up with the "5 Things Hungarians Like that Start with S."
1. Sun 2. Smoking 3. Swimming 4. Szex 5. Speeding