• I come from a small-sized industrial town called Ajka, in the Centre of the Transdanubian region (from the western part of Hungary). Ajka is situated along the line diving the Bakony Hills region. Two important routes pass through here, to the north Highway 8, which runs east to west, and in the middle region, the Székesfehérvár-Szombathely railway line. The Torna stream flows through the inner part of the town. It has a population of 35.000. But sometimes there are a lot of people coming from villages to do the shopping. My town is about 130 kilometres far from the capital.

Ajka received its name its one-time owner called Heiko. Heiko was a warrior who came to Hungary with Gisely, wife of King Stephen. The town’s development was founded on industry. As early as 1836 coal was discovered in Ajkacsingervölgy. Our glass factory is famous all over the world, its products have been transported even to the Queen of England. Ajka got its town status in 1959. Apart from the churches almost nothing remained of the old village. Sports hall, a swimming pool and a hospital were built. At the moment there are much more modern sports halls, a modernized beach, a lot of schools and hypermarkets such as Tesco, Penny, Lidl and in the nearest future Aldi and Interspar are going to move here. We have got a library, a redecorated culture house and two department stores in the centre of the town. They offer not only clothes but some other goods needed for the inhabitants, too. In addition to it, a new park center is being built and it seems as if more firms come here.

It is a busy and lively town. I’m very happy to live here. Firstly, because most of my friends live here and (I don’t have to travel to see them) secondly, because the town itself is cosy. It is neither too big nor too small and it offers very good shopping and entertainment facilities. However, what I don’t like that it is dirty for me and the pollution is big from the factories.

  • I would prefer to live in the country. I consider myself to be privileged, because I live in a town. Towns are lively places, where there is always something interesting happening. There is a wide choice of shops, cinemas, theathres, restaurants and pubs. You can go out to a different place every night if you want to. Even if I live in a village, I would prefer to move to a town because town life is so much exciting. Life is never dull in a town, the latest exhibitions, films and plays are going on.  Streets are better kept and shops are better supplied. Shopping can even be a pleasure because there is a much wider choice of everything. City life is also better for the children because there is a variety of schools they can choose from and they don’t need to commute. Neither do adults need to commute to work, because they have more chance of employement.

Town life

Advantages:

Life is never dull (exhibitions, films, plays, friends)

Better supplies in shops (wide choicem, within easy reach)

Variety of schools and places of work, better chances of good education and employment

Higher living standards (better roads, more convenciences in flats)

Disadvantages:

Commuting difficulties (rush hours, traffic jams)

Pollution (from cars and factories)

Crowds, noise, rat race

Higher cost of living

Village life

Advantages:

People are friendly and close to nature

Gentle peace of living

Clean atmosphere-healthy living

More privacy and relaxation (gardening, walking in the forest and in the fields)

Disadvantages:

Life is boring (out-of-the-way, nowhere to go, long silent winter nights)

Commuting to work and school (less chance of a succesful career)

Less efficient services (one doctor or no doctor at all, muddly streets, few shops)

  • I live on a housing estate which is quite close way from the centre. But there are buses that take you to the downtown. On foot it takes you about 10 minutes, but as I like riding a bike it takes me about a few minutes to get anywhere. The ground is mainly flat there. It is an area of low hills and nice green valleys. Oak and fir forests occupy the slopes of the hills. I live on the second floor with my parents of a block of flats. There are some parking places and playgrounds around us. Part of the area is a lawn and road.

Our flat used to be a council flat but we bought it years ago. Thus we now have a 54 square metre freehold flat. It isn’t a spacious one but just enough for a family of three. It is comfortable and equipped with all modern conveniences such as hot water, eletricity, central heating, drains and a telephone. We have got a living room, a hall, a small room for me, a kitchen, a toilet, a bathroom and a balcony. Besides we have got a cellar where we can keep our different things such as bikes, boxes, old-fashioned clothes, books and my mother keeps here our stewed fruits and the pickles. Our electric meter is in the staircase.

Our kitchen is of small size but the space is used very efficiently. We cook by an eletrical cooker and it is right under the cupboard. Next to it is the sink unit with its stainless steel sink and the draining-board where we just pile the already washed up dishes and let them dry. We haven’t got a dishwasher. Over the sink we keep the microwave owen into the cupboard. There is never enough space in the cupboard. Saucepans, frying pans, jugs, bowls, mugs, the kitchen scales, the mixer, pressure cooker, grater, hot sandwich oven and the rolling pin are kept in the kitchen cupboard. On the shelves there are spices and the ingredients needed every day for cooking like salt, flour, sugar and a cooking oil. We keep the bread slicer the working top of the cupboard and in the drawers we keep the cutleries. There is the dining table with a corner seat by the window. We use on it the percolator. The kitchen floor is covered with lino because it’s easy to keep clean. The wall is tiled with light brown color. We don’t have a separate dining-room; we only have a lunch or dinner in the kitchen, which we use every day. Sometimes we lay a table in the living room if we have a bigger occasion. No room for our fridge and deep fryer in the kitchen therefore we use them in the hall.

We have a nice, large plastic bathtub in the bathroom and there is hot and cold running water. The washbasin is beside the tub and over the washbasin is a mirror. We keep there the soap dish and our toothbrushes and the toothpaste. The floor is covered with lino but the walls are tiled. On the left side you can find the towel rack installed into the wall. If you enter here, there is a bathroom shelf over your head where we own deodorants, sprays, body lotions, shampoos and any detergent. By the way we have an old washing machine on the right side.

On both sides the left and the right there are two wardrobes in our living room. It is light and cosy. It faces the street. We have a desk with two comfortable, modern chairs in the centre, which look like an armchair. We keep on it some newspapers, some bills, a flower and an ashtray although we don’t smoke. The books are also kept both in the living-room and in my room. There is a settee bottom of the left side’s wardrobe where my father usually watches the news or some films lying on it. On the right side there is a sofa and a bedside table. There are nice curtains on the windows and a big carpet on the floor. The floor is wall-to-wall carpet and the walls are white washed. The furnitures are dark brown. There are plants and pictures on the walls. There is a personal computer in the corner. There are a lot of chinas and ornaments on the shelves and there is our TV by the window. Next to it there are some flower stands. Behind the TV there is a big balcony door, which opens directly into the balcony.

My room is the smallest one. The ceiling is whitewashed and there is a wall-to-wall carpet on the floor as well. I would have liked to have a wooden mosaics but my father denied my idea. Anyway, it was redecorated last year. There is my comfortable bed on the right side. There are some cushions (or pillows) on it. In front of my single bed I’ve got a wardrobe where I keep everything such as clothes, books, CDs, bills, amplifier,… A chandelier hangs up on the ceiling. The walls are covered and there is my PC next to the bed. My window faces a playground where I played a football a lot when I was a child. It has a blind because of the summers hot.

  • People can live in sky-scrapers, high-rise blocks, blocks of flats, terraced houses, semi detached houses, bungalows, cottages. They can own their flats – in that case they are called freehold flats. They can rent a council owned flat or live in a council built flat sold to a cooperative of people. They can share a flat with other families and live in co-tenancy. Some people live in lodgings e.g. because they work in another city or haven’t got money to buy it.

I have never lived in lodgings but I can imagine that you have to keep a number of houses rules. You are not supposed to smoke in the common rooms, you are not allowed to be too noisy, take girls and boys into your room, stick pictures on the wall and you have to use the bathroom at a fixed time. Students living away from home use student hotels and university halls of residence provided by universities in separate buildings. Lodgings are used by those who can’t get a hostel room. This means that they have to pay to the landlady. Some students prefer a one-room flatlet with cooking facilities or perhaps sharing the bathroom and kitchen. When several students come together, they like to rent furnished, self-contained flats but they are difficult to obtain and compared with other types of accommodation are very expensive.

  • The local councils used to build many blocks of flats and let them to people who couldn’t afford to build or buy of their own. The problem with it is that these flats were mainly one-or-two rooms flats, which were comfortable enough for couple, but not for a family. Young married couples whom don’t have enough money they have no other choice but to live with their parents. There is not serious shortage of accommodation for married couples in Hungary. People don’t have to wait for years to buy a house or a flat, place of their own.  Nowadays, to be able to build or buy a house or a flat you need to have enough money to put down a deposit. The deposit covers some percent of the cost of the flat. Then you can get a bank loan at quite a high interest rate and you pay it back in monthly instalments. If you have children, you may get a state grant, which you do not have to pay back. If you are a good worker, you may even get an interest-free loan from the company you are working for.
  • I always make my bed and air my room every morning. To tell the truth, I haven’t got a lot of housework. At weekends, I always do my room and help dad to wash the car or clean the garage. I usually empty the dust bin and my mother sometimes asks me to hoover the carpet in my room. If the weather is good and it isn’t raining, she always cleans the windows and the doorsteps. She sweeps the floor then wipes it up. After lunch or dinner my father washes up and dries the dishes. He likes doing it and therefore my mother is very proud of him. She has to wash our clothes, but we have got an automatic washing-machine. Having been washed our clothes, she had to iron them. She usually beats the bigger carpets.

As we have got a weekend house, my mother usually go to visit our garden. She waters the flowers and the vegetables with a watering can. I sometimes have to dig a few parts of the garden in spring. It is not a woman work, I think. She adores hoeing and meanwhile talking with her sister or the neighbours. In summer the lawn grows, therefore we cut the grass with the lawnmower. The fruit trees mainly need spraying. In autumn we harvest the fruits such as apples, pears, plums, grapes and nuts. Of course, the falling leaves have to be raked.

Készítette:  Somogyi Péter – [email protected]