Solving problems with ease
Yesterday, once again, the coolant drained from my car radiator. Hè hè. I had just got a new one only last week. I had to get the car to the side of the road with an overheated engine. Luckily there was a garage on the corner of the street where I was stranded. I had to leave the car overnight, the radiator was leaking and there was no more water in. I was given the owners car to get home.
Now, five days later, I was stranded once again! Smoke was coming from under the hood and there was a pool of water on the road. I called my insurance and asked for my four-wheeled friend to be towed to the garage. There it was discovered that something was not assembled properly. A day later I was able to pick up the car again. By bus, by train and then a walk, in an hour I was 30 km’s further to pick my car up.
The Netherlands is my home country and this is mostly apparent because I know my way around here. I know how public transport works. I know how car insurance works. I can make plans and independently find solutions if something is not going according to plan. I walked to that garage today and thought to myself how comforting it is to be so independent and confident, that I know what I need to do and how this country works.
Awareness of living environment
That is not the case living abroad. There you need, especially in the beginning, to find your bearings and discover your environment again. Where can you find a new baby bottle if your baby does not want to drink? Where is your favourite shampoo available so that can make sure your hair doesn’t hang limp down your face? How many times have you sat in the wrong bus? Not to mention the terrible paperwork and unclear rules of Governments.
The ease with which you move around your new environment contributes-apart from efficiency- to the sense of belonging. You’re more at ease if you don’t have to search to find your way in the day to day business. Familiarity or knowing your living environment is an important factor to feeling at home. The more experiences you gather in a new context, the more your comfort zone, creativity and productivity increases. If then something doesn’t go according to plan you are in a better position to find a solution.
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