Every time I move to a new place, there’s a huge learning curve figuring out how to get things done. I don’t know where to buy the things I need or get connected with services.
I already talked about how helpful neighbors can be. Often they are the first people we ask our questions, like how to get drinking water or how to get internet installed. Neighbors not only know the town, but they know your neighborhood and how it works. They are your first connection to your new community.
During the first in a new place I do a lot of observation. I find myself scanning all the stores and markets to see what is available. I end up spending twice as long at the store than I need. Even though I may not need something at that time I take mental note of where to get certain things so that I can go back there if I need them later.
Over time you begin to meet new people and create a network of friends and connections. Having a variety of different people to call on for help and advice is important because everyone has different knowledge and connections. It always works best to go through a friend before you’ve created your own relationships. They’ll get you the help that you need – and if they’re a good friend they’ll make sure you get a fair deal as well.
Finally, something I always have to remind myself of, is that systems in my new community don’t work the same as in my home country. Getting frustrated with that never seems to make the situation better. The only thing that I can do is adapt to the local system and learn how someone here gets things done.