When you move to another country, you prepare yourself with skills you will need. Unfortunately, there are things that were not in your plan. Here is my list of the new skills that I have developed.
1) Reading maps
I do have a cell phone but the data plan does not always work. I end up printing a basic map of the area that I am traveling to and then find my way. It doesnt help that I dont really know Nijmegen that well. Through the trips to pick up a bike, find grocery stores, etc, I have been able to get more used to Nijmegen.
I had been living with my now husband for over 3 years when I came to the Netherlands. I was used to having someone to spend time with, split the chores, etc. Now that I am alone, I have to take care of everything in the apartment. The last two months have made me more independent.
3) Non-verbal communication
I only know a small amount of Dutch. I study on the weekends and am taking a course in September. In lab meetings everyone speaks in english. When we meet as a group to have cake, socialize, etc, people will sometimes speak in Dutch. The same happens when I am out shopping or just exploring Nijmegen. I understand some words and had to develop a greater sense of non-verbal communication. You can tell a lot from a conversation based on someones body language, facial expressions, etc.
4) Resilience and sense of humor
I have failed many times at new things since coming to the Netherlands. Most of the time, I just laugh off the failures and try again. In lab, I tend to embarrass myself a little. Social norms in the US are not the same in the Netherlands. Everyone has been nice and not made a big deal of my social follies.
Hoping to learn many more new skills in the future!