“Oh,” I said yesterday, “tomorrow is your 100 Day Anniversary in America!”
“How do you know that?” Good Man asked.
“Because you got here 2 days before our 400 days, and our 500 days is Wednesday, so tomorrow is your 100 days.”
Good Man laughed, “You are more Korean than me.”
So today is Day 100 for Good Man. I must say, he’s doing better after 100 days in American than I was in Korea. After 100 days in Korea, I was working really hard to get another job.
His culture shock seems fairly minor so far. He doesn’t like checks, carpeting, how infrequently the bus runs, and how you can’t by soju at the Korean grocery store. He likes Americans’ “silliness.” He likes the crazy politics, too.
I think there are some big differences between our adjustments. One, my job was not going well, his classes are.
Two, he had to pass English tests—multiple tests—in Korea before the US gov’t would give him a visa. I didn’t have to even know the Korean alphabet before they let me in. The language difference is huge.
Three, I’ve lived alone before. So while I wasn’t sure how to use a Korean washing machine, I at least knew how to wash clothes. Good Man has learned how to make coffee, use a dishwasher, launder clothes, what can and can’t go down a garbage disposal, how to make and stick to a budget, and so on. (And oh thank kimchi, thank kimchi, he’s learned it all quickly and without any nagging on my part.)
Four, I wasn’t in Korea with a Korean lover, he’s here with me. In many ways, this makes his adjustment easier because I can teach him how to deal with stuff. Like the aforementioned evil checks.
On the other hand, while he gets a buffer person to deal with the culture, he also has the “fun” of making his mistakes in front of someone else.
Once, in Korea, I ended up riding the same section of the subway 3 (4?) times and was 90 mins late in getting home. Nobody had to know about my mistake. A few weeks ago, late at night, Good Man ended up on the wrong bus and had to have me come and pick him up.
I once bought some sort of ice cream that I thought was chocolate filled and faced a red bean paste center. Ick. Somewhat similarly, Friday Good Man went to pick up dish detergent. He bought two bottles of dish soap. Thank goodness I was able to tell him that we couldn’t use that, or we would’ve ended up de-bubbling the dishwasher this weekend…