The Tridecadal Korean (astralblue) wrote,
The Tridecadal Korean

How Minsung Kim Became Eugene Kim

Inspired by iguanagrrl, who asked me:

I've always wondered how you adjusted so well to living in the United States.  You really absorbed the culture and found your niche fairly quickly here.

And here's my answer:

When it comes to adjusting to a new cultural environment, I have this one rule: Forget your old culture for the time being (but not permanently), and crash right into the new environment and become part of it.

Normal human behavior is to augment his area of cultural awareness around the home culture and the relevant value set.  While this is almost a personally fail-proof approach, it has a severe drawback: Because one's rooted in a home culture, the home culture gets in his way and prevents him from (fully) grasping foreign cultural concepts and values.  A good example would be TV comedy shows, which are at the zenith of the society and its culture.  Consequently, a lot of first-generation immigrants say it's extremely hard for them to enjoy comedy shows; they simply don't get it.

This is why I chose to crash into the American culture.  I more or less insulated myself from the Korean immigrant community here (being a non-Christian helped a lot XD), and my real-life activities was totally within the typical American social/cultural set.  I felt like a kid learning everything from scratch, and I actually liked that experience.  At some point I even assumed part of the kid mentality, especially when I first started getting into regional DDR scenes. (You may have noticed that from my vocabulary and other things around the time when I first started going into #ddrfreak.)

With this effort, I think I managed to build a not-so-easily-destructible cultural island in my worldview, flagged with a star-spangled banner.  Within a relatively short time span too (I think this answers your question).  And this concludes the first phase of my cultural adjustment — I'm now onto the second phase, which is to fill the gap between the island and the mainland (flagged with a Tae-Guk-Gi :D).


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