22 March 2010

Learning to Live Together

Today is the day we sign up for courses.  So far I've signed up for LA 403: Urban Design, LA 451: LA Research, Honors 296: Symposium on the Physical Sciences, and ID 161, 162, and 164: Dreamweaver, Flash, and Illustrator, respectively.  Total count:  13 credit hours.  I'm hoping to add a history course to the mix, but I can't find one offered next fall that I would be really jazzed about taking.  *sigh*  So it goes.

In other news, I'm all about living with strangers and such, but I'm becoming increasingly aware that it's good to have a chance to talk to your future roommates before actually moving in, just to be sure you're on the same pages when it comes to housework and study schedules.  I'm also becoming more aware that typical differences between roommates get exaggerated when you're dealing with different cultures.  For example, coming from a middle-class American family that values independence, I think I should clean up after myself, rarely if ever needing someone else to clean up after me, and I expect my roommates to show me the same curtesy.  Compare that to another culture that, say, is used to women or maids cleaning up after them.  You see where I'm going with this?

So yeah, I'm having trouble learning to live with one of my roommates simply because we have very different expectations from each other, especially concerning how to maintain our common spaces.  What complicates this more is that we have a language barrier as well as a cultural barrier.  I have trouble expressing why I think he should, say, wash his dishes when he's finished eating, and he has trouble expressing why he shouldn't.  This makes it very difficult to find a common ground and compromise.  In this particular situation, I got frustrated and behaved like a child-- I called in our host "mom" to help.  Through that I think we agreed on something, but who really knows?  I'll just have to wait and see.  If nothing changes I'll just have to decide if I can live with it or not.  I hope something changes.  I'm tired of scrubbing pans for half an hour just so I can make dinner. 

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