My daughter has spent most of her life overseas. She was even born in Hungary. She knew about being an adult and getting around in Korea, but here in America, everything is new. I have to teach her how to get around and do things in America. Right now, that is one of my main functions. This morning, we had some American lessons.
First, we went to do the laundry. I took her to a laundry mat since we don’t have a permanent place to stay yet, so we don’t have a washer and a dryer yet. In Korea, we had those things, but here in America, it will take time to get everything set up. I first had her check to see if there was a machine that had laundry soap in the laundry mat. There was, so she began putting quarters in to get the soap out. Well, we got one small box of laundry soap and couldn’t get anymore. In fact, the machine took her money and wouldn’t give it back. I told her we would have to go to a grocery story and get some laundry soap. She wanted to stay at the laundry mat with our clothes while I went to a neighboring Aldis, a cheap grocery store that is good to know about, that was on the same street and got some laundry soap. When I got back, she was on her phone. She had called the manager and complained about the machine taking her money, but it did no good because the manager was too busy to come and reimburse her.
My daughter knows how to do laundry. That isn’t the problem. She had never used the American coin operated washing machines. We sorted the laundry, and I showed her how to put the coins in and push them into the machine to start the machine. The laundry mat was really hot! It is a warm day outside, but it was even hotter in the laundry mat. I told her we needed to get a drink. She wanted to use the vending machine in the laundry mat, and we could have, but I saw a place next door where we could get fountain drinks with ice in them, so I went there and got us some drinks.
When I got back, she was studying Spanish. She said in Korea, she was the language lady because she could speak Korean better than any of the other foreigners, and she didn’t want to change her identity, so she has decided to study Spanish. I sat there and gave her pointers on pronunciation, grammar, word choice, etc. as she studied because, as my people who follow my blog know, I speak Spanish among other languages. I have always been the language lady too.
I went to the car a sat where there was air conditioning for a while because it was just too hot in the laundry mat, but she wanted to stay close to our clothes. She saw people coming in and putting their clothes in the machines and just leaving, and she couldn’t believe it. She kept saying, “Aren’t they afraid someone will steal their clothes?”
My daughter asked me when to tell if the washing machine is finished, and I told her it is finished when it goes off. You can tell because there is no more vibration when you touch the lid. I showed her the laundry basket on wheels that you use in a laundry mat. We put the wet clothes in the laundry basket and wheeled it over to the dryer. She was unsure about the dryers too. I showed her that the temperature was up on high, and I turned it slightly less than high because I didn’t want my clothes getting ruined in the dryer. We put the clothes in, and I showed her that we only wanted to put one quarter in, then wait for the time to run out, and then take the clothes out that were dry, and then put another quarter in to finish drying the ones that weren’t dry yet. That way, we could be sure the thinner clothes didn’t stay in the dryer too long and get ruined. She has never used these kinds of machines before. When the clothes came out of the dryer, I showed her that you use the folding tables, and it makes it easier, and then the laundry was done, but I wasn’t done teaching.
I took her to Aldis because it was close and I know that Aldies has cheaper food. Next, we went to a parking lot for her first driving lesson. She was scared, but she knew she needed to do it. She got in the driver’s seat, and she knew to buckle her seat belt. I taught her to adjust her seat and her mirrors. I taught her about the gas pedal, the brake pedal, and the hand brake. I told her to never put her foot on the brake or the gas quickly, but just ease into it so she wouldn’t throw anyone through the windshield. I let her take the handbrake off, and she had a hard time, so I helped her. She started the car, put it in drive, and slowly began driving. She was scared to death! As we got to the end of the parking lot, I told her to turn left, and showed her the turn indicator and told her how to make it point left. She did it and turned left. We got to the end of the parking lot again, so I had her do it again.
Next, there was a narrow road next to the building where cars go to drop people off, and I told her to go down it, but it scared her too much, and I realized the end of it came out to the main road, so I told her she didn’t have to go down it. However, she would have to back up. She wasn’t sure she was ready for that, but I told her she could do it. I taught her to look behind her and to use her mirrors when she backed up. She had to turn the car around to get out of the small area next to the building, and it scared her. However, she accomplished it, and then she could go straight ahead again, and then she had to turn again, and I taught her to use both her left and right turn signals. She said, “We are just in the parking lot, so do I need those yet?” I told her that I wanted her to get in the habit and make it second nature to turn that indicator on when she got ready to turn. She made a circle around the parking lot turning and using the turn indicator. She kept wanting to make U turns instead of actually turning right or left, but I told her she needed to actually turn right or left and learn to guide the car in a straight line. She found it hard, but she was accomplishing.
After that, we decided to go back home because I wasn’t feeling very well. She has learned enough for one day. I think she could use a laundry mat alone if she had to, but the driving will take some time and more lessons. She is 25 years old. She is American, but she never had to drive before because she used subways and buses in Seoul. It is like a foreigner coming to the States for the first time, but I am teaching everything she needs to know to survive in America.