Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bubby's 1st Birthday

The morning began with me (and half the kitchen) covered in vomit courtesy of the birthday boy. He had a mild fever and was most definitely feeling under the weather, a real shame considering that he just got over bronchitis. Luckily, a small dose of Children's Tylenol seemed to do the trick.

It's customary in Korea for parents to celebrate their child's first birthday with an extravagant party called 돌잔치 (dol-jan-chi). I've heard stories of (and been invited to) 1st birthday parties costing upwards of 10 million won ($10,000!). They are often elaborate affairs complete with lavish table settings and decor, a large buffet, an MC, and hundreds of guests bearing cash and/or gold jewelry for the little one. While I appreciate that some families choose to celebrate in this way, Clark and I opted for a much more intimate and small scale celebration.

We reserved a private room at a well-known Korean "family restaurant" called VIPS, known for it's "western" buffet and steak, and invited Clark's parents and a few aunts and uncles. Being from the older generation, Clark's relatives didn't much care for the food and made that fact painstakingly clear. It was quite amusing trailing behind Clark's father through the buffet as he repeatedly exclaimed "뭐야!? / What's that!?". And a recurring conversation at the table was:
Relative: (holding something up on their fork or between their chopsticks) 뭐에요? / What's this?
Me: it's an olive/mango/pasta/pizza/chicken/etc.
Relative: 맛없어 / It doesn't taste good.

Logan received a gold ring and a ton of cash. We're going to deposit the money into his new bank account (started by his Canadian grandparents) to go toward his future education. I sincerely appreciate Clark's family for coming to the party today and showing Logan their love, but one thing that really took me aback was when they (and by they I mean ALL of the aunts and uncles) asked what Logan's name was! The Koreanized part of my brain logically understands why this is so; Koreans don't typically use first names, but instead refer to others based on their social rank or role (e.g. sister, husband, so-and-so's mother, manager, teacher, etc.). My more Western sensibilities, however, cannot fathom how you could not know the name of your own nephew but have a desire to attend his birthday party and shower him with gifts! It stands to reason that they also have no clue what my name is, but I'll save that ditty for the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up in a few weeks time.

Here's the awesome chocolate cake that we ordered. Perhaps not as delicious as something to be found in Canada, but damn tasty by Korean standards!

Singing the Happy Birthday song...

Grrrr...I have a fantastic video of Logan eating the cake, but it won't upload! :(



  1. What a gorgeous cake!! Too funny about the name thing, I had a hard time explaining to my mother that I didn't know the names of some of our friends and acquaintances because they were so and so's aunt/uncle/mom/dad etc. ^.^ Happy 1st Birthday Logan!!

  2. Haha! I'm glad that you can appreciate your older Korean relatives and not take it personally as some would.

    Happy bday cutie!

  3. The only reasons I know my PIL's names is because of the wedding invitations! I'm pretty sure none of the inlaws know my English name (they use my Korean name). Nobody in Canada understands this.ㅋ But looks like you guys had a great time. Happy Birthday Logan! :)