Last Saturday night Mr. Right and I went to our very first Baek-il – a 100-day birthday celebration for our dear friends’ son Joseph. It’s a Korean tradition that started many years ago, back when babies had a high mortality rate, so making it to 100 days was a sign that your baby was going to live to see adulthood. Which, was worth celebrating!
I just love learning about other cultures – and honestly, I am always looking for an excuse to throw another party – so this was my kind of night. I tried my first Korean food (yum – sushi and egg rolls and glass noodles) and enjoyed seeing some of the authentic Korean costumes and learning about their traditions. I also discovered that Asian pears are ginormous and SO GOOD! I have a mild pear addiction, so this made my whole night.
My favorite part of the party (besides the pears) was the tradition where the baby predicts his future job. Guests were encouraged to bring an item that symbolizes a future career. We brought a bottle of store-brand Benadryl because (a) I bought several on sale recently had an extra bottle sitting in my medicine cabinet, and (b) his mama is a doctor and it would be fitting if he became one too. So, our Benadryl was put out next to a Bible (preacher), a spool of thread (signifies a long life), a $20 bill (wealth or banker), a calculator (mathematician), and a hammer (architect?), and we waited for 3-month-old Joseph to reach for an item that would signify his future career.
However, there was one small problem. 100-day-old babies don’t really perform on command. So we all stood around in a circle, anxiously waiting while he stared blankly at the items, probably thinking that we were a strange group indeed.
Finally, after trying several different positions and a lot of coaxing, he grabbed our Benadryl.
WHICH MEANS WE’RE THE WINNER. WE ARE AWESOME!! (Oh yeah, and he’s going to be a doctor. Probably.)
One other funny story – I was sitting at the dinner table, enjoying my first taste of Korean food, when one of the guests leaned over and asked me, “How does it feel to be the only white people at the party?”
Gotta love blunt people. I told him I hadn’t even noticed. And secretly I have to admit that being a fish out of water is one of my favorite parts of traveling… and teaching ESL… so this was right up my alley. Especially when they’re feeding me.