Well not one of my grandmas, but Eileen’s did. I hope all of my grandmothers make it to 90, though there is something different about the Korean lifestyle for sure.  I mean they eat their fair share of ridiculously fried foods but all of the other ways they take care of themselves more than make up for it.

Eileen’s grandma’s party was the first Korean birthday party I have attended where things were done in a really traditional manner.  Firstly, in my opinion the woman didn’t look a day over 75 in American years but alas she turned 90 last weekend.  She spent a decade of her life pregnant and birthed 11 children that all survived.  She never lost one. I think that makes her a strong woman for sure, especially considering only 2 of the 11 are boys.  I would pretty much runaway if I had to live with 8 teenage girls. No thank you.

So anyway I think 7 of her children were at the party and some of their families.  It was hosted by one of Eileen’s cousins.  He runs a Tae Kwon Do school outside of Seoul and so there was plenty of space.  It was a lot of fun.

Of course there was a demonstration done by his students.  There was kicks and music and board breaking and flips and it was impressive considering the oldest kid there was probably 15.

Grandma put on a hanbok a traditional Korean dress for the occasion.  It is also tradition that no one eats or drinks until the oldest person does so the party starts with a toast to Grandma and she drinks and the party starts.  Then there is a cake with a sword knife. no joke.

Then little Grandma used that huge sword knife to cut the cake. This all happened at the beginning before the meal or anything.

Then there was the gift giving.  The children line up and place the gifts in front of Grandma on the table.  Then they bow.  They had to bow twice though because the first time there was no food on the table because it was across the room.  In Korea the only time you bow without food is if the person has died and Grandma was very much alive and kicking.  So, there was food and a rebow.  The daughters went first, then sons and son in law, then daughter in laws, grandchildren, and finally great grandchildren.

Of course the tiny kids were the cutest.

Then we got to eat! The food was SOOOOO good. I ate so much raw salmon I thought I might just fall over dead from happiness.  It’s hard to find sushi as we think of it in America, and salmon in general is a really expensive fish here, sadly.

and that was just round one. I was so full and it was all so delicious.

After food and the older family members had drank a little soju and beer they started up the karaoke.  It was all in Korean and went on for a couple of hours but it was fun.  Everyone, including Grandma was singing and dancing and having fun.  There were also some of the cutest kids there and I wanted to snatch them soooo badly. Instead I just paprazzied them with my camera.

Eileen and her mom singing and dancing.

Grandma dancing.  The man in this photo was kind of running the entertainment part. He kept telling everyone where to sit and when to clap or dance and when he talked I felt like he was preaching to me, but Eileen says he is a professional announcer.  I could totally tell. It was funny.

Grandma belted out a few tunes and at one point they were dancing around her in a circle.  I have no idea why, but it obstructed her view of reading the lyrics and so it was funny.  She is a tiny woman the top of her head only came to my chest.

He was such a sweet baby, and check out that tiiiiny little tie he was wearing. So adorable.

I took about 30,000 photos of this little girl.  Her mom is a beautiful Japanese girl.  So her being half Japanese and half Korean is definitely working in her favor.  She was sooo adorable and she will definitely be breaking hearts when she is older. We played with balloons together for like half an hour.  I wanted to bring her home with me.

A picture of Eileen and Grandma in their hanboks.

Me and my lovely Eileen…at first…then towards the end of the party she got really hot in her hanbok.  She didn’t think to bring an extra set of clothes soooo I offered to trade with her. hahaha needless to say everyone laughed at us for sure. For one we are no where near the same size in any way at all.  So her hanbok was short on me and difficult to tie because I am so broad in the shoulders.  And she was swimming in my dress so we had to use bobby pins to keep the straps shorter.

Once the party was over her aunt and uncle drove us home.  We slept most of the hour long trip home because we were just exhausted.  I had so much fun though and I was really glad she had invited me along to be able to celebrated such a milestone with her family.

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