Asian cultures often place emphasis on a child's first birthday, as most infant mortality historically (and still) passes by a child before that age. Once a child reaches 1, its a safe bet they'll make it to adulthood. Consequently, the first birthday party is often a big event and a major life milestone, like a bar mitzvah, graduation, or wedding.
So what does any of that have to do with me? Well, I had the opportunity to attend the epic birthday party extravaganza of Paris, the daughter of Lily Toh, a new mother in our Korean class. Lily was kind enough to invite(and quite enthusiastic about) people from the Changwon The party is more for the adults, as I'd never seen a kid's birthday party with beer and soju, but it was quite an occasion and evidently a big deal for Koreans and Lily (who comes from Taiwan). They had a DJ, an MC, and a dancing woman who put on a show, had raffle prizes, and rivaled a wedding reception.
Here's Lily and her husband. The birthday girl is staring at me while I balance a spoon on my nose.