Imagine for a minute a room full of multi-colored helium balloons, trays of food the size of small cars, teddy bears large and small covering every surface of table and floor space,  and more than a dozen happily combusting 6 year olds.  And their mothers.  Doesn’t that sound like Guy’s cup of tea? 

Sadly for him, I had no choice but to go to Costco that afternoon, as I needed ingredients for a dish I was making with my cooking class.  He was stuck with the task of taking Natalie to her first birthday party – Korean style.  I wish I could tell you all about it, but I think it best if he does it himself.  So, enjoy. 

Hello to all of you in blogland.  I won’t attempt to write in a style that compares to Vicki.  She’s good…I’m a hack.  So there I was stuck in TeddyBear Land on the 3rd floor of the nearby mall.  The photos will give you an idea of how it’s was a deranged cross between Chuck E. Cheese’s and Romper Room.  If you’re 6, I suppose it was several thousand square feet of padded, bouncy bliss.  The moms smiled a lot and gestured for me to eat, sit, drink, etc.  But I couldn’t shake that feeling of  “what is he doing here?”  That Sesame Street song kept playing in my head…”one of these things is not like the other…”  Natalie, needless to say, did not have the same experience.  She was completely at home running, jumping, laughing, and insisting that I take pictures of her and all her classmates.  That (the photos) ended up being a nice ice-breaker with the moms.  I’d go out amongst the screaming masses and report back to the um-mas with digital proof that a good time was being had by all.  At one point, one of the moms said to me, “I think you are bored.”    Not knowing what to say…I went and took more pictures.  Pulling balloons off the ceiling for the kids also validated my reason for being at this party.  What would the um-mas have done without me?

In the end, a good time was had by all…even me.  I’ve told students and my own kids that people generally learn best when they are just a bit uncomfortable.  We, the birthday boy’s mom and I, traded some mutually awkward words…for her it was “See you later” and for me it was “kan-sam-nee-dah” (thank you) and “ban-gap-seum-nee-dah” (nice to meet you.)  I’ll be ready for the next party…camera, Korean phrasebook, lots of nodding, and a big, goofy American smile.


Here’s the birthday boy with the ladies!