Happy New Year!
Sae hae bok mani badusaeyo!
I'm at my parents' house watching "Friends" reruns with my husband (Yubo) and waiting for the ball to drop (on repeat) in Times Square. Usually we don't even make it till midnight, but tonight I think I'll actually be getting kissed come midnight.
But while our New Year's Eves are rarely eventful, tomorrow will be filled with family, tradition and lots and lots of dduk guk.
We'll do seh bae to my halmoni and Yubo's relatives. Growing up, my family celebrated seollal sporadically, if at all, but since marrying Yubo, I have made a point of making it an important holiday for my family. This year I won't get a chance to make my own dduk guk (we'll be driving up and down Los Angeles all day visiting family), but my oldest son, C, has been practicing his bowing and I've got their hanboks ready. Yubo, C and I all dutifully wished my in-laws, who live in Korea, New Year blessings in Korean over the phone earlier this evening (accounting for the time difference, it was already January 1 in Korea.)
I may even track down my own wedding hanbok, which is hiding somewhere in this house.
My American self often chafes against the obligation and self-sacrifice that is part and parcel of being part of a Korean family, but I am also undeniably Korean in my views toward family and responsibility. The act of bowing to my elders, to pay respect and promise fidelity and wish blessings in the new year on my family, is ripe with meaning and the act each year means so much more than the little envelope of money given in reciprocity. It is a reminder and a promise.
And something I revel in passing down to my children, third-generation hapa Korean Americans who will grow up both more and less Korean than I ever was.
Sae hae bok mani badusaeyo! (Many blessings to you in the New Year!)