My morning began with a jovial text from my good friend. I’m sure she won’t mind my screenshot of it below. It put me in good spirits; my mostly white friend was so enthused to be .1% Korean! I understand her pride.

There is much to celebrate today, which heralds the Year of the Ox. As I watch snippets of the Impeachment Trial, I want to believe that 2021 marks the death of last year’s heinous/turbulent Rat. I’ve never really thought much of the Zodiac signs and their meaning but maybe this is the Year. I’m going to celebrate the Ox as a symbol of stability and prosperity. To this end, I made my family (with some help from tired, whiny hands), a family of Ox that represents each of us.

We used paper mache and balloons to make our ox family.
After painting and making accessories out of cardboard. Dad ox and his audio equipment and record in hand, (Thanks to Mariana for making the audio equipment. The record player needle actually moves!) See mom ox wearing beloved eyeball sweatshirt bought in Koreatown,. She’s watching a Kdrama. Tween ox reading Neurotribes and little ox’s glitz and toy. Happy Lunar New Year!

As someone who is lousy at routines, creating family traditions is tough. Even Friday “taco night” (admittedly i tried this for two weeks) is challenging. I’m determined even with few Koreans in our lives, we’re doing this Korean-identity thing. So hence the blog, hence my attempt at festivity today and making the kids play Korean games. Fortunately, some things stick like this game below. It’s fun and simple to learn.

For us, the best Korean game is Yut Nori. Easy to learn rules and you get to throw sticks.
I had such lofty aspirations but ended up ordering food from my favorite Ktown place, Woorijip.
Even half-assed efforts at tradition building are exhausting! I managed to get the kids to bow to us, the Elders in exchange for dollars. The kids weren’t so into the Korean jacks and Korean hacky sack, which may have more to do with mediocre hand-eye coordination than how fun they are. (The book of Korean idioms my son found today at the Ktown bookstore may lead to many related posts…)

The highlight for these children of Capitalism was a tradition my distant Korean cousin Leah and her family created–the dignified “money-grab.” The true tradition is to bow to Elders and then get envelopes or fabric bags with cash. My Cousin Leah and her family put a fun spin on this and throw mass amounts of dollars in the air. Then all the relatives, young and old, keep what they can grab. It brings out the Beast! Last year, we did this with a large group of revelers to great delight and we added a fan so it was leagues more fun. We did it again this year with my kids and a classmate friend and joy was experienced. (well duh!). Happy Korean New Year (Solleol). May the Ox be with Us this year!

Yes that is a flying one dollar bill on my kid’s head.

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