Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Korean Rock Star

Everywhere we go Cooper has Korean admirers. He has a few things going for him: he is a baby - which is good luck, he is white and blonde - which is very unique, and he is a male - which is important in this culture for carrying on the family name. 

We visited an artist shop in the alley last week and the artist painted this flower on Cooper's hand in watercolor. 

She joked that it would be worth a lot - sure enough, the next day I saw posters around our tower for a big art show where she will be featured. 

Cooper's hand could be famous!

The first question Koreans almost always ask is if he is a boy or a girl. At first it threw me off - I thought "well, of course he's a boy!" but then I learned that they ask for two reasons. One is that in the Korean culture baby boys and girls look an awful lot a like and even the clothes are very similar (they are all very feminine). Also, again males are more revered for carrying on the family name - so I always get a nod of approval. 

Koreans usually ask how old he is and then they reciprocate - always in months. I had someone tell me their baby was 72 months at the grocery store once - it honestly took me a few seconds to figure that one out in years! Even the toys that we've bought have age markers like 32 months. Koreans also start life at age one rather than 0 but I think, in general, they understand how we do it with our children. 

Besides the artist interaction we've had a lot of other great experiences; here's a couple that were especially interesting:

The maintenance man that came to my house this week stopped what he was doing, said some things to Cooper that I didn't understand, softly touched his head and then gave him a piece of ginseng candy. 

We went to a Korean hospital this week with one of our friends. As me and Cooper walked down the hallway we saw a really young boy in a wheelchair hooked up to various bags of liquids. He was in the cancer center area so we could only assume... He looked tired and ragged - when he saw Cooper he beamed and looked up at his mom smiling. This made her beam too. If only for a second, Cooper made someone hurting, smile. This happened with a few more patients during our walk. Heartwarming! 

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