It's been a really busy few days around our house! Saturday night was Clarissa's Dol party. The kids got dressed in their hanboks, we had some friends over and we had a fun time! I can't remember how much I already explained about Dol parties, so I apologize if I'm repeating myself.
A long time ago in Korea when there was a lot of poverty and famine, babies often didn't live to their first birthday. So when a baby did reach that milestone they had a big party (called a Dol) for them. It's become an important tradition in Korean culture, every baby gets a Dol party, and we didn't want Clarissa to miss out on hers!
One thing that you do for a Dol party is decorate a table with certain items. They stack fruit and other food on the table to signify prosperity they also put five special items on the table that signify possibilities for the childs future. On our table we put pretty common Dol items that Melissa helped us pick out. We put string, which signifies health and a long life, a stethoscope, which signifies a future in medicine, a microphone, which signifies musical talent, a pencil, which signifies intelligence, and money, which signifies wealth.
Then for the Dol ceremony you take the baby around the table and show them all the items and let them choose one. The item that they pick is supposed to be an indication of their future. It's a cute little tradition! We took Clarissa around the table and she chose the string! So according to the tradition Clarissa will be healthy and have a long life. :)
We did a fun little game before we did the ceremony. We had everyone at the party guess which item Clarissa would pick and the winner got a prize. One of our friends won and got some chocolate and a Korean keychain. Fun!
After that we mingled for a bit and ate bulgogi and rice for dinner and then we ate cake. I had a friend of Shawn's make the cake for us and it turned out SO cute! She also did a little round cake for Clarissa to eat and I was all excited to watch her dig into it, but she totally wasn't in to it! Our boys both devoured their first birthday cakes, but Clarissa wasn't real thrilled about the mess, lol. Once she got too much frosting on her hands she decided she was done! I got some cute pictures of the party, but I haven't had a chance to go through them yet. I'll post them in a little bit.
After choosing string at her Dol party, ironically Clarissa woke up the next morning with a terrible cold!! According to Clarissa's foster mother and the medical reports we have from her time in Korea, she never got sick one single time in the entire first year of her life. She's been pretty miserable the past few days though. She's had a fever, her nose is runny, she's coughing a bit and she's been pretty cranky. Poor kid. We've been doing a lot of cuddling.
This morning we took Melissa to the airport and said our goodbyes. (I thought all along that she was leaving on Sunday, but I found out Friday that they were actually leaving Monday morning.) I have to admit, it was REALLY hard to say goodbye. Melissa has been like a member of the family here for the past six weeks and we're going to miss her. I felt silly this morning-there were three other exchange students that came at the same time as Melissa so all those kids and their host families were at the airport seeing them off. Everyone else seemed fine to see the kids go, they waved and said goodbye, but I of course was the one nerd crying about it, lol. I cried all the way home from the airport! I don't do well with goodbyes.
Then I got home and I've been fine all day, but the kids just got home from school and they came home really somber and sad. It was weird for her not to walk in the door with them. Matthew especially seems to really be missing her. They came home and found a few things around the house that she left, like a few pictures she had drawn and a card that she wrote for us, and that made us all sad again. We're all pretty mopey around here tonight. We had a lot of fun with Melissa, I'm glad that we did it.
I think it's going to be nice to get back into our normal routine and have an uneventful February though. We've been so incredibly busy lately and I am kind of looking forward to nothing big going on for a while.
For now I'm going to go snuggle with Clarissa some more. Sounds good to me! :)