To shower or not to shower?

One of my Korean co-teachers (I have three at my school) is leaving :-(  I am sad and dreading next Friday.  She is a major reason why my Korean experience has been so great. 


Hanna is SUPER helpful and basically the glue that brings the five of us teachers (who share an office) together.  Love her!

But, Hanna is having a baby and needs to “rest.”  She’s actually not due until July (the time off might be a general Korean way of doing things or maybe just specific to her situation – not sure).  Regardless, I’m sad.  Next Friday, she leaves and come Monday, some new teacher will just show up.  Just. Like. That. 

Since she’s having a baby and she’s leaving for about a year, I want to do something for her (we’ll be gone before she returns to school).  So what comes to mind?  Of course – a baby shower!  However, there are a few concerns/issues that need to be addressed before I can pursue.  Hence, my ‘to shower or not to shower’ list:

  • Are baby showers acceptable here?  (E.g. Maybe it’s considered bad luck or something)
  • If it’s okay – who should I invite? (I’d prefer to just stick to about 5 or 6 of us teachers who I know well – but what if the principal gets word of this?)
  • Will Hanna be okay/comfortable with this? 
  • Gift giving in Korea is quite different than in the States.  (For example, you give money in an envelope as a wedding present.  Giving Christmas gifts is more what couples do, not so much colleagues).  So I can’t say I’m all that comfortable with telling the other teachers they have to to bring a baby present.  I’d like to think “Sure, they will be happy to do it” – but I don’t really know.   
  • Time!  She leaves next Friday.  All the teachers are insanely busy at this particular part of the month.  I don’t want to plan a party and they all show up at random times or can’t make it. 
  • What to make?  Part of me throwing the baby shower is to also give the teachers a feel for what this very popular tradition is like.  So in lieu of just having a potluck (where the Koreans bring Korean food) – I am opting to bring the traditional shower-type foods myself.  Fortunately, since I’m only planning for an hour in the late afternoon – I’m doing just a few small snacks.  Currently thinking:
    • Mini sandwiches
    • Deviled eggs (most Koreans probably haven’t eaten these)
    • Dip and crackers/veggies
    • Some type of home-baked dessert
    • Drinks
  • Baby shower games.  The English ability of the teachers varies a lot – so I need to think of games that are fun, but also easy to play and explain. 
  • Secrecy.  I want this to be a surprise party (partly because if she finds out – she might tell me ‘no’ out of her fear of the unknown).  But we all share the same office.  I will undoubtedly need to explain what the party is about in person – and to hype it up a little!  I’m just not sure how good they are at keeping mum.  Plus, if they talk about it in Korean – I won’t even know if they’ve spilled the beans! 🙂
    • Also, I’ve got to figure out a way to bring in my gift, the food, and supplies for the party to school without her seeing – and – keep it hidden from her.  Not an easy task.  We share a small refrigerator.  I hardly have my own workspace, let alone spaces for “hiding” things.

Lastly, I hope this is an issue that resolves itself SOON – but I’m sick!  I’ve been sick since that damn 10k on Sunday.  It’s some nasty bug that at least half the foreigner population has at this very moment.  I have little energy (except to blog) and am drained everyday after school.  Can I get healthy, plan, cook, shop for, and host this baby shower in one week’s time? 

Here are the invites I plan to email to the invited teachers.  A little clip art here and there – and voila’!


I will update you soon – which may very well be…not to shower.

3 Responses to “To shower or not to shower?”

  1. 1 Angela March 9, 2012 at 4:35 am

    How did this go? I have a friend that just moved here (Texas) in July and she and her husband are expecting their first baby in August. I would love to throw her a shower but I’m nervous because I know in their culture, they don’t open presents in front of people. I’d love to hear how your shower went and see how you think your friend liked it!

  2. 2 muchadoaboutlisa March 9, 2012 at 5:09 am

    @Angela – Hi Angela, thanks for your comment. I ended up not having this shower at school because of scheduling issues at the school. But, I was able to plan for a small shower for her at one of the teacher’s homes and just invited a small group. We all chipped in for some baby stuff and ate food, played some games, and it was fun.
    I think it just depends on how uncomfortable your friend might be. I think perhaps a smaller size party would be better if you want to do this. But I think it’s a great experience for someone with a different cultural background.
    Good luck!

  1. 1 Change in forecast: Shower next week « Much Ado About Lisa Trackback on April 21, 2010 at 7:39 am

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