It is so tempting to hire a helper on these days, but it isn’t possible in my husband’s family since there are two other daughters-in-law. A few of my Filipina friends who are also married to Koreans can get away from this slave labor by giving money to their mothers-in-law. That isn’t possible in my case since my husband is the poorest in the family. In short, my mother-in-law has more money than I could ever afford to give her. Luckily, my husband is the third son and I’m not expected to do more than the other myeonneuri (며느리daughters-in-law) in the family. The real work rests on the shoulders of the first daughter-in-law, my keun hyongnim (큰형님 – my eldest sister in law who is married to the first son).
Anyway, the good thing about the lunar new year, which is called 설날 (romanized as “seol-nal” but pronounced as “seol-lal”) is that this is also the season for gift giving. I got a box of Pantene Hair Fall Control shampoo, conditioner and ampule set from my “wonjangnim” (hagwon owner) while my husband received a box of canned goods (relief?). We gave the canned goods away to the guards at our building. It’s a no-no for my husband who prefers naturally-prepared food. (Back home, I usually get promotional pens as holiday gifts.)
After the ancestral rites on the morning of New Year’s Day, money called 새뱃돈 “se-be-don”. Of course, we greet each other 새해복많이받으세요 or “Please receive a lot of blessings this new year.” Time to take out the hanbok!