Lola O.
Hello everyone!!! I've finished teaching for the day, and have some free time to finally update my blog. It's only Tuesday, but the kids are a little crazy this week. Maybe it is the constantly changing weather, or just puberty that is making them so hyper. Either way, they are still very cute. Now, on to my topic of the day.

Last Saturday, two friends and I decided to experience the Jjimjilbang, or as I like to say the "Let's Get Naked" place:)! We went to this small one under my friend's apartment building in Sindorim, and it definitely is an "experience." Originally, the plan was to just go there and check it out, but stay in the area where you don't have to get naked. Well, there really isn't much to do in that area, aside from going back and forth between the hot rooms, the human oven, or as my friend calles it "The Tomb," or my favorite room, the cold room. You can also eat, and sleep at this place, but after an hour of going in and out of the diferent rooms we decided that since we paid the money to go here, we should have the full experience. Okay, they decided that. I wasn't really ready to get naked with strangers, but I'm the kind of person that is going to/willing to play along if everyone else is. So I jumped on the "Lets Get Naked" bandwagon, and there was no going back. The whole reason I am here, is to do things I've never done before, even if I feel scared, embarrased, or unsure of whether I can do it. We grow through those moments when we say screw the fear or worry and just let ourselves grow. I've found that all those thoughts end up being worse than the actual experience.

So back to my story, we were in the ladies changing area, and I tried to keep my eyes down, because I just didn't want to see other naked women...rofl. So, my friends and I are trying to get up the courage to just take our clothes off, after lots of awkward moments and laughter, we decide that we can keep our shirts on until we get into the sauna area, and then just take them off before we get in the water. walk into the sauna area and this naked woman is like no, you have to take your shirt off in the changing room, then come back in, take a shower, and then go into the pools. All said in a mix of hand gestures and Korean. So we turn back around, and by now I'm like lets just do this, and so we go back to our lockers, take our shirts off, and with our towels barely covering anything in the front, and definitely nothing in the back, we walk through the changing room, into the sauna room, and get the "full" experience of a Jjimjilbang.

It wasn't that bad getting naked, after just doing it. Sure, I got plenty of stares from Korean women, but I just ignored them and enjoyed my time there with my friends. I think it will be a long while before I do that again, but at least I now have this experience to remember. For me, I think everytime I do something that scares me I will learn to be less fearful, and be able to live my life freely. I didn't come to Korea to keep living the same life I had in Arizona. I came here to experience new things and I did. Sure it was awkward and weird at first, but it was also liberating to stop thinking about doing something and just doing it. My favorite part was definitely the various temperature rooms. If I go again, I would like to go to a bigger one that has more things to do.

Be Blessed,
~Lola O.~
5 Responses
  1. Matt Strum Says:

    haha, great story. I still haven't been to one, it'll be interesting to see how that goes ...

  2. Jimjilbang are lots of fun. I can't speak to the women's side of things (obviously), though the men's side is basically quiet. The old guys... The young guys with shaved chests... And that weird-looking foreigner that everyone seems to want to look at. Yep, we have the same parts - moving on...

    Seriously, though, acting oblivious helps a LOT. You're there to enjoy yourself - forget about the cast of characters around you. Talk with them if you like, but don't feel obligated to.

  3. I am incredibly proud of you!

  4. Nick Elwood Says:

    Ha ha, I know how you felt, The naked area is in fact a mogyotang (목요탕)and not a jjimjilbang, the two are different venues though often located together. I hope you go back. A great way to relax.

  5. Lola O. Says:

    I will probably end up going back, but not for a while. I liked the various temperature rooms. It's a nice way to relax with friends...when you are not naked:)!