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July 9

Today after class, EunJu and MiJi took my friend Lucy and I to a Jimjilbang, or, a public bath/day spa! These are extremely popular in Korea, EunJu and Miji said they visit these places about once a month. It was only ~$10 and I feel like I should have paid ~$60 for this treatment! It was a very fun and cultural experience. Upon arrival, we were given clothes to change into and we took our shoes off, which is common practice here any time you enter one's home or, in this case, spa area, and put them into lockers. We then walked down two flights of stairs to a changing room where we could put on our new "prisoner-looking" clothes which turned out to have some type of thermal capabilities, almost like they were heated or something. From here, you could choose to walk into a "cold room" or a "hot room," where you can lay down and relax. It was like a large sauna. We stayed here for a bit then left to go to a common area where you could cook food over hot coals and wait in hotter saunas while it cooked. We went into the "mild" sauna and stayed for a bit until we tried the second, hotter sauna, which we could only stand to be in for about 10 seconds, then the hottest one, which we stepped into and stepped out because it felt as though we were getting an instant sunburn! We got drinks with rice in them while waiting to eat the food we cooked, which, in our case was sweet potatoes! It was a 24-hour spa, so it is not uncommon for people to stay there for extended periods of time either. They had pretty much everything you would need; food, showers, water, and comfort!

After we were done eating, we laid in the mild sauna a bit longer until we took a shower and relaxed in hot tubs and spas in the shower-area. There was also a pool you could swim in. Once you were out, you could use lotion that was provided along with combs or brushes for your hair. I am so glad I got to experience this since it is a huge part of Korean culture! I am grateful for EunJu and Miji for showing us around and taking us places I would have otherwise not had the chance to experience :)