Last weekend, I got to check an item off my Korea bucket list: going to a jimjilbang!
Okay, so in case you don't know, a jimjilbang is kind of like a Korean spa. Except that it's not just for hoity-toity white people.
Going to a jimjilbang, unlike a spa back home, is completely financially accessible. It's all of $8 to get in. This gives you access to the communal baths, the saunas, cold rooms, everything. Jimjilbangs are open 24 hours a day, which is why lots of drunk people choose to sleep here overnight.
So...walking into the ladies portion of the joint was...quite the experience. As someone who never had to shower with other girls and had minimal exposure to locker rooms growing up (due to my aversion to working out), the amount of nakedness I encountered was overwhelming. There was just so much ... vagina ... everywhere! I wouldn't exactly consider myself a prude, but really? Is it really necessary to lay out on the communal benches, put on your make-up, do your hair, calm your screaming babies--in the nude? Needless to say, I didn't partake in the communal bathing. I was just too chicken, I'll admit it.
However, onto the part of the jimjilbang that wasn't overwhelmingly nightmarish--the saunas! I've never been the type to partake in sauna-ing before, so this was quite the departure from the norm for me. It was just so utterly relaxing. I could have spent all day there!
About a million other people who have taught in Korea wrote on their blogs about jimjilbangs and no one was nearly as terrified of all the nakedness, so that's probably just a "me" thing.