Happy New Year!
I rang in the New Year quietly, on my own, with rice wine and The Big Lebowski. Supposedly there were shenanigans in Seoul, a sort of Times Square equivalent, but I had less than zero interest in that so I don't know much about it.
I went to see Sherlock Holmes on New Year's Day and just about fangirled out. I have a soft spot in my heart for whodunnits (as the rather sizable Agatha Christie collection I used to have can attest to) and Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr, so all three of those things in one piece of media was absolutely brilliant.
Just today I, in a fit of "it's a New Year I should really do something about my health I guess," went to the jjimjilbang to avail myself of their small gym and their hot water (since my hot water has been flaking out lately, I haven't had a proper, proper shower since maybe a week ago). While I was cooling off in the 18*C tub, a Korean woman spotted my fat foreign ass from across the room and started speaking to me in surprisingly passable English. She told me she had been to California, and that she lived about ten minutes away (by car) from the jjimjilbang.
"I saw another foreign woman here, she said she didn't....accustomed?...to..." and then words failed her as she tried to communicate the whole idea of the jjimjilbang in English.
"Yes," I nodded, "it takes some time for foreigners. But then....ahhhhh." I spread my arms and smiled.
In America, I can't really imagine a scenario in which I would be casually conversing with a buck naked stranger, minus joining a nudist colony or the like. But she talked to me just as easily as though we had been waiting for the bus or in line at LotteMart.
Since my return is coming up quicker than I'd like, I've started nosing around to see what kind of Korean-y stuff is nearby at home. Mom already did me the favor of pointing me in the direction of Kim's Kitchen as far as food goes. Saunas are proving to be a bit trickier; so far all I've found is Chung Dam Spa & Fitness which will no doubt be much more than the 7-8 thousand won/visit places here, and just hella more awkward. The Internets/Mom tells me that all around Cheltenham is a small Koreatown, in case I get Koreasick. I wonder if they'll have Gim Bap Cheon Guk...
“next bus outta here”
11 months ago