Hello! Kathryn here. It is my last evening in Korea. Wow, what a week it has been. I have been able to see so much and experience so many new things. Before I get started, a little disclaimer…I don’t blog. At all. So don’t expect the same caliber of material that is usually written by Lindsay and Whit!
Yesterday started with a visit to a green tea field. After a short taxi ride to the train station, we were on our way. The 70 minute train ride was followed by a 15 minute bus ride to the fields. We walked around and looked at the neatly manicured rows of tea plants. To stand on the top of the hillside and look down at row after row was very peaceful. I couldn’t imagine having to plant all of those. We had lunch and then started our trip back to Gwangju.
Now to the dreaded part of the day…going to Lindsay’s yoga class and then a visit to the public bath. I have been dreading this but thought I should experience this while I am here. Lindsay and I ran the 2.5 miles to the yoga class. We, of course, had to be front and center in the class. Lindsay exchanged niceties with the instructor while I sat there not having a clue what was being said. Then we started and it was downhill from there. As if my appearance alone didn’t cause me to stand out enough, my lack of yoga ability compounded it. After about 5 minutes I looked over at Lindsay and told her I would wait for her in the lobby, I was done. Then the instructor got ahold of me and tried her best to position me over and over again, shocked that I couldn’t do the most basic poses and stretches. Finally after about 40 minutes she just gave up on me and giggled at my awkward attempts for the rest of the class. Ok, so I survived. Now to the public bath. I was not looking forward to this. On the walk over, I was secretly hoping I would get run down by a delivery guy on a motorcycle. The pain of that might be better than what I thought I was about to experience. But nothing happened to me. And now it was time. All I could think about was the stares and pointing and giggling I had experienced so far while in Korea. And all of that was with my clothes on! This was going to be BAD. How did I let Lindsay talk me into this??? But much to my surprise when we walked through the door (completely naked at this point) to the heated pools, it was like nothing I have ever experienced. Women of all sizes, shapes and ages walking around, relaxing in the pools and in the saunas like nothing was out of the ordinary. No one looked at us any differently than anyone else. It was like once you walked through the door, you were no longer Korean or American or Canadian but simply a woman. I now understand why artists have sculpted and painted women for centuries and how boring it would be if everyone looked exactly the same or had society’s ideal image of what is beautiful. I am so greatful that Lindsay talked me into going. What a wonderful part of Korean culture that I was able to experience. If you are ever in Korea, this is a must do!
On a side note, Lindsay and I picked up our custom hanbok aprons this afternoon and they are beautiful! I know, ironic since neither of us cook that much but maybe a little inspiration will help!