I realized quickly this afternoon, that while I may have been the only non-Korean woman in the entire women's spa area of the jimjilbang, I had definitely found myself in familiar company.
This was absolutely a Sunday afternoon family affair and there were small groups of grandmothers with their grandchildren, mothers with their babies, girlfriends gossiping as they soaked and relaxed in all the various mineral pools and saunas and steam rooms. I almost felt as if I was intruding on a party without an invitation. Almost. Except that being naked, soaking in warm waters, having the sing song of laughter dance over my ears, and taking a cozy nap next to an ajummas while we both lay together on the cedar planks of the sauna just felt like the most natural thing I could possibly do on any day, but especially today.
Whole families come to the jimjilbang. The men going one way, the women another, later meeting in the common rooms where they all can even sing karaoke, share in wellness classes, gym classes, more massage, more saunas and detox rooms and eat a delicious meal or grab a sleeping spot, get cozy and stay the night. All I kept thinking as my body and soul relaxed and renewed was, "We could use a whole lot more of this in America."
I mean that. Sincerely.
Let's put down our worries. Let's get naked and have a laugh, tell some gossip and have a soak. Let's rub off all our dirt and all of our dead skin and let it all wash down the drain. Let's take a nap together and share all our dreams.