It's a Jjim-jil-bang (say that 5 times fast!), a traditional Korean spa. What that means is that it is a split-gender bath house, with a lady area and a man area, where you get into your birthday suit and enjoy the delights of hot tubs, steam rooms, cold plunges, and scrubs and massages. Back in the mixed-gender area, everyone wears spa-issued pajamas (pink for girls, gray for boys) and lounges around in the many dry saunas, the restaurant, movie theater, karaoke room, and well, lounge areas.
It's very Korean. But super friendly and welcoming to us whiteys. Which is nice, because it would be a lot less enjoyable if you were dealing with discrimination in the place.
Me and something like 22 of my dear friends met up there and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I loved it! It was like a birthday for everyone!
Anyhow, birthdays are funny. Last year, I was very concerned about celebrating my 30th. It was ridiculous, me getting all pouty because things weren't working out perfectly. Not to mention that I was insanely broke, stressed out, unemployed, and injured.
This year is completely unlike last year, in almost every sense.
I still don't know the future, but then who amongst us does? (and if you do, don't tell me, I want it to be a surprise!)
Things aren't perfect, but they are pretty wonderful. My outlook is sunny, I am surrounded by people I love in a city that brings me joy. I am doing work that reflects my interests and values, using skills that I went to school to learn.
What are birthdays for then, if not remembering how far we've come in the past year, and evaluating what we want, who we are, and how things are going?
I'm doing well and trying to do good, too. I hope you all are in the same boat, because right now, from my birdsnest, it looks like pretty smooth sailing.