Baring all in Busan

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This weekend was another trip to Busan full of great memories and new experiences. We arrived Saturday in the afternoon. I left Steve at Sasang and headed back down in the subway to meet up with the girls for a shopping day in Nampo. For me, this was much needed girl time! I have not had any girl time since moving to Korea. It was really nice and refreshing. We walked around Nampo window shopping and stopping at shops along the way that looked cute or unique. I finally went makeup shopping and was pleasantly surprised to find cheap and high quality makeup that matched my skin tone. I also bought a very awesome James Bond shirt, new spatulas (much needed), and pretty spring nail polish. We finished our girls outing with cupcakes at Red Velvet. I had the most heavenly tiramisu cupcake. We met up with everyone for dinner at The Pan and had delicious meals of pasta. I had tagliatelle with mushrooms in cream sauce and although I was not running in the race, I enjoyed the carbs just as much as everyone else. Afterward, we had an evening stroll to the Busan tower to take in the night view of the city. We had our earliest bedtime yet in Busan, in preparation for the race.
Red Velvet cupcakes (clockwise: tiramisu, mint, red velvet)

Busan Tower view

Saturday morning, up bright and early, on the subway by 7:45 am. We arrived at Olympic park and were surrounded by tents, runners, balloons, thousands of people. Groups of runners stretching and warming up. Race day excitement all around us! We found the Waeguks tent and everyone prepared for the start. Everyone went to the starting line and I went off on my own to find the best place to take photographs of the race. I was happy being a spectator and photographer for the day. Running is just not my thing and someone has to be at the finish to cheer and take photos, so I gladly volunteered for the job! I cheered enthusiastically and documented everyone's finish and felt so proud of my friends. I smiled as I was an American girl in a sea of Korean people, cheering for all of my Waegukin friends. Afterward, our group reunited, we had a celebratory coconut water and moved on to the Wolfhound for victory beers and a good post-run meal. Breakfast, burgers, beers, and cheerful celebration of everyone finishing a 10k. Everyone wore their medals and I felt proud to be surrounded by champions.
10k Photos!
the Waeguks (foreigners)
 starting line

 Steve's finish!
 post-race runners
 post-race coconut water
beach victory photos

We made our way to a spa on the hill as we walked along the sunny beach. I was excited and a bit nervous for this experience. Even before moving to Korea, I had spa on my list of things to do here. We arrived at the scenically located Vespa Spa and each paid our w8,000 (about $8) entry fee and received our locker keys and pajamas. Girls and boys separated and we planned to meet back up in the communal area. We made our way through the locker room. I stood at my locker, hesitant to undress in front of these two friends that I am still getting to know. I have never even seen my best friends from home naked, let alone girls I have only know for a couple of months. I undressed and felt awkward initially, but realized that this is a cultural experience and is not meant to be strange or uncomfortable at all. The spa was packed with women, families, and friends. We went to the shower area for a thorough shower and then off to the room of many tubs. Tubs of varying temperatures, all overlooking a scenic view of ocean, mountains, and city. It was an unbelievably freeing, relaxing, and truly cleansing experience. After talking and soaking for a long time, we met the boys in the sauna area. We all sat in our pajamas, drank iced tea, relaxed in the saunas, and napped. The boys, looking amazingly relaxed and refreshed, asked if we had been "scrubbed" yet. They said that they all had and that we must. We went back to the girls area and prepared to be "scrubbed", me being the only one of the three that had never been. I will give you a brief descriptions, this will probably sound very creepy and strange. I lay on a table, completely exposed, as an older Korean woman stood over me. She put on exfoliating gloves and scrubbed my entire body, more thoroughly than it has probably ever been scrubbed before, ridding me of every piece of dead skin.   Afterward, she rubbed my skin with a soothing oil, and dumped buckets of warm water over me. It was the most relaxing, refreshing, and strange experience that I have ever had. It felt amazing and the most clean that I have ever felt as we left the spa that day.  I am so happy that I was able to have had this spa experience, despite my initial hesitation and fear of being naked in front of others.
view from the spa (taken outside of course)

teaching english in korea. 
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