Very Cute Things And Awkward Nudity

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So, get ready for a lot of things cat.  😉  As some of you might remember me saying, K and I were leaving for Chicago this weekend for a short vacation.  Chicago is only a few hours away from us, which makes it one of the closest big cities around, so we go there often for mini-vacations.  There’s a large Korean population in Chicago, which is another reason why we like to go there because we can visit a large store called H-Mart.  H-Mart has locations across the US, but the ones in Chicago are the closest to us.  Inside H-Mart there’s just about any kind of Korean food imaginable as well as some other storefronts.  My new favorite store inside H-Mart is called “Fancy Pencil.”  If the name doesn’t key you in to how adorable that store is, then perhaps the pictures of the things I got there will.  The first picture is of two notebooks, stationary, two pens, an eraser, and a handmade kitty key chain.  I was having a mini freakout in there because of how much stuff there is to look at.  The store owner gave me the pens for free because he said that they write best on the nice Korean paper 🙂

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He also gave me a discount on this dry-erase board, which I’ll put in my cubicle at work.  I’m not a huge fan of Hello-Kitty, but I thought this was pretty cute 🙂

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I also found this awesome cat cellphone charm that you attach to the spot for earbuds.  So cute!

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It’s not easy finding Maneki Neko (lucky cat) in the Midwest, or not for me anyway. H-Mart didn’t have any, possibly because it’s from Japanese culture.  Finally found one at Mitsuwa (a store similar to H-Mart but with Japanese products) for a great price.  It’s pink!

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While at H-Mart, K and I both spotted a flier for a Korean spa/sauna.  Of course it was right next to H-Mart!  For $30 each we went to the sauna and I had an amazing time.  I was super nervous about going in by myself because it’s separated by men and women in the changing rooms.  I didn’t know what to do and snuck around the lockers looking at what other people were doing, but then the reality of the place struck me.  Everyone was naked!  Freely naked!  I come from a very conservative community and am just not comfortable being nude.  Seeing naked people of all ages and nationalities was definitely  a new experience.  I snuck to my locker as an old lady was taking off her pants and underwear and she was just standing there for all the word to see her you-know-what.  I put the sauna clothes on and then took most of my clothes off while wearing the sauna clothes.  They give you clothes that they wash and keep there for sanitation purposes.  Well, K didn’t inform me that I was supposed to take everything off.  I left my underwear on.  That turned out to be a bad choice when I experienced how hot it could get in the saunas.  Gross.

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Anyway, here is a picture of us in the bul ga ma (fireplace) room.  There were several rooms in the spa, each with a different theme.  Korean saunas are heated from the floor and the floors in this sauna were lined with tatami mats for comfort.  My favorite was the charcoal room and the fire sudatorium, which is actually heated by a fire and gets as hot as 240 degrees F!  I didn’t know humans could survive in that heat, but you can 🙂 I did.  I’m surprised that I actually didn’t have that many issues with the sauna. It was very hygienic there.

We decided nearly 3 hours later that we should probably get going, K and I split up again to go to the separate locker rooms/bath rooms.  You’re supposed to shower and then can go in the steam sauna or the public bath.  I was going to do both, I swear!  That’s what I thought anyway, but of course when I went back to the locker room, I was confused about what I was supposed to do, so instead of asking I just kind of awkwardly walked around like I knew what I was doing.  Then I saw a confident, European-American girl, nude as can be, walk into this public bath and then I could see other nude women in the bath.  I was like, no way.  Not in a million years K!  I casually went back to my locker and put my clothes on over my sweaty body.  Gross, I know, but kind of hilarious.  The workers knew what I had done I think.  They were very kind to me and thought it was cute when I dropped my socks on the way out.

We stayed one night at a hotel, which was near the airport and on the canal.  It was cheap, but probably because it was literally only feet from a runway and I could hear ducks in the canal all night.  I had an awesome trip and I did well OCD-wise, but I’m so glad to be home!

Chester’s glad too.  He was soooo cuddly and purring so much when we came home.  He had almost eaten through the huge pile of food I left him.  I told him not to eat it all in one sitting 😉

Clingy cutie :) He missed me I think.
Clingy cutie 🙂 He missed me I think.

Thanks for reading 🙂
Megan

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40 thoughts on “Very Cute Things And Awkward Nudity

  1. Chester is adorable. How could you possibly dare to abandon him for frivolous shopping and saunas!? He is clearly avoiding eye contact, you have work to do! 😼
    Thanks for giving me 📌 major 📎stationery ✏️store ✒️envy too. The closest we have to Fancy Pencil round here is Paperchase, and I am not allowed in there unsupervised. By order of the bank. Drooling over your provocative pictures of cute notebooks will have to suffice. Thanks for sharing your adventures, and well done for literally baring all! 👀

    1. Most of the stuff at fancy pencil land can be bought here http://morninggloryus.com/

      K always brings back stuff from Korea of that brand and I just love it. It’s good quality and really cute! 🙂 Not to mention inexpensive.

      Chester is a darn cutie. He was such a cuddler and he was so excited when we came home. I usually can’t hear his purring because it’s quiet, but I did when we came back from the trip 😀

  2. Wow! You did really well cramming all the best stuff in on your trip. I cannot walk around with no clothes on anywhere but in the privacy of my home, or someone else’s when they’re not home, or a hotel. Saunas and the like are not on my list of to-do stuff! It’s also very sweet that Chester does not give you the cold shoulder when you get home. A lot of cats do that. Maybe leaving him with that all-white cat that never uses the littler is the trick. I have four cats, so I know how nice it is to come home and do the get-acquainted thing with them—sooooo nice!

    1. We also cram everything in short amounts of time, which is economical, but exhausting! Probably explains why I’m still a zombie today 😉 Chester is such a good boy and very sociable for a cat. He greets me everyday and says goodbye when I leave for work 🙂

  3. the trip sounds interesting. i would have been running away at the sauna place. i’m so claustrophobic, and heat makes me feel that way too. i would have loved to be in k-mart with you. stationery stores are my favorite. glad you and k could get away.

  4. Megan,
    I live within walking distance of an H-Mart here in Texas. My daughter, “probably your age” goes there often. Like you, she comes home with all sorts of things. I go there with her every so often as there is so much to look at and I enjoy learning about different cultures. People are people no matter what language they speak or where they are from. Their mores are different and so too are there likes and dislikes. As long as they are pleasant to me, I am good…

    Across the street they have built something called “Spa Castle.” http://spacastleusa.com/tx/services/

    That is the second spa in the area that I know of like this. The Asian culture does not look at nudity like we do. I actually find their view refreshing, as I am an artist, and do not look at nudity in a “sexual” manner either.

    Unfortunately most Americans confuse nudity with sex, I think it has something to do with our “puritan” heritage. If you think about it your skin covers your muscles much like your clothes cover your skin. With the tight fitting clothes that we are wearing these days there really seems like little is hidden. Anyway, sex is an intimate sharing of oneself with another and should not be confused with nudity. My 2 cents.. LOL

    The procedure for these spas is, upon entering the facility to remove your shoes. They give you an electronic key in the form of a watch type thing that unlocks two lockers, one for your shoes and one for your clothes. As you noticed, you go into the wet area and disrobe, take a shower and then enjoy the hot tubes, cold tubs etc. After which, you put their clothes on and join your partner and enjoy the spas or “spa castle” has some wonderful pools. You can wear a bathing suite under their clothes for this purpose.

    They like for you to take showers to keep everything clean and pristine and germ free for their guest. Americans are still prudish and I am no different. I can push myself to do it and after about two minutes I am fine.

    I have not gone to either of these spas as of yet, not because of the nudity but, because they are darn expensive. The entrance fee is not the show stopper; it is everything else. They don’t let you leave once you get there without paying another entrance fee so, if you are thirsty or hungry you purchase food or drink from them; which is expensive.

    Most folks go there early and spend the day. If you eat two or three meals and have a few drinks you could easily spend a couple hundred on food and drinks. Add to this any of their services like a massage, foot massage etc etc. I could see spending the day and treating oneself to a few things costing a $1000 before you leave. They also calculate and charge the gratuity up front, on everything! If you are not careful you will end up tipping on top of what they already assessed you for a tip!

    This winter has been somewhat long and I was actually thinking about breaking down and taking a day off to go have something called a body scrub and a message. It is one thing to be nude in public, another to have someone scrub your “body”… I just don’t know if I can pull that one off. I am not crazy about the yearly doctor visits either.… LOL

    Good to talk with you again; take care!

    1. I checked out the site for the spa near you and it seems very similar to the one I visited. The way you describe the Korean view to nudity definitely makes sense to me and is refreshing in a way. I was raised in a German Catholic community in a Catholic household, so you can imagine why nudity is a strange issue for me 😉 K comes from a very conservative, Christian and Catholic household as well, so he’s never shared much about the traditional views of nudity in Korea. Then again, I can see how they are just part of his nature. he had no problem going in there! I wish I’d known about the key fob before going into the sauna. I had to ask, which wasn’t all that bad, but I’m just glad I saw the huge sign to take my shoes off before I went inside.
      We only spent $64 for the two of us, but I sat by the checkout desk when K was in the bath and single people were leaving there with $100+ fees added on to the already pricey entrance fee. My suggestion is to go after lunch and stay between lunch and dinner. Drink the free water often and if you get really hungry, just eat some fruit that they sell. The food is pricey, but that’s usually how much we pay for Korean food around here, so it wasn’t too shocking for me. Hope you can try it!
      Megan

  5. You had a wonderful time and I hope you will have an even better time in Chicago.
    Enjoy every minute of it and keep on smiling.

    And love the kitty cats. You brave girl you. And never be ashamed of your body. We are all born naked. Just like Adam and Eve. But a new experience is a good experience. You stood through it. Super Megan done it again

    Keep on smiling. and next time… no undies 😛

  6. Yay for mini-vacations!! And so much cute kitty stuff!! I’m all excited to go on a little weekend trip now 🙂
    And I’m so glad to hear it went well OCD wise, especially in the sauna!

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