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Into the Forest

Sometimes I think to myself, “Why can’t I find more time to write”? Then I realize that my house is in a constant state of becoming undone. As I load the dishwasher after lunch, my daughter takes every pair of shoes out of the foyer shoe closet. It’s a balance. If I let her continue I might finish the dishes. Later, instead of writing, I’ll put away the shoes. But this afternoon, I’ll let the shoes sit and the dishes soak a little longer. I can’t wait any longer to share about our wellness retreat last month.

The Koreans do a lot of things right, but among the best are spas. A few months ago a colleague of Tim’s mentioned this wellness resort near us. When I first heard about it, I thought it might be awhile until Tim and I could escape for the weekend. Finding a friend who is willing to take the girls overnight or trusting a sitter takes time. But, then we were told that the resort is “very family friendly”. I had a hard time believing this. In my experience quiet rooms, saunas, and hot tubs don’t have toddlers in brightly colored arm floaties running about. But, we booked two nights and crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be hushed out the front door.

The four of us arrived at the resort with enough luggage to survive an apocalypse and the reestablishment of a nation. We had booked a villa, and I imagined we would just pull the car right up to our lodging. I was wrong. Tim says he mentioned that no private vehicles are allowed up the mountain. He says he mentioned it “several times”. This was definitely news to me. So we haul our bags and pack n plays to the lobby. The place looks incredible even if we look incredibly out of place. There’s lovebirds every where with tightly compacted sleek luggage. They are wearing coordinated outfits, very popular in Korea. The backpack I take for a playdate is bigger than these weekender bags. But I focus on the amazing views of the mountains. There’s an infinity pool that flows into a waterfall down the front of the hotel and little hot tubs scattered across the property. All the private villas wind up the mountain (obviously accessed only by resort drivers).

We head right to the spa and swimming pools. This is where it becomes very evident we are in Korea. This is a giant complex with floors and floors of pools: kids pools, warm pools, blue pools, floating rivers, and hot tubs at various temperatures. As soon as you enter you are required to remove your shoes before you head to the locker bay. There’s like 800 lockers. Once I find my number I can’t imagine how I am going to store my belongings in this tiny little locker. Then I realize that this locker is just for my shoes. Once you get past the Level I locker bay you enter the single sex locker rooms - where the second set of lockers are. Not the most Mom friendly situation as I carry bags full of suits, diapers, and floatation devices. Everyone is getting into their birthday suits in the locker rooms for the gender separated portion of the spa.

Here’s a run down of what’s required to enter single sex spa pools:

  1. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a hair tie.

It’s wild to me how these women of all ages walk about in nothing. But also very normalizing of different body shapes and sizes. Me and my post partum tummy fit right in.

We skip right over that part and get fully dressed for the pool. That’s right, fully dressed. Here’s a run down of what you will be required to wear in a Korean swimming pool:

  1. Swimming suit

  2. A shirt

  3. Shorts or pants

  4. A hat or bathing cap

  5. A mask

After we warm up to the idea of being fully dressed in the pools - we have a blast! We spend hours jumping from pool to pool and everyone and their mother has brought their kids with them. We check into our villa later that night. The next day we had back for another day at the pools and a big traditional Korean BBQ (which deserves a post of it’s own). It’s truly a relaxing spa getaway for everyone. Now, when I ask Rosie what she wants to do each day, her response is “Spaaaa”.

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