Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Dad and his Korea.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Dad lately.  He is 88 years old and is facing the physical and cognitive challenges that can manifest at that age.  I realized that throughout my entire life, while I’ve always told him I loved him every time I see him, I have never really told him why.  So last week, I sent my Mom this note…

Hi Mommsie… I was sitting and thinking this morning that I wanted to send an email to Dad that you could read to him.  I thought he might like to hear why his eldest daughter thinks the world of him.

He taught me how to laugh.  And be silly.  

He showed me how to make other people feel really good about themselves – especially when he first would meet them.  He always talks about other people in superlatives.  He always finds what is best about other people and describes them that way.

He remembers people and what matters to them.

He followed his dream to fly.  To have a cottage on an island (which will always be one of my favourite places on the planet).

He gave me my love of music.  I can picture his hands playing hymns on the piano.  I can hear him in the car singing "Home on the Range" with all of us chiming in in harmony.  I can see us all doubled up in laughter as he himself would have to pull over to the side of the road because he too was laughing so hard. I love how he was always fascinated by church organs.

He shows me how to love.  And he loves you to bits.  And I, for one, am glad he picked you to be my Mom. And I know he loves each of us too.  (And one of the tenderest moments that I ever shared with Dad was the first time I saw him after Duncan died.  He just sat beside me and held my hand without saying a word.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live.  It meant so much to me.)

I am afraid that if I don't tell him all this now, he might not appreciate it as much a year or two down the road.  

Just thinking about how lucky I am and wanted to say so.

LOVE you both kazillions.  

My Dad has lived an extraordinary life so far.  He was born in Korea (my grandparents were medical missionaries there) so thus began a lifetime of incredible adventures and long-lasting stories to tell us as we were growing up.

So when Marty suggested that our next adventure be a visit to a Korean spa, I jumped at the chance.  I wanted to continue my reverie and homage to my Dad and this was a perfect way to do so.

We arrived and took our shoes off before we went in. For the tiny sum of $15, we were given a t-shirt and shorts, two towels the size of postage stamps and were invited to follow the arrow to the women’s area.  We appeared to be two of the only three Caucasians in the place, which to me was a great sign of authenticity.  This was a real Korean gathering place!  We found someone who explained to us the ways of the spa and we dove in.  First, a hot, soapy shower to have a clean start. Then to a steam bath, cold dunk tank, dry sauna, cold dunk tank, hot tub, cold dunk tank – in whatever order felt good. I enjoyed the lovely gentle energy of the Korean women there.  It was peaceful and cleansing in more ways than one.

Then it was off to the main attraction for us… the Salt Room.  After donning our tees and shorts, we went for a nap on a giant bed of heated salt crystals. You enter quietly, choose a space to lie down, and you sleep amongst the other men and women.  You could feel the toxins being invited to leave your body.  Next was the Yellow Soil Room which supports further toxin release through far-infrared and herbs.  It was okay but I didn’t have the same visceral response to it. The last room was the Charcoal Room.  Again, you find a place to lie down and doze off.  Both Marty and I fell into an incredibly deep sleep and woke up about half an hour later rather stunned at the depth of rest.

The grand finale included sitting in a lounge to watch Korean soap operas and comedy shows, or order Korean food from the cafeteria where you could also play board games. 

It was quite a day.  And as much as I loved the amenities and the different treatments available, I equally savoured being surrounded by the Korean culture and was able to envision to some extent what my Dad must have felt when he was welcomed into the world within their culture.

It was an absolutely lovely way to connect deeply with my Dad and his heritage.  I love you Dad…

Branded by authenticity,

Buns xo

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