Winter

Korean Bath House

A lot of my friends may be more Korean than I am. Don’t judge! I’m learning more about my roots oh so very slowly though. Anyways. My friend Daniel who is not Korean or of Asian decent heard about a Korean bath house in Irvine/Tustin area called I Spa. Right across from The District. I didn’t even know there was one so close to me! He heard about it from another Korean friend of his. None of my Korean friends told me about it! But I guess they assumed I would know.

So Daniel invited me to go but I didn’t want to spend $25+. The major problem was that I couldn’t let Daniel be more Korean than me. He was already ahead of the game by the fact he knew about this Korean bath house before me! Also, I couldn’t let him go to a Korean place by himself especially if he has a Korean friend, me! After much contemplation, I decided to go.

I tried to talk to the employees at the front desk in Korean but it didn’t last for a minute. They ended up speaking to me in English. That’s beside the point of my post here. So, we paid $25 for the basic use of the facility. This fee allows you to use all the sauna rooms that are opened to everyone. They gave us clothes to change into and a locker.

Korean bath houses are known for their various sauna rooms, jacuzzis, showers, and the scrubbing. The scrubbing was an additional $30 and had to be reserved ahead of time. We were definitely not going to spend $30 more since we were already paying $25.

But anyone who is new to this experience needs to try the scrubbing. There’s a scrubber person who will scrub all the dirt on your skin like your ashy elbows and knees. They’ll scrub your whole body until you turn pink. It may be a little painful and awkward but it’s all worth it at the end. Your whole body will be as smooth as a baby’s butt!

Daniel and I tried all 4 different sauna rooms and the ice room. Of course in the sauna rooms, we were sweating by doing nothing. You just lie down in the room and relax. In general you’re not suppose to talk much since other people are relaxing. But, Daniel and I probably talked a little too loud that people left the room once we came in. It was actually pretty funny.

Outside the saunas, there’s a resting area where people just lie down on the heated floor and watch Korean drama. Some people knocked out in the resting area. Hence the purpose of that area. There, we saw a good amount of non-Koreans there. I was surprised that a lot of non-Koreans were aware of this spa!

20130101-221131.jpg

I hope to go again since it was fun and relaxing. But it probably won’t happen anytime soon since this is pretty costly. I’m not ready to drop another $25 to relax in hot rooms for 2-3 hours.

Before I left the spa, I asked the front desk person in Korean if he had a paper of the prices for the spa. I actually only said the word paper in Korean since I didn’t know how to say brochure and the rest I said in Konglish. The front desk person started looking around for paper, I guess. He was having a hard time looking for whatever I asked for. Then I said in Korean, “I want to give my mom the paper.” After I mentioned my mom, he understood and was able to find a brochure of the spa in seconds. Going into the spa, I failed at speaking in Korean. Leaving the spa, I failed again. Again, that is beside the point of this post! I just thought it was necessary to share with you my experience there.

Thanks Daniel for letting me know about this! I have to say that we are almost even at who’s more Korean. It’s getting close!

Christmas Lights #3

I wanted to find more crazy Christmas lights so I had to do what I had to do. Google. I just did some Googling and found the house. I have to say that Christmas Lights #3 is definitely the winner out of the three.

The house plays mainstream music and of course some classic holiday ones too. The lights are just ridiculously ridiculous. You’re basically watching a concert in front of this house.

20121226-235134.jpg

The owners of the house has volunteers who give out hot apple cider and some mini donut looking but funnel cake tasting pastries. They have some chairs for people sit and a little bonfire pit to keep people warm.

Below is a picture of how crazy the lights go. They had holiday patterned lights (top left), phrases like Merry Christmas (top right), Carly Rae Jepsen singing Call Me Maybe (bottom left), and Snoopy (bottom right).
20121226-235617.jpg

Not only were people allowed to hang outside and watch the lights but also go inside the house! The house inside is almost like Christmas Lights #2 in Tustin with all the little figurine displays. The house was basically a winter wonderland. They had various themes going on throughout the whole house.

20121227-000002.jpg

After watching the light show and doing a tour of the house inside, Dasom and I walked back to the car. As we were walking, we saw this house! The house looked like it was in a movie! It was fun driving around the neighborhood because the houses were huge and beautiful!

20121226-235157.jpg

If you want to see this house, it’s in south Orange County. The address is: 25473 Nellie Gail Road in Laguna Hills. It’s really close to the Oso exit on the 5 freeway. Just a heads up, don’t drive into the street where the house is located. Park before or after the street the house is located. Driving on that street will not be fun since it’ll be crowded with people watching the lights.

Check out the YouTube video of this house’s Christmas lights:

Christmas Lights #2

There’s a cul de sac in Tustin that has some crazy lights and decorations. The first time I went to this neighborhood was actually my senior year in high school. My friends somehow found it and ever since then I checked out the neighborhood annually. Last year I went was with Dasom. We walked around and then had some hot tea in her car. We were being really cute.

This one house has the front lawn full of snow and all kinds of Christmas decorations (top left corner picture). But what’s crazy about this house is the garage. The garage is covered with holiday figurines. It’s a whole different world in there. You just have to go there to really know what I’m talking about. The top right corner in the collage is a picture of the garage.

20121226-234509.jpg

One house across the street had a nativity scene and other sorts of holiday characters in the front lawn. I have a feeling they made all the wooden cut outs of the characters.

20121226-234539.jpg

There’s another house in the cul de sac that has crazy Christmas lights that flashes to the beat of the music. The night my friends and I went, somehow the lights and music didn’t go off. I was a little upset that my friends weren’t able to experience the epic lights show.

If anyone is interested in finding this neighborhood, here are the directions. But let me warn you that these are not good directions. I just don’t know the address. I just know how to get there by memory. So here we go:

  • Drive down Walnut towards Tustin
  • After you pass the street Tustin Ranch, make an immediate left. There should be an opening for you to turn left into a neighborhood.
  • Go straight. Drive by the park that is on your right.
  • At some point the street will curve to the left.
  • I think after it curves to the left, you only have two options to go straight or turn right. In this case, turn right.
  • Then in your first or second left, you will see cul de sac with some crazy lights.

Worst case, just Google this neighborhood. I’m sure they’re  on the web! Enjoy!

Is Christmas Here Yet?

As always, one YouTube video after another led me to this beautiful duet singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. The acoustic and the soulful voices makes me excited for the cold weather and Christmas. Let’s wear our scarves and gloves, huddle around an imaginary camp fire, and watch this YouTube video on repeat together:

You might be thinking that it’s too early to sing any Christmas songs, but I’m only showing this to you to prepare you for the holiday season!

Happy early holiday cheers to you!

Oregon Trail – First stop, NorCal.

Note to reader: Oregon Trail post will have several posts due to lengthiness of story.

Last weekend’s crispy, cold wind and today’s heavy pouring rain all reminded me of my road trip to Oregon in January with my friend Dasom. Our main goal was actually to get to Canada but Dasom couldn’t find her passport. So we decided to drive up to Seatle, Washington. Unfortunately, the weather condition there was not looking too good because of a snowstorm. So then, we had to go for Plan C which was Oregon. The day we wanted to leave for Oregon, there was heavy rain which made us question our road trip. We thought to ourselves, “Ok, we still have to go somewhere at least! We’ve been talking about this road trip for so long!” We finally decided, “Let’s go to NorCal at least!”

We left Orange County on a Sunday at 4:30 in the morning and got to San Jose in the afternoon. Then we went to Emmanuel church for Sunday service and to meet up with some old friends (Connie and Sarah). After service, we went to Honey Berry which is a hang out spot in San Jose if you want a plain yet sweet bread called Rotti Bun. We also had some brick toast with chocolate drizzled all over!  At Honey Berry, my friends (Yesie, joined us too!) and I all caught up since we had not seen each other for the longest time. Since we had dessert first, we had to get dinner next. For dinner, we just went to a Korean food court. There, we laughed some more and simply had a good time of fellowship with each other.

We departed after dinner where Dasom and I went to another Sunday service at night and met up with more friends (Michelle).

While we were in NorCal, our friends were asking us, “What are you guys planning to do after this?” We told them, “Um…not sure.” They laughed because they thought we were joking but we really didn’t have a plan. We just wanted to go to Oregon at some point, hopefully.

Sunday night, we slept over at Yesie’s house. The next morning, we woke up with no one in the house! Yesie’s family was out at work, school, or doing errands. As Dasom and I were getting ready for the day, we talked about how it would take about 12 hours to get to Portland from San Jose. I said to Dasom, “So if it takes 12 hours to get to Portland then we would get there by midnight. If we want to get there by midnight, then we should leave….now!” Quickly, we started packing. Next thing you know we were on a 12 hour drive to Oregon!

TO BE CONTINUE…