Swimming Hiatus and a Milk Shower

Korean Swimming

On my walk to swimming today I contemplated my decision to take a month off. Am I just being lazy? I always talk about how swimming is one of the best parts of my experience here so do I really need a break from it? Will I be able to keep up with running on my own, am I sure I will make the commitment to come back in April?

Korean Swimming

Sign outside the pool

I was staring at my feet, lost in though when I narrowly missed stepping on a DEAD TURTLE. A dead. Smushed. Turtle. In the middle of the sidewalk…Why? What? How? 

When I was done screaming. My thoughts immediately drifted back to a story one of my students had told me when we were covering pets as a topic, she said “We had turtle, brought to Suesong Lake, good bye turtle! Dead!” She was laughing and waving as she said it. My students can be quite dark. I think they have a  different relationship with animal mortality then we do in the US.

Korean Swimming 4

Walking to the pool


Korean swimming 6

The pool is a bit of a contrast in scenery to the outdoors one in Austin which a cool breeze, trees and deer hopping around.


I talked myself into the reasons I am taking a swimming break:

  1. It Is Expensive– It costs almost $130 per month to swim 5 times per week
  2. It Isn’t That Great of a Workout and they are the same 5 practices every week
  3. It is a Bit of Drain Some Days- I get started at, laughed at, made fun of and talked about and some days I am just not in the mood (conversely my lane mates can be super sweet and sometimes I think they are my best friends in Korea).  This is all before I go to work and face the awkward there.
  4. I Am Doing a  Half-Marathon -in the beginning of April and am aiming to break 2 hours so I would like to have a month to focus on running
  5. That Is All. Pretty good list, right?

So after the arm splashing, after the jumping, after the group high fiving, the hand-holding and the “FIGHTING!” cheer I found my instructor. I had looked up how to say April in Korean and said “March-Ane yo, Maraton, Sawol- Ne!” (Translation: March- No, Marathon. April- yes!) He looked confused, then he looked sad, then he said “Maraton” Made an A-OK sign and nodded. And we left it at that.

Korean swimming 3

I headed to the locker room relieved I had navigated that conversation and gave myself some accountability to come back in April (and I am doing it here too by posting this!). I mentally patted myself on the back and thought, that wasn’t so bad, see it is not too hard to live here. Then in the locker room, I saw a woman pouring milk on her body and scrubbing it into her skin with a loofah.

So there you have it, my morning of avoiding stepping on a dead turtle, communicating my intended break with my instructor (while he rocked his yellow clown-fish cap) and learning a new beauty secret I would have never would have thought of.

I am off to Hawaii in the morning to hug my parents and eat all the peanut butter I can get my hands on. Oh…and the cheese. All the cheese.

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