While I am here in Asia, my main responsibility is to my students. I obviously care about the people of this country but if my students’ needs aren’t met, then they won’t be effective here. Part of meeting their needs involves me spending one-on-one time with each of my six female students. Right now my busy schedule only permits me to meet with three of them each week. We try to do something fun and cheap that will give us some time to talk about how they are doing. So far, I have gone to IKEA a few times, out to lunch, to babysit our friend’s baby and to a video arcade.
The funniest experience so far was going for a foot massage with my student, Grace. I’ve never had any type of massage in America other than a 10 minute massage after a 150 mile bike ride, because I am too cheap. In Asia, I always try to get at least one since they are so cheap. We paid $5 US for a 70 minute foot massage. We had no idea what we were in for.
When we arrived at the massage place and they led us into a room with two recliners. Thankfully Grace speaks their language so we could communicate. They asked us if it was okay to have male masseuses because of some sort of yin and yang thing. We said that would be fine and two men in matching track suits arrived. They poured something that looked like ginger into a super hot tub of water and had us put our feet inside. It was so hot! Grace couldn’t take the heat so her guy had to pour a bunch of cold water in to cool her off.
Then they started massaging our shoulders. It was a nice surprise. I had assumed that foot massage literally meant only your feet. You really shouldn’t assume anything in Asia. The back massage lasted about thirty minutes while our feet were soaking in the ginger water or whatever it was. Everything was going fine until my massage man put a pillow on his lap. He leaned me back onto the pillow and began to “massage” me with his knees. It was so weird! I didn’t know how to react. I couldn’t stop laughing. Grace started laughing too because of how ridiculous I looked. I couldn’t wait for him to stop.
In the meantime, Grace’s massage guy had grabbed her left arm and pulled it across her body to the right side. He started yanking on the arm so violently that I was afraid it would come out of the socket. She looked like a rag doll being tossed about. I laughed at Grace’s predicament until my massage guy started doing it to me. I heard my back crack in at least four places.
After all the bizarre contortions, the massage guys began on our feet. It felt nice but it was hard not to laugh out loud as I recalled my unorthodox lap massage. It was just another random day in Asia.
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