Though most days I embrace my cultural quirks, assume the locals expect wacky antics from white girls, and even feel I'd be letting them down if I didn't do something weird, I can't help feeling like a freak of nature when I go to the gym.
I don't mind being the only foreigner, but the only runner—really? I always thought that was what treadmills are for, but these Korean ones seem woefully unequipped to handle the impact of running, as evidenced by their noisy incessant tortured-animal-like squeaking for every footfall, making me painfully aware that I am by far the loudest and most obnoxious thing in the gym, more so even than the chick who can't be bothered to use the earphones provided for the TV she's watching. (That was a stupid-long sentence.)
Add to that my being the only sweaty being in the gym, and sweating buckets at that just 5 minutes into at least a half-hour run because Koreans don't sweat and like their climate control a bit on the warm side, and it's hard not to feel self-conscious. (I really gotta work on my sentence control.)
Yesterday I was really mad because my water bottle kept falling off its precarious position on the handle of the machine. You know, I'd never even seen a treadmill without a water bottle holder before I arrived in the oh so tech-savvy Korea. Cretans. Today the other 5 walkers cleared out less than 3 minutes after I jumped on. Meh. I really should be getting myself up early in the morning to go anyway. No point here, just wanted to whine a bit.