The Table is In!!

Hip hop hooray!

After many weeks of struggling to order a massage table, my goal has been accomplished. And this morning, the sun shone through my window and woke me with good spirits. A foreign number appeared on my phone, followed by a voice speaking Korean. Which I know nothing of. After much babbling on both of our parts, he said ‘ahhh. no english.’ and i said ‘ahhh no korean. err, hangul, or whatever’ and then he continued to babble and I hung up because it was useless. My manager called on my behalf and informed me a large package was awaiting me downstairs. There it was. A giant box with my soul’s purpose within it. It was waayyyy too heavy to lift so i had to slide it to the elevator and across the entire building to my apartment. Then, with the ferocity of child on a Christmas present, I tore that bitch open. Out came my beautiful new massage table. It was quite heavy. I opened it up and it came with more little gifts!! It’s like Hanukkah early! Not one gift, but many gifts!! I had a headrest, arm sling, arm rests for the side of the table, and the gift I least expected… a carrying case. OH JOY!!!! Only thing missing is a car to get me from here to there with it. 

But it’s here. And I am going to start my side-business again. Regaining my peace of mind in this country of Khaos. I welcome back my massage abilities.

Massage Your Imagination for a Moment

I attended massage school when I was 20 because it was something I loved to do. Since high school I had been giving friends and classmates massages during class or rehearsals in theater. It was something I was good at. People would sit in front of me with hopes that I would get the urge to touch them. And I did. And sometimes I still do. Many people choose professions that suit them, but it’s not necessarily what they love. I love to give massages. People love to get massages. The feeling of settling awkwardly on a massage table semi- (or sometimes completely) nude disappears when the therapist makes that first move. Slowly gliding their warm hands along the sides of your spine. Within minutes, you can get lost in the session. Muscles are being manipulated and blood circulation increasing. Yes, a good massage can do wonders for a person.

            But there’s something amazing on the other side of that story. The hands that do the manipulating guide a peaceful journey away from the world that envelopes us. As a therapist, there is a sense of magic when the client’s breathing slows down and the inhalations and exhalations lengthen. With the right music, a simple muscle manipulation is transformed into an art form. It’s not quite dancing to a smooth flow; it’s not quite conducting a ballad. It’s a rarely observed art with which neither word nor pictures can describe. It’s a kinesthetic art form that can only be truly appreciated by being in the moment.

            Like the edge of the water lapping the sand, thoughts fill my mind and then disappear with each breath. The flow of the massage begins to sync with the music. The flute holds a sweet note as I lengthen the muscles beneath my hands. The comfort and warmth of the room soothe both my own and my client’s energies. I can feel my own eyes droop as my client dozes. I never fall asleep, but the rhythm of the massage seems to sync with the slowed exhales. For a client to feel complete relaxation, a therapist must send out the same energies.

I nearly fell asleep writing this. I look forward to my next massage 🙂            

Bringing the Casino(skillz) to Korea!

No, actually it’s illegal to gamble here. It’s for the best. LAWD knows I’d be in troubbbllleee.

I was hanging out at school this past Friday preparing for a testing day by… checking Facebook. On the group created for my town in Korea, someone put up a post asking if anyone wanted to play poker. I couldn’t get in on the action because 1. I’m broke 2. I haven’t played since I left pre-Thailand 3. I’m broke. But I watched as a few guys responded to the post saying they wanted to join. After about 5 people joined in, an official event was started.

*insert mischievous grin* “I may not be able to play,” the grinchess thought, “..but maybe I can make them pay!”

Old memories of my times at the casino flooded my brain. I messaged the game-starter and mentioned my services. He said ‘I guarantee you’ll leave with 40K tonight’ (((keep in mind.. 40K in won… not dollars))) So I told him i’d get there after school.

School ended, I ran outside to catch a bus. *Insert an hour of trying to figure out which bus to catch from where I was* The game had started at 9:30p… I got out of work at 10pm…I didn’t get there until 11pm. 😦

But the game was still on! I had lotion and stretched my hands. And since this isn’t the casino…. I had myself a lovely gin and tonic. *content smile*

I offered 10 minutes for 7Kwon. I did two 30 minutes sessions and a 10 min session. After a couple of drinks, a horrible game of darts,  and a basket of chicken strips ((omg chicken strips!!))  I left. .. with 40K (won). AND a couple of new clients. One who will hopefully be a regular, and since I know his wife, they’ll be a couple of regulars 🙂

HIGH FIVE FOR MASSAGE DURING POKER SKILLS!!

My First REAL Korea Massage

This was an actual massage I gave! Not just a 5 minute backrub.

One of my neighbors was moving out last weekend and had a bunch of stuff to sell. But since moving here is expensive and payday is another month away, we bartered a little bit. I got a bunch of her stuff for an hour massage. I won’t tell you what I got, but let’s say my kitchen is happy.

Other than Thai massage, I have not done massage on the floor. I prefer not to because it’s not good for my body or the client’s. There is typically no facerest causing the person to have to crane their neck to one side and the other constantly. I feel it defeats the purpose of the massage.

 

Anyway, I have several yoga mats. One average one, one thick one, and a random eggshell type. I put the regular down first, followed by the eggshell, and then the thick one. I put a blanket down over it and the client was able to lay on a cushioned mat. At the time I didn’t have a facerest still so we used a mini pillow but she still had to keep her head turned to the side. Since then, I have purchased a nice thick ‘neck pillow’ (think of what you use on a plane) and its use as a face rest is perfect.

The massage was smooth I think. Not my best since I wasn’t accustomed to being on the floor, but i was able to give good pressure and flow.

I’m hoping to offer my service to other foreign teachers/workers in my area and earn an extra won or two.

Thank you, S.A. C for letting me work on you and experiment for a bit!! And thanks for helping my house get cozy! Good luck on your new adventures, your engagement, and travels! xoxo

The Mechanic’s Terminology

A friend of mine put a tiny dent into my car back on a popular summer holiday. He sent me to a mechanic friend of his to get it fixed. This mechanic was a big Italian (possibly) New York kinda guy. *You know… the giant gold cross necklace with fat fingers and creeping eyes* While waiting for a response from my friend on whether to go through with the $500 charge (obviously a rip off) the man and I were talking. He had seen my massage table and asked if that’s what I do. Instead of lying, I said ‘yea. I do outcalls.’ He said he could give me a bigger discount on the car if I gave him a  massage. I’m open to barter and trades so I said ‘Sure. Give me a call.’ Clearly, it had been before 10am since I gave him my card (aka I wasn’t awake yet). I also may have been thinking, “By the time this guy calls, I’ll be out of the country.” My friend ended up not wanting to pay $500 to fix a dent smaller than my fist (duh) so I left.

A few days ago I got a call from The Mechanic. He goes on about how his back hurts from his job and how Massage Envy doesn’t provide the massages he wants when he wants it and how he’s stressed and needs some stress relief. *BING* Flag  is up. Stress relief can mean two very different things in the massage world. It could mean ‘I have a lot of stress and I’d like to relax please’ or ‘I have a very specific location that I hold stress particularly south of my stomach and north of my thighs’. For some reason though (maybe the previously mentioned creeping eyes) stress relief sounded not quite right. But because it wasn’t blatant I had to keep going with my intake. I asked what time length he was looking for… 30? 60? 90? He responded with ‘Wow. Yea 90 minutes would be great.’ I said ‘ok! Just so you know, a 90 minute massage will cost $100’ and he responds with ‘Yea $100. $200. Whatever’ (((((???? okayyyyyy….))))) *BING* Flag turns orange – something doesn’t seem right with $100, $200, whatever.
My warning flag’s color change prompted me to explain what areas of the body I work on in a 90 minute massage. He said ‘yea uh huh okay’ a few times and responded with ‘Well is there any other therapeutic extras you offer? You know for stress relief?’ *Bing Bing Bing* Warning Warning. My flag is now red. Code red. Hooker nail polish red. ‘I usually offer hot stone massage or aromatherapy, sir. But those upgrades are currently unavailable’. “ookay” says he.

Therapeutic meaning therapy. Meaning something maybe out of balance or injured and needs repairing. In this case, The Mechanic used an excellent term to refer to an inappropriate action. Sneaky… but I’m smarter than that, douche.

I proceeded anyway (again, not quite post-coffee time). “May I have an address where the massage will take place?” ‘Uh.. I’m at a friend’s house so I’ll text it to you.’ “Okay, can you give me a general area so I know how to calculate the gas cost please?’ He tells me that part of town. “I’ll see you at 4:30, Mechanic?” ‘Yea. 4 sounds great. See you then. But call before, I want to make sure I’m awake and ready for you.’

He sends me a text with the address and, go figure, the address does not exist. The zip code is correct but the street (in all various blvds, st, rd, pl, ave, etc) does not exist. After my coffee and the review of the alarms ringing and flags waving in my face I realized I needed to cancel that massage. So I called to no answer. To no voicemail. I would think that a businessman would have a voicemail. Or anyone that has a cell phone ever. So I did the most unprofessional thing I could think of… I cancelled via text. My responses were ‘bbbkffpprrr. z. fjklf’ followed by ‘message right.’ followed by ‘flkjrjrrbkfflazzzz’ and again ‘too late’. I had a voicemail with no missed call that was 3 minutes of nothingness. Sorry Mr. Mechanic. But not really.

New Massage Technique: Serenade?

This is a story from a few years back while I was working out in Hawai’i.

I had been referred to a private client by someone who I know longer remember. This client happened to be VP of a particularly prominent shoe brand. As always, I turned the music on prior to setting up so the client can decide if it was what they wanted to relax to. My choice that session was “standards.” Sweet ballads by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, etc. You know… classics. VP asks me how I came to listen to these old singers and I told him I had no idea. I like the music, it reminds me of days that I never lived (in this life). I told him it inspired me to sing and Ella Fitzgerald was my musical preference.
He made a proposition I have still not had matched. He offered me twice the agreed upon rate, if I would ‘serenade’ him to sleep while I gave a massage. I recall agreeing of course. My first (and only) paid singing gig?!  While massaging? Throw in some ballet and I could be on America’s Got Talent!
Like most of my clients, he was passed out within the first 10 (of 90) minutes. At some point I think I went from singing to humming and he actually awoke and said humming was not part of the contract. Ha!!! Amazing. He was asleep and woke up when I stopped singing. ((Good thing I didn’t get caught having stopped the massage – jk. I would never))

Nice guy in a great big cabin in northern west Maui. I never got a bad vibe from him and he followed through with his end of the bargain. If I could make that a new style of massage..  ahhh c’est la vie.

Feet

Everyone’s favorite area to get massage. It’s probably the most requested area (aside from happy ending areas) to massage.
And I hate them.
Feet are dirty and often neglected.

There are so many disgusting stories about people and their feet. But I’m only going to share one that is short and sweet.

Of course, being from orlando I worked for a very popular mouse… Correction: worked on property. People from all over the world come here and walk around with their heavy backpacks and obese children and the overly clunky strollers. Naturally a massage is what they want. But few consider when booking the massage that it takes forever to get to the spa on a mouse-bus.
To boot (heeehee: boot-feet? Get it?), this couple is running late. They have been at Animal Kungdom all day and booked an hour massage plus 30min reflexology. After showing up nearly 30 min late they rush to drop their monster sized bags in the massage room rather than the locker area provided. Mr Whateverman is on the table and expressing how excited he is to get this massage. “We’ve been at Animal Kungdom since 9am. Sorry we are late. We came straight from the park”.
Me: no shit Sherlock. I can smell the rhino and bird crap on you “oh wow! Long day, huh?”
Mr Whateverman: “yea. Do you mind just working a few minutes on the back then focus on feet?”
Me: of course! (enter Disney smile)

After less than a minute of massaging his back I notice my hands are feeling dirty. His back is covered in the chunks of the mixture of dirt, sweat, and lavender massage oil. I literally had to wipe him down with washcloths. More than one. Each effleurage stroke rubbed the dirt off his nasty back onto my precious hands. (If you don’t understand then put some sunscreen on your arms or legs and go camping then rub your skin before your shower and see what peels off. )
After his darling back massage I pulled the sheets back from his feet. (I literally had to pause writing this just now because the memory of his feet is so appalling).
The bottom of his feet were black. Not just a little dirt. It looked as if he walked around Animal Kungdom’s shitpile wearing charcoal socks in shoes with freshly painted black soles.
The smell emanating from it caused me to silently gag.
I used without exaggeration 10 wet/warm washcloths just to clean his feet. Two of the cloths I had poured lavender and peppermint oils onto. The first half of the foot massage was just cleaning his feet. I think I started to actually massage them when I reached a pale pinkish gray hue.
I sat as far as I could reach from the feet.
I don’t recall the rest of the massage or if mr Whateverman liked it. But please people: do not go to Animal Kungdom in flip flops for 9 hours then go straight into a massage. Take a damn shower. Or at the very least clean your feet.

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