During my short time in South Korea I met so many lovely people. In the hostel, lost in the subway, in bars, shops, temples and gardens…but these people above are just a few of the most memorable during my travels…
The kindness of Korean strangers part 2…The Nun
On my second day following an incredible 1st day local experience, I visited the ‘Temple stay’ building in Seoul. I had read that apart from numerous temple stays involving meditation and relaxation, there may also be an opportunity to take part in a meditation class in the city so i popped in.
The smiley man on the front desk had lots of fancy brochures but after a chat discovered that there wasn’t anything I could do that was less than 3 days and unfortunately I didn’t have that time to dedicate. I said thanks and that it was a shame I didn’t have more time…then as I was leaving a cute, shaved headed lady (yes, cute and with a shaved head!)popped her head around the corner and beckoned me to come around. The man gave me a nod and a wink and I followed the nun.
She explained that she was starting a new meditation and yoga group with a tea ceremony and lunch included and although it would all be in Korean I as welcome to attend! I was blown away…then she said that the yoga instructor is Canadian so will be able to assist in translation too. I really couldn’t believe my luck! I thanked her a lot and did too much bowing and would return the following morning for the class.
The next day was way beyond anything I had anticipated…South Korea is just so efficient, smiley and nice…we had introductions, a yoga session and meditation. The girl from Canada, Irene, was actually born in Korea and had returned to learn about her culture and had not long started working for Temple Stay as an interpreter. She was so lovely and I learnt so much about temple life and Korean culture during the day.
We all ate a beautifully prepared meal ‘temple style’ and then returned to the room to have a tea ceremony and a chat. The lovely nun (whose name I didn’t get) asked me to describe my time in Korea so far and my interest in Buddhism and meditation. I felt a bit awkward but at the same time overwhelmingly honoured that she had asked me to attend. They also asked me to fill in a questionnaire, so with Irene’s help I gave some feedback, as one day they would love to open it up to foreigners for real…I thouroughly recommend it if you ever get the chance to visit South Korea…go…I left feeling relaxed yet alive, empowered yet free and very very smiley!