I’m still here in Seoul, South Korea, and it’s been a real blessing to have these weeks to really integrate into the culture and get a really great sense of life here.
I want to take you on another quick trip with me over here to this super special East Asian peninsula…between China and Japan. Get ready for a fascinating journey!
Let’s get going…
So…I don’t really know how to explain what is going on here. But all I can say is that whenever I look at this picture I crack up, and I hope you do too! We saw this random photo shoot of sorts going on in a field, and I couldn’t help but join in!
I’m standing here in Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is right in the heart of Seoul, amidst modern office and government buildings. It’s an ancient site, but has been rebuilt a few times over the centuries because of invasions. I’ve been to all the palaces here one or a few times- I love to wander through them and learn about the history, and just feel the deep sense of collective energy that is very much present in such ancient spaces.
Ladies! No pushing please! A bunch of super excited women checking out some apparently really great loot at Namdaemun Market, the biggest traditional market in Seoul.
Checking out the produce section of the market…
I saw the pic of the almonds and got excited! There is a lot of dairy here and not really any alternatives, or very rarely- no almond milk and even very little soy milk.
No prob, let me just flip this over and read the ingredients. Drat, no English again! Well I got it and checked it out. It was super sweet, but I put a little bit in my tea here and there when I want something sweet.
This is a Temple Food feast we’ve indulged in a few times here. Temple food is vegan and uses spiritual principles, and no garlic. I love it. As you can see, you get a million different things to choose from, and I have my faves.
I avoid all the deep fried stuff and anything that seems like it might have a lot of wheat/gluten in it (though I am much more lax about soy sauce over here, which does contain gluten).
Ok THIS is the best street food ever! Look at this neat little oven thingy this woman had right in the street! It had all those separate drawers, which were packed with yams. She had them all baking in there at different stages. Just completely plain yams, no oils or anything (THANK YOU SWEET LADY, you are my favorite street vendor in the world…but you just don’t know it because I can’t talk to you!!!).
The reason I’m so excited is because I rarely find just the root veggies baked plain- except for this one vegan restaurant where we eat a lot. A lot of the time they are cooked with some mysterious, yucky oil or with meat or something, making them inedible for me.
I just bought a huge bag of her yams and ate a bunch while I (then extremely happily) strolled along.
The sunsets here are really wild. The sun is a huge red ball that just sits in the sky for a while.
Pics can never capture how big the sun/moon looks, you know how that goes, but this can give you an idea!
I found this Buddhist temple randomly when I was up in the mountains north of the city exploring. There were a lot of mysterious experiences that happened that day. I had an amazing meditation. I wrote pages and pages and had some interesting insights arise. I stayed until dusk, and as per usual when exploring by myself, I didn’t think too far into the future.
But one of the monks, who didn’t speak English, pulled up to me in a van when I was starting to leave, along with a woman who gave me a cup of green tea in the tiny tea space there. I didn’t really know what was going on, but I got in the van with them as they insisted. They drove me down the mountain to the subway station, as I didn’t realize from that part of the mountain it would have been a nearly hour or so walk to the main road, with no sidewalk on a windy street. They made my life a lot easier, just silently and compassionately looking out for me, as I meditated in the temple. OM!
In the Namdaemun market again, drinking ginseng tea and checking out the sights…
A lot of the time in the markets, I just don’t really know exactly what is going on with the food…but it sure is interesting (and often accompanied with intense smells!)
Here I am relishing the ancient palace grounds again!
I love to observe the Koreans here…eating, talking, the way they interact, they way they eat their soup, the way they hand each other things (with both hands)…it’s fascinating. Unlike in China, where I traveled for over 3 months and people stared at me all the time, here no one really pays much attention to me, so I am just like a little fly on the wall observing peacefully.
This was a selfie, taken right during a moment of super intense gratitude for life and everything (including you, who are in our community! Thank you for you), right when I was walking in a corridor in the Seoul Museum of Art. xx I am very grateful for all things.
Cherry Blossom Festival! A big concentration of the blossoms are along the Han River, right near our hotel. So I walked along them and into the festival often. How lucky are we that the one time a year the blossoms bloom we happen to be here??
In ancient times, Korea was predominantly Buddhist. I love this Buddha, which I saw at the National Museum of Korea, one of my favorite museums here.
This is taken in our hotel. Amazing view right? On a clear day, you can appreciate the nature that is a big part of Seoul- how it is surrounded by mountains, and the Han River flows through it. There are over a dozen bridges that connect the northern part of the city with the southern part (sort of like how Budapest is connected by bridges). The mountains are magnificent, and we climbed on one (that will be in the next Travel Adventure Blog!).
These cloth facial masks that come in individual packets are ALL the rage here in Seoul. They are in the street selling everywhere, in front of so many stores, and all the girls I talk to here say they use them every week!
I’ve tried a few of them to experience the beauty culture here. Some have less than great ingredients but some are better than others. It is a very interesting phenomenon.
More Temple Food! I feel amazing after eating this food. This restaurant, called Sanchon, was created by a Buddhist monk of 18 years. Eating here really feels like you are in an authentic temple, and they surround you with lots of Buddhas and a beautifully lit atmosphere, as well as a heated floor!
I am very interested in the cultural space for women here, and I went on a tour of Ewha University, which was the first modern educational institute for women in Korea. I loved learning about everything and talking to many of the female students there about the past and the present for Korean women.
More of ‘them packet masks!
Life in a big city! This man is lucky to have the top floor, and on the roof he is hanging his laundry and watering his rooftop garden!
I really love observing the street vendors and what they are selling…especially when it is vegetable-based!
I’ve been able to keep up my morning routine somewhat. Probiotics+ every morning without fail, and sometimes a GGS. I say sometimes because there is one place we found organic greens and it’s not very close. The fruit is super expensive. Our mini fridge is tiny and when we go shopping we get as much as we can pack. The days I can’t make it I have a lot of fruit at the hotel breakfast buffet, along with the microgreens they serve at breakfast (lots of veggies at Korean breakfast, which is awesome!).
What a week it has been!
I know how enormously fortunate I am to be able to see this amazing land and place. I have been learning a tremendous amount and I hope that you have enjoyed learning some new things too along with me. We have so much to learn from each other!
What are your favorite things you just learned about Korea or some thoughts or ideas that came to you? Or about other places you visited? Please share!
In love, health and endless curiosity and inspiration,