Noraebang 2014: Enlightenment in Seoul

So what’s with the title here?

Well, this trip was the best trip I’ve ever had.

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Why? Because I experienced pure enlightenment for the very first time. And it was fantastic.

We visited a local temple, where I learned a lot about myself through a simple task of coloring.

Care to explain?

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So it seemed like a relatively elementary task but doing this activity taught a lot about myself and what life has been all about for me so far. I’ve been rushing everything in my life, expecting results on the spot. What happens is that I become impatient, and if somehow I get to something good I screw it up. I then panic, and give up.

I learned that if you give up so quickly, your life will always seem unfinished and meaningless. To me, this was life-changing because I’ve never finished something like this before and I tried really hard to be meticulous, be patient and make sure to have a clean, finished product.

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I also got words of wisdom from people who volunteer at the temple: to wonder why we’re truly here and what is our sole purpose in life. I still don’t know but I’m doing whatever I can to find out for myself why I’m existing right now.

Continuing on with being humbled, I was able to experience more of the temple and how they lived through their food,

Oh wow, that looks good. What’s in that?

It was a very simple meal primarily of vegetables. The only thing that had protein in it was the egg and it was very filling. In a land of excess waste, fast food, and super-sizing everything, it was a very good change of pace and a delight to have simple things again. We then enjoyed the rest of the day with random sight-seeing and weird signs.

What else did you learn about Korea that enlightened you?

Well, it’s not about what I learned about Korea; it’s who I learned it with. With me staying in a hostel, I was able to meet new people from around the world. They taught me a lot about who I was and what Korean life is all about. At the end of the day, we’re all the same people that love the same things in life: to enjoy every single moment, wherever you end with whoever you meet.

I am honored to call them friends and they are now an integral part of who I am today. My hostelmates are the reason why this trip is called ‘noraebang’:

Looked like fun. What’s ‘noraebang’ anyways?

Well, it’s ‘karaoke’ in Korean and through them, I learned a lot about Korean culture, K-pop, and more about the Korean cuisine. I learned about different bands that will define my trip:

After that, all I did was eat the days away through:

Hotteok: Korean pancakes

Bulgogi: Korean barbecue

Seolleongtang: Ox bone soup in a milky-white broth

Naengmyeon: Korean cold noodles

Kimchi: Fermented vegetables, which came in EVERYTHING.

Damn, that looked like a lot of fun. What was your favorite thing to do and/or eat?

It had to have been either a hotteok (Korean sweet pancake) or the seolleongtang (beef soup):

Hotteok in action!
Hotteok in action!

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Last but not least though, the best thing I experienced were meeting these people I’m proud to call my friends:

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So it’s all over. That was a good way to finish that.

Who said it was over? I’m just getting started. Next up, Hong Kong!

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