I was fortunate enough to visit Korea recently and what an absolutely amazing experience that was. I flew out via Korean Air on Monday July 11. I don’t remember sleeping on the flight over but I do remember watching about 5 movies oh and the food was surprisingly good.
Before I knew it the 11.5 hours had flown past (excuse the pun) and we were sitting on the tarmac at Incheon International Airport. Gyuri, a student from the Global Cyber University was at the airport to greet me and boy was I lucky that she did. She organised my sim card, train/bus card and off we headed to the subway to make the little over 1 hour journey to Seoul. I swear if she wasn’t there I’d still be going round in circles at that airport. First stop a restaurant and something to eat and then we caught an Uber to Yewon’s sister’s house in Gangnam. Yup you heard that right, Gangnam.
What a wonderful family for allowing me to stay for the first couple of days of my visit and on our last night all the family came over and they prepared a Korean BBQ Pork dinner. Stunning is all I can say.
The next day I met Gyuri and off we went exploring Seoul. Besides stopping at what I thought was every café and restaurant we stopped into the Body & Brain Centre where I met Master Jisoobae-nim. We then visited the Ilchi Art Hall where BTS performed and the Global Cyber University Learning Centre. The next port of call scared me a little. Lotte Tower stands 555m tall and approximately 200 odd meters taller than the Sky City Tower. I’m not keen on heights and just looking up at it from the ground had me dizzy. The reward though are the amazing views of Seoul and beyond.
Seoul is a bustling city of 5 million people but everything appears to move smoothly. It’s fair to say that my first two days were long but enjoyable ones. The first two days were hot and humid but the 3rd day was far from it. Heavy rain. Gyuri, met me again and this time we were off shopping oh and eating again. The rain was challenging but the food made it all worthwhile.
I really enjoyed visiting a traditional café where we enjoyed Persimmon tea and amazing desserts. The presentation of the kai is like a flower show. That afternoon Yewon arrived and after that scrumptious Korean BBQ Pork dinner with all the trimmings we were driven to the train station and off we went to spend the next 6 days at The Global Cyber University in Cheonan.
We were met at the train station by Jayoun and whisked to the Halls of Residence. We arrived quite late but the University looked impressive with all the lights on and the next morning it did not disappoint when we got up for a wander. There are no words to describe the grounds. You just have to go there.
Mr Lee and the team though have done an amazing job. There were hundreds of school children on a 2-day learning trip from Seoul. I enjoyed a guided tour of the University with Park Yeong Jun-nim and then had some time to catch up on sleep and some emails. I really enjoyed the food at the cafeteria too which I know is becoming a theme.
The next day we were driven by Jaeho Choi-nim to the very first Retreat Centre. This visited just happened to coincide with the hottest day of the year and on this day they celebrate by eating (yeah I know) chicken soup. We were welcomed to the Centre by Hwalshim-nim who is the Manager. They are all just beautiful people. Anyway, lets get back to that chicken soup because what I didn’t know was that it was that the soup had a whole chicken in it. WOW.
We talked with Hwalshim-nim and walked the amazing grounds. This Retreat is where all the Masters train. The next day was a big celebration. It was a celebration of the fact that it was 42 years ago that Mr Lee visited Moak Mountain and undertook his 21 days of no sleep, no lying down and no food and received his purpose. What an amazing journey Mr Lee has undertaken to date in the name of helping humanity and the planet.
Well to my surprise the next morning we were awoken and advised to get ready because we were going to visit Moak Mountain. That was an amazing surprise. At the train station we were met by Gyuri again and Master Kwon but I call him Master Funny because he was so funny.
By the way almost everybody I met had been to NZ on a Meditation Tour prior to the Covid lockdown. Before we started our hike we met Jinsun-nim for a Hwangchil tea and a guided tour of the Art Gallery. There were quite a few people in the gallery when I visited all of who were being told the story of Mr Lee. If you don’t know about the Mr Lee pumpkin story you must do some digging or asking.
Off we trundled up Moak Mountain and what you notice quite quickly is that it is very steep and lots of rocks. As I was walking up, I couldn’t help but think that 42 years ago Mr Lee was on this very mountain doing his 21 days of enlightenment. The biggest difference though was that when I got to the top, I was so hungry that I had lunch and then had to have a rest. We took so long that we missed our train but to our rescue came Master Funny.
He drove us the 2.5 hours back to the University and yes there was lots of laughing. The next day we had meetings with Sunyong-nim from IBREA and Eunju-nim from the University. We then joined Dr Yeon for lunch. The main dish at the restaurant we visited was the Puffer fish and my gosh it was very nice. Dr Yeon is responsible for developing Hwangchil products and she took us on a guided tour of the Science & Research Lab which is located at the University.
After lunch she dropped us off to the Benjamin Franklin School of Character Education. Also founded by Mr Lee this is an incredible school. So incredible that I have included the link. Honestly you need to check it out benjaminsch.com We met with the Principal Yoonsun-nim and a few of the teachers and students.
My gosh it was a special moment. The students were amazing. The following morning we went to Mago Temple and then to say thank you and farewell to Mr Lee before making our way to the bus station and the Incheon International Airport. On route to the airport we crossed over a 21km bridge. Crazy.
Wow that trip helped me to understand Mr Lee’s vision and it also helped me to understand the commitment he has made to help people and the planet during the last 42 years. There’s so much more work ahead of us. WOW, Korea, what an amazing place, happy and friendly people and the food was just out of this world. Thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome. I can’t wait to come back.