My lessons from …South Korea

South Korea is incredible.


I cannot find other words to express that.


That place, the people, the way they speak and move, the trees, the food, the clothes, the colors, the air, the streets, the cars and their (traditional) shoes even! All these created a strange but such an interesting place for me to be.




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South Korea

Here are the lessons I learned while living and working there.


Possibility


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Tech magazine

I lived and worked in South Korea a couple of years ago, and even then that society was at least 5 steps ahead in terms of technology . I can't imagine how it is now a couple of years later.


I was amazed to walk on the streets and see people connected to each other, inside a network that is containing all.


I did not have a cell phone nor internet at that time so I could just observe. There were huge touch screens at the corners of some streets and you could search for things or play games right there in the middle of the street.



Through the nature of my job (fashion model) I got to participate at castings for characters in video games. I did have those sensors put on me and was asked to move slowly so that they can register the human movement :)

The lesson of possibility consists in me seeing that a world were these inventions are a reality. For someone like me, coming from Moldova this was a really brave new world.




Simplicity


Human nature is not simple by any means but there are countries and cultures where simplicity of thought, expression or movement is the norm.


Given that I was amazed the whole time, shocked for being again thrown into a melting pot, I was pretty attentive to anything.


I could see that inside the immensity of Seoul, a boiling city, people have created spaces that are welcoming and cosy.


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Traditional Korean market

The streets are simple, homes are simple, traditional clothes, which I did get to wear for work, are simple. There are simple people waiting for customers in their simple shops. Food is very spicy, there are many ingredients available but the outcome is... simple.

, natural beauty is considered beautiful.


This native simplicity of being was of course under the attack of modernity - as it always is. The clash between the two was evident in the way people chose to behave. Some wanted to protect themselves others threw themselves completely into it.

The presence of foreigners ,like me and my fellow colleagues, was a sign of change for them. They were nice to us but kept their homes closed, to keep the cold wind outside, maybe.



The meaning and value of Silence


I did not speak in South Korea.


The need to keep silent came over me as a protective measurement, I believe.


All the inputs I was receiving from outside, the industry I was working in and how loud it was, the presence of all those people I could not talk to but was under the influence of their energy, which I feel strongly - all this made me fall into deep silence.


I would not talk. I could not.


I would do my job and smile beautifully at the camera, would play my role I had to play, would be good to people and let them be, but I would not speak.


I had no words in me to express what I was feeling, thinking, seeing but I was participating in it physically. I

remember a moment after a show, the designer at the end gave me the flowers as they do on the catwalk. I should have been happy about it and understand the honor and the visibility it brought to me as a model, but I did not feel any of those.

This silence period, which people around me did find strange, very strange - was a period of profound meditation for me, clashing with noise outside my silence was natural.

I fee that my being, my spirit chose to do so as to protect me.


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Silent Korean walk

The existence of my physical self (and the need to care for it)


While in silence , I could hear myself.


I had to face some of the “issues” I have been having ever since I am consciouss of myself.

For example, I have been having great difficulties in being a physical being, having a body, arms, legs and head.


Still to this day I struggle with it, even if exercise had made it “bearable” or somewhat natural.

But, the thing is that I was a model and supposed to be basking in pleasure for having a body and having all those people around me arranging it to look beautiful.


I was not.


Again I had to learn all from the very beginning and to realise that I have to learn to care for the body in that new environment having the options I had available. It is not a given that you will know how to nurture yourself when you leave a familiar place and wake up the next day in an alien place, where things look, smell, taste and are called differently.


I was resilient, silent but very friendly and an open hearted person in Korea :)



The meaning of Loneliness


You can never run from yourself.


In Korea, through that silence I was living in and the protection it gave me, I was able to really meet my soul.

That was possible also by meeting and working with so different people (loud people :)) I could see my reflection in them, the thoughts bouncing back into me after having met someone where interesting to observe.

We live now in a culture where all have a voice, each of them is important- if not very important- voices eager to communicate their truth, their struggle, their story, their human joys.

All these voices have the possibility to speak and make themselves heard in a matter of seconds, a matter of a click. The chorus created is impossible to hear or to understand. The input for the human brain is overwhelming which explains the apathy and depressive states we humans live in nowadays.

I think that the noise outside, if not destructive, is the perfect invitation for us to look inside. Do not try to scream louder, you will die screaming for help in an echo chamber. Instead, listen to yourself.

I did that and survived 6 months of isolation in a the perfect abundant and colorful world called South Korea. Which leads to the next and most impactful lesson.



The great need for love in this world


While surrounded by abundance we have disconnected.

This abundance we all wish for, is translated in : things. The possibility to get more things is there. The possibility to cross the world in a matter of hours, to order yourself some sex or food over an app, the possibility to see anything live- there are millions of people livestreaming their lives right in this second and millions watching. All this is interesting if we observe it as a malformation.


A self destructive reaction of the human soul under attack.


The human soul is hungry, the human mind is depleted by the continuous input and stream of information.

The world is struggling to connect to pure joy and the source of it, while transitioning the digital revolution. Yes, there are pockets of peacefulness but rare.


This way of being is not sustainable and nobody can stop it either AND we still can transform it. Starting from ourselves.




May you be blessed Korea and Korean People.