Published 12/30/2014 by

2014 - A quick review ~

This year was amazing. 
A roller coaster of feelings, travel and new experiences. And lots of growth.

Travel-wise it might have been my best year yet. Not only was I able to visit China, Korea and Japan in the short span of 6 months, I got the opportunity to do many minitrips within these countries. (Also worth mentioning: The hilarious family trip to Amsterdam earlier this year.)

Feelings... Falling in love through the net, chatting for hours, rejection, uncertainty, fights, understanding, romance ...quite an adventure! But through my faith I started to believe in 운명 (fate) and I learned to regulate heartache through into-love-tuning and am growing as a human.

As for the Body... I practiced detaching from bodily sensations and endured physical pain during sitting meditation which led to an incredible trance-like experience.

Here a small list of experiences/achievements in 2014:

☑ Celebrating New Year with a bunch of Lolitas
☑ Debut as a language teacher
☑ NLP Diploma course including activities such as spoon bending
☑ Magic fairytale-like experience in Amsterdam
☑ Adobe Illustrator crash-course

☑ Couchhosting and Couchsurfing for the first time!
☑ Monastic life in China, learning Gongfu
☑ Going from meditation newbie to 7hours-a-day meditation sessions
☑ "Three steps one bow" pilgrimage to Wutaishan

☑ Reverse-culture shock in Korea, Living in a HostelGosiwon and finally Livingtel
☑ Minitrips (Andong, Jeonju) and Hanokstay with Gu
☑ Successfully finishing beginner level Korean at KLI
☑ Guiding mother and brother around Seoul/Busan
☑ Hiking trip to Seoraksan with Gu

☑ First boat trip alone for Visatrip to Tsushima
☑ First overnight boat trip to Fukuoka with Gu
☑ Enjoying Pre-Christmas Season in Busan alone
☑ Christmas: Discovering Gu's city Ulsan and Gyeongju

Tomorrow I'm off for another new experience: ~~~ヾ(^∇^)♪

  Welcoming 2015 in a Won-Buddhism Meditation Center Winter Retreat.

. . .

How was your 2014?

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Published 9/08/2014 by

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival ~

Today is a very important holiday in East Asia, namely the Mid-Autumn Festival or Asian Thanksgiving! It's celebrated (albeit in different ways) in China, Korea, Vietnam and even Japan and bears different levels of importance in each cultural circle.

To honor the differences and similarities between the Chinese and Korean way to celebrate I played around with Adobe Illustrator (yes, it's been a while, remember my last attempt?) and created these similar-yet-different looking young ladies. Remember, the left one is China while the right one is Korea. 

I purposely kept their look and clothing color the same to emphasize a feeling of similarity. The Chinese girl is wearing a 嫦娥 (the Chinese moon fairy which is also celebrated today) inspired Han/fairy-outfit while the Korean girl is wearing a typical Hanbok.

If you're wondering about the food... Chinese eat 月饼 (Moon Cakes) and Korean eat 송편 (Rice Cakes) so I featured both. Aren't they cute? While I was working on this illustration I was eating the 송편 our Ahjumma gave to each Gos hiwon resident, so nice of her.
Here are also the matching holiday cards, feel free to use them~

 Did you notice the Rabbit on the moon?
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Published 8/31/2014 by

Update from Korea ~

Hello everyone! It's been 3 months...how has everybody been? Getting back to blogging after a long break is really hard. Still, I have SO much to share. I'll start by sending heartfelt greetings from Korea. ~
▲ Me re-exploring the Seoul subway system and also a half-assed OOTD.

As I'm writing this post I am sitting in a box, better known as Goshiwon and looking forward to a very, very busy autumn. This is my 4th visit to Korea, but I've only experienced Korean summer... last time I was sad to leave just as the weather started getting milder... this time I am really excited about enjoying Korean autumn! 
Also, there's lots of stuff in my agenda: My quest to find an apartment/officetell, friends visiting, Chuseok (Korean "thanksgiving"), trips to at least 2 traditional Korean cities with Gu, start of Korean classes at Yonsei University and the preceding placement test (I should get at least into level 2 or level 3) my mother & brother coming to Korea... and maybe, maybe even a short trip to Japan...
that would make 2014 my super awesome China-Korea-Japan travel year! (*≧▽≦)
▲ The way I see temples has changed and they have become a place to find peace in the hustle and bustle of the city

Even without a Japan trip I can say this year has been life-changing... i have been changing so much in the last 1 1/2 years it's really amazing! My experience in the temple... it's hard to describe it, it's not like I changed because of what I learned there, although I did experience and learn a lot, but mostly it changed my approach to things. I finally started implementing things that I had already read or thought about before. Also it gave me a deep sense of contentment and peace. It's really not easy to describe how much that experience influenced me without sounding cheesy. No, I don't have my life figured out and I'm not enlightened (:P) but the way I approach life has started shifting.

▲ Ah Yonsei University! Still pretty as ever, although the main entrance is under construction - seems like construction work is all around me - after leaving my mothers place which was being renovated...the second temple in China was also having construction work done ;)

Coming back to Korea after the temple stay was a mild shock... I felt overwhelmed with all the superficial pop culture here and am still struggling to keep the mindful mindset we trained in the temple. Another big struggle is living alone. I've never lived alone before. I lived with my father, in a dormitory with roommates, shared an apartment with friends/an old lady with my own room... right now I am living alone, not knowing the other people in this Goshiwon and only relying on myself and Korean friends who don't live nearby. I have to /gasp/ go out and eat meals alone... I don't know if it sounds ridiculous but entering a restaurant (not a coffee shop)  and sitting down to have a meal (not a burger) alone still seems like a strange thing in Korea. Eating out is a social thing. I might write about this topic in more detail in another post...

▲ Yes, I made it to Busan! I stayed 1 week and will definitely visit again this year! So much more to explore. Busan dialect is adorable, erm I mean, badass! ( ´∀`)

Anyway, there are SO many pictures from China and Korea to share, stories to tell... will you bear with me? m(._.)mアリガト
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Published 5/28/2014 by

Last month in Switzerland ~

Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses towards growth. 
~Celestine Chua

My last month in Switzerland has started. I nearly can't believe it since I still have so much to get done before leaving. Exams, Papers, Work, Packing, Selling stuff, seems like there is no time for mental preparation. Also, many important things aren't even certain yet. I still have to write my finals and no idea if I'll be able to graduate. Although I just applied to Yonsei GSIS I don't know if I'm accepted yet. Because of that, I haven't organized any place to stay in Korea. Not even mentioning the money issues... but I'm going with the flow. Whatever happens, I have a one-way ticket to Korea. 
Uncertainty is ruling my life now. Renovations are being done in our apartment. That means no kitchen and bathroom and no privacy. Well, at least I can still crash on my sofa (bed) at night, surrounded by by clutter that I will have to sort into 1) packing and taking to Korea 2) packing and putting aside to be sent later 3) giving/selling away 4) maybe...leaving at my mom's house without knowing if I'll ever see it again.
I'm totally stressed out and excited at the same time. Just one more month.

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