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Dr. Deborah Ooten
From the moment I stepped off the plane in South Korea, I felt held, supported, loved and nurtured.  I was met at the Incheon Airport by the South Korean IEA president, Mi Hwa Kim, and her daughter.  They are both incredibly loving individuals.  They greeted me with warm hearts and lots of information, both of which helped to ease the transition from the gruesomely long flight.  The first couple of nights of my stay, I was at the AvenTree Hotel in the historic district.  It was the absolute perfect experience of history, tradition, and nightlife filled with great food and wonderful touches of their culture.  I was able to experience a Traditional Temple meal at a beautiful restaurant/museum.  Several women shared traditional dress and dance with us all.  There is such amazing beauty in their traditions…

There is also much sadness in this culture.  The South Koreans are among the highest to engage in what they call “self-dying” or suicide as we refer to taking one’s own life.  At dinner on the last evening I was in town, a very affluent woman explained that the country has grown too quickly, causing great turmoil to them.  She is an artist, preserving the past traditions.  She feels very anxious that her art will not sell and is naturally cautious about entering into the face-paced life of business in South Korea.  After all, she is a housewife and mother.  How she was able, she says, to find her own voice was that she was desperately looking and exploring the enneagram, Spiral Dynamics and her life through those lenses, but still felt very sad with a great sense of longing.  

Meeting her and others, I experienced the culture as a mix of steady tradition (blue meme) and very advanced technology and immense wealth (orange meme).  Everyone seemed to be rushing from one place to the next, and it appeared that hard work and working hard were definitely requirements for survival.  

After a couple of days, we moved to Times Square Marriott, which was a welcomed sight for this weary traveler.  The rooms were large enough in which to spread out.  Double beds, not twins, with extra space to hang and store clothes, as well as purchases made, made for more comfort and better organization.  The Marriott was much more “Americanized” and almost everyone in the hotel spoke fluent English.  However, again, I was overwhelmed with the sadness that lay just underneath the surface beneath the smiles and “nice” interactions.  What I came to understand was that the traditions were suffocating the longing independence which most of the more affluent in the society were seeking.  


 


Comments

09/30/2015 6:01am

Love and light for south Korea means the Koreans people love the learn their education. Without the education they feel nothing because they know the importance of education.

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10/24/2015 8:15am

The love, affection, cares and nature of South Korean is famous and well-known. The humble and humane people of the country are full of love and traditions. The culture and tradition of the self-less Korean is full of color and keeps its own identity.

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05/01/2016 10:43am

South Korea peoples are really great their motto is to give love and take love. Love and light for those people because they are really educated

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05/16/2016 6:56am

South Korea people have the Moto that to love and light in the education system. The Korean people are really experiments in every activity of life. This is really best place for visit and earning knowledge because they are really intelligent people.

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05/23/2016 11:15pm

Being an admirer of South Korea, it is truly a country where their past, present and future coexist in harmony. However, it is also because of this that most of them, especially the youth are exposed to the tremendous pressure of being successful. Starting from their cruel education system and heartless college entrance exam, students, at a very young age, experiences the fangs of growing up. Which is why sadly, suicide is very common. It's sad that behind those cheery eyes and smiles are heart that grew cold from the cruel world. I hope your presence will warm it up. Nevertheless, South Korea is still a great country of tradition and innovation.

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07/04/2016 11:49pm

Maybe I will visit South Korea someday. Nice story.

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