Delightfully Interesting Conversations in Korea (Day 218)
Updated: Jun 26, 2018
We are so lucky to know many people around the world and are so lucky to have such delightfully interesting conversations, in Korea is no exception.
There is one more lodger in this apartment and we met him today while we were having breakfast. Joseph originates from Korea, and his family moved to Georgia USA 17 years ago when he was about 8-years-old. He pops over here most years and is staying for about a month. Another lovely chat with a young person. Suddenly there was a buzzing noise. Ah, our friend had arrived. I went into the hallway, waited for the lift door to open and then there was Shin and a friend of his. “Annyeonghaseyo,” I said in my best Korean accent. We met Shin a couple of years ago at an NLP Inspire weekend with Sue in India and he ran a great workshop on Victoria Satir’s 4 categories that can cause conflict: Blaming, Placating, Computing and Distracting. At that time, he spoke just a bit of English, yet he communicated this workshop so well with much fun and enthusiasm. Tim and I still remember it clearly today. Hugs later Shin introduced us to Minjyeong. She has been one of Shin’s NLP apprentices and now runs NLP training with him. Chats later he asked us what we wanted to do. We knew we had time to explore Seoul ourselves and what we love doing is chatting with people. So off we went to find a typical Korean restaurant so that we could experience Korean food for the first time and sit and chat. We arrived and took our shoes off and sat on cushions on the floor around a low table. I did have to move around a few times, my knees struggle to sit cross-legged for a long period of time these days. The food came out, bowls upon bowls of interesting vegetables and beans. We each had a bowl of rice and then, using metal chopsticks, placed various shreds of root vegetables, courgette and tofu in a rich tomato/soya sauce, cabbage and other green leaves and mixed all together. It was delicious. We chatted about so many subjects, the similarities and differences between NLP and Three Principles, plus coaching aspects. Despite Minjyeong saying that she only spoke and understood a little English, she was extremely quick at understanding what we were talking about. She shared that she read a person through their eyes and the feeling that she had. Great intuition and fabulous skill to have for coaching. On to Shin’s office after dropping Minjyeong off at a train station. What a lovely office. One wall was covered in flip chart paper, with recognisable NLP techniques, two bookcases full, many chairs for his students and one grand chair called the “Tracey” chair. Shin made us coffee and we sat and chatted for ages. Oh, what a lovely time. He is such a delight, passionate about the history of Korea and so knowledgeable. We learnt how Korea used to be a much bigger country and part of what is now China. In the late 1500s, Japan kept trying to invade Korea but Admiral Yi Sun-sin managed to defeat them despite the large difference in size of the armies. 300 years later Japan again tried to take over Korea, and this time they did. From 1910 to 1945 they became a repressed colony of Japan, then, of course, there was the Korean War with Russia and America splitting the country up. We didn’t talk about that part though. Shin did feel that the Japanese had done a lot to harm to Korea over the years. I think there still is quite a lot of bitterness towards them even today. Our favourite subject of education was raised. Shin had heard of the change in Finland and said that the education of over hundred years ago was so much better than now. Children would be in small classes with a range of ages and would read about Confucius ("Confucius" is the Latinized name derived from "Kong Fuzi"). Each day they would read, write and discuss aspects of life. We talked about so much, Chin taught us a different word to use for “Thank you” which is Komap Sumida”, this is a more friendly and heartfelt term. Crikey, I’d only just got used to saying Gamsahamnida! We talked about the structure of the language – the noun comes before the verb. So, for example, we would say “Where is the Station?” they would say “Station Where is?” Time was ticking, we drove to meet Kim, Chin’s wife, who volunteers at a Kid’s library. Wow, what a vibrant place. Built from two shipping containers, it is light, colourful, with areas for quiet time and other areas for fun time. We loved it. Each shelf had books by a certain author with their name, photo and a brief description of them. What a great idea. Chin showed us a hilarious book about a shit who ended up helping a dandelion to grow, and we shared with him and Kim about our favourite book our boys had when they were small – “The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business”. Kim quickly went to one of the shelves and hey presto, there it was! And what’s more, in pop up form. If you have small children in the family, I highly recommend this book. After a while, the children got used to us and we had a fabulous time playing with a group of 5 of them. They taught us how to say 1…10, we played Jacks, we all shared funny noises we could make. So much laughter and fun. Shin and Kim’s son turned up from school so it was time to leave. We were shown around the garden, where flowers and vegetables are being grown together. An absolutely delightful place. Onto another Korean restaurant – where I had a lovely chat with young Shin who will be 13 on Sunday. Or is it 14? (In Korea they have a different age system, where you are born aged 1, and on 1st January you then become 2 – I’m not sure I like this system – it makes me a year older!) Young Shin is a quiet thoughtful boy and was very kind, sharing with me what places we could visit. A very lovely lad who Shin and Kim must be very proud of. Shin and Kim hadn’t been at the restaurant for a time and were amazed at all the new apartment blocks that had been built. The whole area has changed incredibly in the last 20 years. Another delicious meal, this time including small octopus which was very tasty with a slight kick. After a delightful evening, they dropped us off at a station near to our apartment and we said a fond “see you soon”. What a wonderful day we had. So much delightfully interesting conversation with delightfully interesting, warm and friendly people. A special massive Komap Sumida to Shin and his family.