Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia


I am writing this from Nepal, where Cary and I are enjoying the peace and quiet of the Prakriti Organic Farm Resort in the foothills of the Himalayas in Shivapuri National Park.

Who would have thought that I would have to go to South Korea to get a pair of reading and distance glasses? For three years I have been unsuccessful with any of my doctors in the U.S., but found an optometrist in Seoul, thanks to San Yi, a student of Dza Kilung Rinpoche, who is also Cary’s Tibetan Buddhist teacher.

Geun Oh Song, the owner of the glasses shop, found the secret to my problem. It was a hoot to read the letters in both English and Korean, and gave us a great many laughs, but we couldn’t have navigated it all without the excellent translating of San. The price of the examination, and two pairs of glasses and frames, was $150 and the next day I was given another pair by San’s mother Hyejo Gong, who had come with us to the store. This was a most unexpected, and very much appreciated gift! Koreans are known for their generosity!

If you are in Seoul, and need a pair of glasses, you can find them at Yonsei Glasses, 4th floor, Tong-il building, 77, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Cary and I, San, Hyejo and Yujin Seong, also students of Rinpoche, spent a delightful afternoon together. They treated us to an excellent restaurant with a banquet of traditional Korean food, none of which, alas, I could eat, but which Cary greatly enjoyed. (More on my food adventures with spicy Korean food in my next post…) Afterwards, we had delicious traditional Korean herbal tea in a tea shop snuggled in a magical little forest in the densely built up Insadong district.

San, MP, Hyejo, Yujin, Cary

It was wonderful for Cary to spend this time with San, as well as her mother and Yujin, all of whom organize Kilung Rinpoche’s Korean sangha, and help fundraise for the Kilung Shedra in Dzachuka, Tibet. Cary and San also work together on dharma texts.

We made other new friends during our visit. In our previous post, we mentioned Lhamo Owser, Shawo’s friend, who met us at the airport. We had dinner at a Mongolian restaurant for some not-too-spicy, but definitely hearty and heavy Mongolian food. Lhamo and Cary had fun interspersing English with Dutch as Lhamo is fluent in Dutch from her years of living there. She currently is taking a gap year and working in Korean restaurants to earn money to travel. We hope our paths cross again!

Yokan is a Japanese sweet made of red bean jelly that the Koreans love. It is exquisitely packaged in special boxes wrapped in fabric. In Insadong there are stores that sell these artistic boxes, elegantly displayed. One of Shawo’s Korean friends, Jieun Yi, gifted us with one of these boxes filled with 6 little packages of red bean jelly of different flavors while we had tea at the same Korean herbal tea shop we visited with San. It was so special at night that we wanted to revisit it during the day.

Offering these red bean sweets, opening the fancy wrapping and carefully slicing the jelly treats to share, is a special Korean tradition we were delighted to experience.


After our tea party and red bean treats, Jieun was our tour guide to a big street food market, and that brings us to more about food, which is the subject of our next blog post!






  1. Jerene

    Fantastic story about the glasses Meg! and they look great on you. Thank you for the pictures and detail of your days in Korea.
    Still no rain here but it’s predicted we are having drought and cold. The sun is streaming in my living room this morning and the frost is twinkling on the grass is all around. Marcus and Tom for dinner tonight… Salmon.
    So glad you’re doing your blog while traveling so as we can be in touch!
    Continue with your fun adventures! And good health! Love from all of us as we plan our various Thanksgiving feasts.

  2. Joyce Cornell

    I love your fun blog. I am glad that the optometrist in Korea was able to resolve your issue. It would be great to hop on over to Korea for glasses, as it sounds like a great deal.
    I spent a month in Korea, back in 2006, & your experience brings back memories. I still buy kimchi, but the mild kind. Ha ha

  3. Heidi

    Perfect story of fun sweets and better vision, sounds like the perfect trip!

  4. Lee T Compton

    Hi Meg, lt sure is good to see you well and having another amazing adventure! More photos please…. Love to you and Cary. Lee

  5. Sigrid

    Dear Meg:
    I am not into answering blogs as you know. But since I was just thinking of you and wondering if you had made it to Nepal, I’ll send this note.
    Have a great time in Nepal. I’ll get in touch with you after your return – by phone !!!!
    Love, Sigrid

  6. We’re having so much fun following along on your journey. I can’t wait to show your posts to my mom when she comes for Thanksgiving.

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