Incredibly curious about what a Korean Fortune Teller could offer me, I eagerly climbed the stairs of an unassuming building in a local Korean neighbourhood. I stepped onto the third floor of my future to see her. Behind the rented room of 306, destiny was waiting to be unwrapped and exposed to me. I pressed my finger to the buzzer. The door slowly opened and with her glowing smile, the Korean Fortune Teller welcomed me into her world. This is what she told me…
1. I’m in the wrong profession
When I was fresh faced and high on the magical innocence of childhood, I endeavoured to make my parents lots of money. I can’t quite remember what profession was burning in my mind at this time but it was certainly creative. I was going to be an artist, a high class pianist or some enchanting dancer.
Fast forward thirteen years and my Dad told me there was no way I was going to Art School: ‘Can’t make any money that way’. By the time I had finished University and trained my ass off, I was a psychologist. That lasted four years.
After a whirlwind reality check, I threw in the towel and became an English Teacher Teaching English Abroad for 5 years. Now it’s all travel blogging and a continuous learning curve about how to be a full time blogger!
Yet still, the Korean Fortune Teller was insistent that I’m in the wrong career: ‘You need to be playing music, teaching music, experiencing music’. Maybe she’s right. This inner desire has reared its head throughout my travels. I’ve been a travelling rock drummer, been requested to tutor peoples’ musical abilities and exhibited the art of seduction on stage with burlesque in Shanghai. Just a couple of months ago, I was volunteering with Workaway to paint inspiring pictures on the walls of a hostel in Taiwan. Teacaketravels is also now 10 months old! I may not be Nic Firth or Beethoven but I’m finally fulfilling my needs and the Korean Fortune Teller had her eye on that for sure.
2. I’m stubborn
‘Stubborn’ is a nice way of putting it. The Korean Fortune Teller got straight to the point and said ‘difficult’. She’s right. I’m an only child clasping onto the passion of travelling the whole of Asia. No man dare stand in my way because I’m finding I severely lack romantic relationship negotiation skills. I’m still working on having a successful love life whilst travelling but there is hope…
3. I’m going to get married when I’m 38 and he’s going to be considerably younger than me
I’ve always been a flirt. My parents sent me to an all-girls school when I was eleven because they knew what I was capable of. I’m not ashamed to confess that I love men. I always used to date the older variety but slowly but surely, younger guys seem to be digging the Teacake. If a beautifully crafted young specimen of a male wants to get in on this craziness, come on over here toy boy.
4. I was going to get in trouble in 2013
2013 was the year that I travelled solo all the way through Japan, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I saw the Korean Fortune Teller in February and her words of warning stuck with me throughout. In March, I was driving by myself through the fields and dirt roads of Pai in Thailand. I carefully squeezed my brakes as I got to the final challenge of my destination: a towering hill with a promised temple of beauty perched on top of it. I revved my little engine with full intent and willed it to claw its way to the top. Woefully, it just didn’t have the strength. Trying to encourage it a little further, I put my feet down, digging my heels into the sand and burnt a perfectly shaped circle as big as a digestive biscuit into my right foot. In the scorching sun with no water and a lack of tiger balm, the pain slowly seeped through me and I considered this predicted unlucky fate ticked off my Korean Fortune Teller list. I was wrong: Two weeks later I accidentally got pregnant. The Korean Fortune Teller knew what she was talking about.
5. I’m going to die pretty young (I guess)
I’ll never forget the expression that shot across her face. As she materialised from her calculations and laid out everything before her, her look was an unwelcome mix of alarm, surprise and confusion. I wasn’t sure what to say but as the reading came to a close, I wanted to dig deeper about that expression I’d seen. ‘Am I going to have a long life?’ I asked. ‘Mmmm…’ she said and proceeded to say different things which didn’t answer much at all. ‘I feel you’re not telling me something’ I said. Her response? ‘Sometimes I see things but I cannot reveal everything’. I left with my curiosity well fed but an unpleasant aftertaste lingering in my mouth. Maybe some things are just better left unknown that not even a Korean Fortune Teller will tell you. You make your own destiny after all…right?
What style was this Korean Fortune Teller?
Saju! Originating from super old China and highly popular in Korea today, Saju translates as ‘The Four Pillars as Destiny’. What are these wondrous pillars of destiny? They’re the year, month, day and time that you were born. Endless calculations later with a serious looking book, your Korean Fortune Teller will tell you what life has in store for you (or maybe they’re just a good storyteller).
*Update* Fast Forward Two Years Later
5 Things A Thai Fortune Teller Told Me
Always one to be curious about how things are shaping up along the line of fate, I decided to have a destiny top up after my last encounter with the Korean Fortune Teller. This time it was in the temple-powered city of Chiang Mai, lovingly hugged by rugged green mountains and watched over by the infamous Doi Suthep. I was strolling down Nimmen Road; the emerging hipster area of this city where endless Chinese tourists come to gawp at random coffee shops and kitsch boutiques here. This street was in a Chinese movie apparently and they’ve been going crazy about it ever since. Nonetheless, amongst the endless signs competing with each other that you’ll see at the end of every street, I spotted a fair-weathered peeling blue sign exclaiming ‘Tarot Readings this way! I speak English’. I passed that sign as I waltzed up and down that street to ‘work’ (blogging) many a time and finally gave into my curiosity. Was what the Korean Fortune Teller said really true? Am I really going to get married at 38? Am I going to pop my clogs before I’m 50?
I swerved left instead of the using onwards direction and walked and walked and walked. Like any mystical lady in her right mind would do, she lived in the very last house on the street, tucked away behind big rusty gates and somewhat fear-inducing malformed trees that uncomfortably wrapped themselves around the house walls in a yoga position that a girl like me may try but fail miserably at.
A man with shiny jet-black horse-like hair down to his waist materialised and peered at me through the trees. ‘My Mother is seeing someone else right now but feel free to come and sit in the house whilst you wait’. I stepped over the threshold and sat myself down in what could be mistaken for the Sleepy Hollow set. In fact, it completely reminded me of the Black Temple in Chiang Rai I had seen two years before. Animals on the walls. Beautifully crafted figures made from caramel chocolate coloured wood. Lots of Thai Buddhist designs and images that I wish I knew about but was surprisingly too shy to inquire about.
As one local lady left, I was invited in. At the forefront of my mind was the perfect guy who I had left behind in Taiwan. I needed to know if I should put any more energy into him or keep calm and carry on being Teacake. What happened in the next thirty minutes can be described as all a bit barmy. The perfect guy was not addressed at all and the Thai Fortune Teller proceeded to tell me these five things.
1. Meat is diminishing my power
Apparently cows are my worst enemy. Funny that because I did nearly get killed by a pack of English cows once whilst I was hiking across a field by myself in the middle of England. Equally funny is beef is my favourite meat to eat (I mean come on, STEAK people, STEAK: sorry vegetarians). She was adamant that eating this meat was making me weak and to stop eating it immediately. Believe it or not, I have stopped eating it and I’ve also stopped eating chicken, pork and whatever else is from my animal friends. No longer do I have to shout, ‘What’s that in my soup?!’ when I’m eating lunch. I am eating fish and she told me to eat a hell of a lot of my finny friends. Do I feel better? Absolutely. I might even considering going vegan in Chiang Mai.
2. I’m sleeping in the wrong place
Turns out this Thai fortune teller has a Feng Shui streak. She asked me how my sleeping patterns had been and I told her I was restless as a ADHD firework going off during Yi Peng. I’ve never tossed and turned so much as I have in Thailand. Ever felt like your mind is racing on a drug ten times stronger than any disco pill and a pack of Valium will do nothing to save your soul? Yeah, that was me. ‘You’re sleeping in the wrong place’ she assured me. You’re sleeping in the middle of the room right?’ I was. ‘You need to sleep in the corner, where you feel safe. If you sleep in the middle of the room, you’re going to be alone for a long time’. Well, I went home and moved the bed. I didn’t date a single boy in Chiang Mai the whole time I was there and Tinder did nothing to rectify that situation either but did I sleep better? I sure did.
3. I’m about to enter the happiest years of my life
My Korean Fortune Teller told me that I was going to get married when I was 38 and the Thai Fortune Teller pretty much told me the same thing! I love matching stuff: cool! From now on until the age of 38, I’m gonna be riding high on the joys of life and meeting awesome, supportive people and making lots of money (make it rain people, let’s make it rain!). Apparently people born in 1982 or 1983 are going to be super rad but I’m still holding out for that young tomboy husband who is going to keep me forever young.
4. My lucky numbers are 2, 7 and 4
After a lot of ferocious tapping on her calculator, covered with the smudge marks of her wrinkly tarot-bearing hands, she presented to me a paper full of endless numbers and mathematical procedures which essentially boiled down to these three numbers: 2, 7 and 4. ‘These are incredibly lucky for you’ she reassured me. Wherever you sleep or stay, you will see these numbers. I was dubious but casting my mind back to where I’ve been staying lately, these numbers have definitely been in there. My childhood home was number 20 and the last three rooms I’ve stayed in have had the number 2 in. Hell, my birthday is on the 2nd and I was born in 1984 but with something like this, I think a lot of people could find many connections, don’t you think?
5. I should go and visit a Temple
This is when I started to doubt the lady a bit. She was determined to get my ass to a particular temple she had a leaflet for and when someone is pushing a particular product on you, well, you start to doubt them a little bit don’t you. Especially if you’ve turned up to spend some time with some tarot cards, not a monk. I took the leaflet but decided to go one better on this piece of advice. I did my research and discovered a monk in the countryside who believed in giving women Sak Yant tattoos: a spiritual Thai tattoo to offer you protection and blessings depending on what help you need in life. Representing love, compassion and being a firm believer in kindness, I discussed with the monk what I needed. He presented this design to me and I immediately fell in love with it. With bamboo and herbal red ink, he proceeded to chip away and the result is this! Now that is one hell of a way to leave Thailand and go forwards in life with strength, awesomeness and a whole lot of love!
Who knows when I’ll be searching for my next reading. Fingers crossed the next seven years will be smooth sailing!
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Photopin image edited and courtesy of Charles Wagner and on Flickr