One of my favorite kdrama’s ever is Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, a coming of age story about a female college student, Bok Joo, exploring her formative years as a weightlifter in training.
Lee Sung Kyung – Kim Bok Joo
Nam Joo Hyuk – Jung Joon Hyung (Dreamboat😘)
I admit, I only watch Kdramas where I recognize the celebrities who would play the lead roles. I immediately recognized Lee Sung Kyung from her stint in “Doctors” where she played the misunderstood villain. That and of course the show’s premise has to be interesting or fun to watch for me. How can I resist the show’s adorable poster?
Kim Bok Joo is an aspiring weightlifter who hopes to be part of the national olympic team. She eats, sleeps, and breath weightlifting coupled with some misadventures together with her 2 friends (Sun Ok and Nan Hee). She meets her childhood classmate, Joon Hyung, who happens to be studying at the same university but is into swimming.
Swaaag (Expression used by Bok Joo and her friends when they find something cool)
Joon Hyung and Bok Joo slowly become friends mostly due to him teasing Bok Joo (Calling her “Chubs” fondly as she was a big kid back then) and wanting to be around her just for fun. It was Joon Hyung who falls in love with Bok Joo first, realizing that he cared for her much more than a friend should despite her having a crush on his older brother/cousin (Jae-Yi).
She became self conscious when Jae-Yi watched one of her competitions. Feeling embarassed and also being subtly rejected by big bro, she lost her weightlifting mojo and began to question if this what she really wanted to do for the rest of her life. After Joon Hyung confessed his love for Bok Joo and she did some soul searching, she realized how much she cared for him too. They started dating (kyeopta heart heart) initially hiding it from their friends and Bok Joo’s dad.
In the end, Bok Joo realized weightlifting was indeed her true passion and she got into the olympic team. Although she and Joon Hyung were briefly separated as she had to train with the team, the flash forward to their graduation showed that Joon Hyung had also made it to the national team. They have a sweet moment in the end where Joon Hyung semi proposes that he can sustain their future as athletes get great retirement benefits and they kiss on the field with the promise of a brighter tomorrow💕
*Kyeopta – means “cute”
*Heart heart – means “love love” (LOL)
I wish I could delve into the story more but that’s the best and shortest synopsis I can think of!
1. It’s okay to lose your way sometimes. Our path is not 100% clearcut, so we take a break or veer away from our routine. Recharge and recover, we’ll get to where we need to be.
- When Bok Joo felt depressed and questioned herself on what she really wanted to do (Is it really weightlifting?), she took a job lifting/transporting boxes. She took piano lessons as well just for a change. Even for someone young, feeling lost is normal. I used to think this feeling could only be valid when one is working already but college is a time where we meet new people, where we get to think about what we want to do with our lives, and is probably the first rite of passage into adulthood.
Explore while you still can. Shifting careers, finding a new job, hanging out with new friends, travelling. We can make mistakes and not have to live a perfect life all the time.
2. Loving someone else can mean being there for them when they need it the most. No expectations, no return of favors.
- I love doing things for my partner and when he needs me, I will be there for him. But there’s a creeping thought at the back of my mind saying “What about me? How come I come running but he doesn’t do the same for me?” A sincere relationship will always require effort from both ends to make it work. We set ridiculous expectations that we think the other needs to fulfill but they don’t expect anything from us.
- Joon Hyung supported Bok Joo when she felt lost and even hid her secret of liking his cousin. He didn’t do those things hoping to get something in return but it’s because he truly just wanted to help her. I was glad that she showed her support when Joon Hyung was sad about finding the truth about his mom. She comforted him but wasn’t afraid to let him know that he was also at fault and how lucky he is to still have his mom to talk to.
Don’t compare the efforts you or your partner have made. Being together means working and helping each other achieve desired goals. Somehow, someway, an act or conversation that seemed nothing before will turn into a realization that “effort” exists.
*This can also apply to friendships and family😊 If we truly love them, we should be happy giving our time and caring for them.
3. Life is NOT a competition. We all grow and discover things at our own time. You and I have our own unique identity, let’s love ourselves for who we are.
- Ironic as it may seem when the lead characters are competing, but this is where our mental health stands. With social media depicting what our life could be like (Travel galore, going to fancy events, eating out at the newest opened restaurants), it’s easy to get discouraged about how we live our own life. I admit I get insecure when I see another person’s Instagram feed filled with fun posts, I get jealous and immediately wish to be like them.
- I know my self worth and it’s not like I’m not living a good life. I have travelled to a lot of places already (Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, etc) and consider myself a foodie as I get to try newly opened restos frequently too. Bok Joo never hid who true self — an awkward, loud, but fun-loving girl who spoke her mind. Joon Hyung loved her for who she is and he in turn, learned to appreciate his family (he was living with his aunt & uncle because his mom had another family in Canada) and forgive his mom.
My life is different from anyone else’s. Stop comparing and focus on yourself! Learn to appreciate what you have and work hard for your own achievements. There are people and experiences to be thankful for in your own life.
What I love about Korean dramas that although the plot is “normal” — a student finding love and growing a career, it’s the details and progression of each episode that makes it so enjoyable to watch. It takes me back to my own college days when I would eat lunch with my friends at the cafeteria, questioning my choice of course (I studied Management), cutting class, and the inside jokes we shared about our dreams for our life ahead. It’s the essence of youth– energy, vibrance, and knowing that the world is ours for the taking!
Whether we can relate (Did it happen to you too?) or not, a TV show that makes us think, feel, or even just smile for a bit, is a success.