Tag: hi bye mama korean drama

Unnie Recap: Best Kdrama Heroines of 2020

Can I start by saying that who would’ve thought we’d make it this far?😅 To say that 2020 is the toughest year in our lives is an understatement, but we’re finally here, a new year that hopefully is filled with better and brighter experiences for all of us. I’m so glad that despite this pandemic, kdramas continued to roll out keeping us entertained (and sane!) for the most part of last year. From an avid fan, thank you to all the hardworking actors/actresses and staff for making it possible.

Top 5 Heroines of 2020

1. Cha Yu-ri (Hi, Bye, Mama!)

Happily married with a baby on the way, Cha Yu-ri had a full life ahead of her. An accident takes her away from her family and friends but she lived on as a ghost for 5 years observing and staying by her daughter’s, Seo Woo, side. In a twist of fate, she suddenly becomes human again and has the chance to stay on Earth if she finds her place with her family. Easy enough right? Nope! Her husband, Gang-hwa, has remarried and Seo Woo of course doesn’t remember her at all. The plot may sound like a heavy tearjerker but the show has some comedic and lighter moments that balances the somber mood the story entails. Yu-ri doesn’t take for granted her second chance and spends her days bonding with Seo Woo and tending to the unhealed wounds of the loved ones she left behind with her untimely death.

A tale about forgiveness, moving on, and finding happiness once again, Hi, Bye, Mama! will teach us a lot about living our everyday to the fullest. Sharing with you the Hi, Bye, Mama! life lessons our lovely mama has imparted to me in her journey back to the realm of humans!

2. Woo Do Hee (Dinner Mate)

Who doesn’t love the B-rated comedy producer of 2N Box? Smart, fierce, and confident, Woo Do Hee was such a 21st century female lead that we can relate to and admire. Proving that third time’s the charm, she fell in love with her dinner mate turned boyfriend (Hae Kyung) at an unexpected but welcome moment in her life. She’s confident and can handle problems on her own, but she doesn’t always have it together and succumbs to the occasional breakdown due to life’s challenges. We lose our way sometimes but it’s important, like Do Hee, to get back up and deal with our personal problems head on. For a show that centers around having dinner together, I find that there are other kdramas that feature food more prominently as a theme. I did however, enjoy Dinnermate‘s own interpretation of how eating together can bring comfort to people.

Dinnermate kdrama was a fun one to watch to and I have to credit it to her and the leading man’s chemistry. It was a joy to fawn over Do Hee and Hae Kyung’s blossoming relationship as they started out as merely strangers turned dinner mates. There’s a special bonus in one of the episodes too where the actress briefly reprises her role as Seo Dan in Crash Landing on You, hehe!

3. Seo Dal Mi (Start-Up)

Considered to be one of the most popular kdramas in 2020, Start-up’s Seo Dal Mi takes a seat in my top heroines list as the self-taught and hardworking CEO of Cheongmyeong Company. Her journey towards success was riddled with challenges and setbacks, but she pushed through with the hopes of following in her dad’s footsteps and achieving her own goals. Even if she sometimes puts herself in a pickle by faking her confidence, she doesn’t give up and still find ways to rally back. This was a refreshing kdrama that focused on the beginnings of start-up businesses trying to catch a break in an arena of fierce competition and evolving technologies. A lot of technical terms were used in the show but were explained the best they can, the notable feature of a Google-like place called “Sandbox” serves to inspire us that anyone can fulfill their life dreams (with hard work of course) because chances to prove ourselves do exist.

The most talked about aspect of the show was the love triangle of Dal Mi, Nam Do San, and Mr. Han Ji Pyeong (#teamgoodboy) that divided fans on who to root for. Please do read my Start-Up kdrama introduction post on the show to know a bit more about the backstory. I read feedback that a lot of viewers didn’t like how the plot progressed in the latter half of the show and that a lot of people were rooting for Mr. Han (like me), but I honestly liked the korean drama until the end. Aside from her romantic choices, I really liked how they portrayed Dal Mi as a start-up newbie who read books, asked for a professional’s help, and really made the effort to learn the business that she was going into to become a legit boss💃🏻

4. Gu Ra Ra (Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol)

She is naive and innocent as they come, but Gu Ra Ra’s honest and happy-go-lucky personality wins over the hearts of strangers around her. I love how she isn’t afraid to apologize for a misunderstanding and sings you praises when she’s happy because you can feel the sincerity in her words. Even in tumultuous times, she still has a smile on her face and spreads a good energy around her that people naturally want to help her out. Despite the show starting with a tragedy prompting Ra Ra to start anew and move to Eunpo City, the good-natured people Ra Ra met there and finding true love with a cutesy love story made Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol kdrama an easygoing and fun show. The true tragedy this show had was its ending which I published a separate entry about because it peeved me that much, haha!

I know I criticized the show for this very thing that in reality, it’s too good to be true to helped out by a handsome guy (haha) regarding all your troubles but hey, this is a kdrama. Ra Ra has a pure heart and I can only hope to be as good as her in both the good and bad times of life🎶 I urge you to still try watching Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol kdrama though and get caught up with Ra Ra’s infectious melody of good vibes and no-worry way of life tunes.

5. Lim Ju Kyung (True Beauty)

This was tough for me to choose just because the last heroine, just like the previous year, starred in a kdrama that had only been airing a couple of weeks since it premiered in December. Simultaneous good shows premiered last month alone and I honestly liked each and every protagonist’s personality. This got me thinking to permanently reserve this last spot for December korean drama leading women to be fair because their shows only have a few weeks of exposure before the year ends.

Ultimately, I chose to go with Lim Ju Kyung from True Beauty kdrama as she sets out to find her self-confidence beyond the confines of her brush and mascara. It’s a classic tale of ugly ducking turns into a swan but in this case, the duck is only wearing a swan costume to disguise the fact that she’s still a duck, haha! High school student Ju Kyung was bullied in her previous school for being “ugly” and she turns to make-up for help. When she transfers to a new school, she ends up having to hide her real identity more as she gains the attention of new friends and 2 leading men vying for her affection. I honestly think the show downplays the mental health effects bullying can have on a person, but it still has a lot of episodes left to showcase how one can heal and move forward from such a traumatic experience.

True Beauty kdrama is a coming-of-age story where Ju Kyung will learn that her real beauty lies within and she shouldn’t be ashamed or have to cover up how she truly looks to anyone. I have no qualms of her using make-up to boost her confidence, but I hope she breaks free of the stigma that she needs to be dolled up to be accepted by her peers. My second lead syndrome heart is beating strong here too as I hope she ends up with Seo Jun, hihi!


I’d like to think that all kdramas exist in a multiverse not so far away, where every character from each show is living their lives, well and happy, beyond the final episode. As always, I’m excited for the new shows that’ll premiere this year and will look forward to meeting more characters that’ll leave a mark in my heart💕

Unnie Life Lessons: Mama Knows Best by Hi, Bye, Mama!

Is there a limit to what you can do for the ones you love? Putting them first, sacrificing your own needs and wants, letting them go to have the life they want to live? Cha Yu-ri, the main protagonist of Hi, Bye, Mama!, shows us that love is truly unconditional — not just as a parent, but also as a daughter, sibling, friend, and even as a ghostly spirit.

With the ongoing covid 19 pandemic paralyzing our daily lifestyle, it’s become common for us to slow down and have more time to reflect on what we’ve done so far in our x years of existence. Life is short, oh we know, but to someone like Yu-ri who died abruptly and was given a chance to start anew — she realized so much more than the living can adhere to.

Start watching or check out my Hi, Bye, Mama! recaps to get to know more about this kdrama!💃🏻

Mama’s Tips

1. Eating good food, going out or being able to hug your loved ones are actions that we can take for granted because we can do it anytime, easily. Learn to appreciate these simple acts of living and be thankful for every chance that you can do these.

  • No one in the world can predict their own death. Although we are told by quotes, reminded by a friend or older relative, and so on that we shouldn’t take things for granted, we can’t help but give little meaning to eating out, working, or being able to talk with friends because it’s easy. Let’s take a conscious effort to slow down and reflect on these beautiful acts of love and care.
  • I’ve read advice expressing that the everyday, mundane parts of life are all you need to live a good life. Let’s not wait until the certainty of these experiences become fractured — relish these moments now.

2. Even if it’s not in your presence anymore, letting your loved ones go and allowing them to find their own source of strength and hope is the best kind of love you can give.

  • Gang-hwa remarrying was never an issue for Yu-ri, either when she was a ghost or when she reincarnated, because she knew that she couldn’t console him any longer when she died. Seeing him get better and move on with Min Jeong was something that she will always be grateful for. Even if it meant the love of her life found somebody new, as long as he wasn’t in pain, she accepted it well.
  • It’s natural to think of ourselves first whenever we make decisions. But at the end of the day, it’s still easier for us to give way to someone we love because seeing them happy trumps the knowledge of them being miserable. Even to her own daughter (Seo Woo), Yu-ri never coveted the position of being her mom because she was thankful that Min Jeong took care of Seo Woo. Yu-ri was content in being able to spend time with her and know that Seo Woo liked her company as well.

3. Time can heal wounds. How long or how short can’t be determined but as long as you try, beautiful memories will replace the painful ones. Moving on with your life is something that you should strive to do when you need to.

  • Losing Yu-ri was a tragedy but five years gone, the people closest to Yu-ri were moving on with their lives without her. Although her mom did pray to see her once more, she still carried on with her everyday life without her eldest daughter. The unending pain that you feel will slowly dissipate with time, don’t give up. As long as you exert an effort to process the wounds, even as small as eating a meal or as big as trying to work or date again, better days will bless your presence.
  • As pointed out by Yu-ri, she didn’t want her loved ones to feel guilty in moving forward with their lives. We may forget about deceased family members, good friends we lost touch with through the years, or fun experiences, but we’ll never truly lose such memories because the impact they made in our lives are too significant.

Hi, Bye, Mama! kdrama was an emotional rollercoaster for me and though it had its depressing moments, the overall mood of the show aims to uplift our spirits with hope and healing. This post is long overdue, but it’s been a struggle for me to write about something positive when I myself have been feeling the ups and downs of being in quarantine.

There is no perfect formula on how to cope and move on but we can always try. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and never forget that:

Life is unpredictable. Live yours to the fullest — make sacrifices, learn from mistakes, cry, laugh to your heart’s content! It’s a wild but fulfilling journey, don’t worry, you’ll get through it😊

Unnie Recap: Hi, Bye, Mama! (Episodes 15 – 16) – Ending

Perhaps every hello is a prelude to a parting — as we inhale each experience that life gives us, we try our best to exhale the hardships and say goodbye to those which circumstances such as distance, time, or death can unexpectedly take. This doesn’t mean that relationships are futile, it just means that we have to treat our loved ones and ourselves with the utmost love and care while we still can.

Get a box (es) of tissue ready and bear with my last and longest entry for a mama-sized conclusion to Hi, Bye, Mama!💕

Episode 15

Hearing out Hyeong Jeong’s explanation on why Yu-ri has to die again, the secret that she must become Seo Woo’s mom and Gang-hwa’s wife again is finally disclosed. Gang-hwa is distraught and in a daze remembering Yu-ri’s words before about leaving her be for 49 days making sense now. At the same time, Yu-ri leaves Mi-dong’s place speechless and utterly dejected. It seems like she didn’t receive any good news about wanting to live again😓

Gang-hwa goes to see Yu-ri and infuriatingly berates her for not telling him about her impending death. Probably their first real fight after her resurrection, he wished that she had told him that she needed to take her place back to live. Yu-ri didn’t back down and confessed that she would go up once he remarried but Gang-hwa’s misery remained that’s why she couldn’t leave him behind. He seriously asks her if she could really live once she takes her place in their family and Yu-ri scoffs at the idea because he has a wife. He doesn’t waver and states that she should take her life back. Does this mean that he’s willing to separate with Min Jeong?

After finding out from Gang-hwa that he told Min Jeong her true identity, Yu-ri seeks her out. Min Jeong is obviously hurt but asks her why she hasn’t demanded for Gang-hwa and Seo Woo back. Yu-ri doesn’t reveal her 49 days secret and answers that she is thankful for Min Jeong’s presence in their lives and that’s enough for her. That same night, there was no stopping the inevitable: Min Jeong decides to divorce Gang-hwa. Min Jeong looked hopeful that Gang-hwa would tell her not to leave him. Alas, all he could utter was an apology, not even disagreeing with her decision😢 Min Jeong is heartbroken and weeps as this confirms that he has chosen Yu-ri over her.

Though she doesn’t explicitly say, Yu-ri’s mom attempts to console her daughter knowing that she must be experiencing a multitude of emotions ever since she came back. They go for a walk around the neighborhood late at night as she confesses to Yu-ri that she used to sit on a bench before to watch Seo Woo play at a playground. She was content in watching her gradnchild play from afar and never approached her or Min Jeong. Whenever she was there, Seo Woo would be playing too and they never left until she did. Yu-ri’s mom realized that Min Jeong knew who she was and probably did it for her sake.

One of the last few ghosts left, the baseball player Kang Bin asks for a favor (thru Mi-dong) for Keun Sang to make it known to his mom that he did not commit suicide. Turns out his best friend was the one who killed him and set it up to look like he took his own life. Kang Bin’s mom all this time blamed herself for her son’s death because she never accepted his confession of being gay. Keun Sang shows her his report of Kang Bin that he was not resentful towards her and actually wanted to resolve their issues. Her mom feels relieved that he didn’t hate her after all and Kang Bin’s unresolved business is complete.

What I presume is an attempt from Gang-hwa for them to become a family again, he, Seo Woo, and Yu-ri go to an amusement park for the day. They go on rides, have fun walking around, and even take a picture together. Although I’m happy that Gang-hwa is trying, I can’t shake the feeling that something doesn’t feel right. If anything, they are a family but it just feels… desperate. At the playground, Yu-ri’s mom sees Min Jeong staring in the distance and sits on the bench beside hers. She says that she knows Yu-ri the best and comforts Min Jeong that what she fears the most, losing Gang-hwa and Seo Woo I assume, won’t happen.

Gang-hwa takes Yu-ri home and says that the 3 of them ought to stay together from now on. She cautiously tells him that she won’t take her place anymore because in exchange for her living again, Seo Woo would have to see ghosts for the rest of her life. This is what Mi-dong tells her at the beginning of the episode that’s why she looked so helpless walking out of her home. Yu-ri explains that there’s no way to change this fate and decides that she won’t let her daughter suffer just so she could live again. Simultaneously, Mi-dong finally discovers the truth on why Yu-ri was resurrected: Mrs. Jeon (Yu-ri’s mom) wrote a prayer request wishing to see Yu-ri again one more time.


Epilogue

An alternate storyline where Yu-ri didn’t get into an accident is narrated. As Seo Woo is born, she and Gang-hwa happily tend to her at home. They play with her, marvel at her progress, go on park dates, and spend time with Yu-ri’s family as well. This was something that I think a lot of fans (Such as myself) appreciated to imagine the OG couple become the family they were always meant to be if Yu-ri hadn’t died❤️

Episode 16 (Ending)

In a flurry of panic and agony, Gang-hwa tries to convince Yu-ri that there must be a way for her to live without jeopardizing Seo Woo’s future. What must be going through his head is terrifying, having to process that either your wife or child will have to suffer is a no-win scenario. Yu-ri is firm with her decision and thanks Gang-hwa for everything that he’s done for her.

Mi-dong breaks the news to Yu-ri that it was her mom’s prayer request that brought her back to life. As she holds the piece of paper on her hands, she feels embarrassed for just focusing on Seo Woo all this time. Yu-ri feels no regret choosing to keep Seo Woo safe and vows to spend her last days to the fullest. I love how they connected 2 generations of moms in the story and showed that Yu-ri is both a mom to Seo Woo and a daughter to Mrs. Jeon. It’s not about getting the chance to become human again or getting to take her place back; although short-lived, Yu-ri came back because of her mom’s ardent love. The rest of her 49 day journey is as she pointed out, a gift🎁

Hyeon Jeong breaks the news of divorce to Yu-ri and gives her the friendship bracelets that Min Jeong left her the other night she was at the restaurant. Yu-ri hoped to see Min Jeong at the daycare, but she along with the other teachers had to take Seo Woo to the hospital as she suddenly vomited. When Min Jeong arrives and sees Yu-ri besides Seo Woo, she asks about the kid’s condition and walks away knowing that she’s okay. Yu-ri chases after her and at long last confides that she’s going to die again after 49 days. In light of this information, I think Min Jeong finally understands why Yu-ri beams a glow of thankfulness towards her. With tears in her eyes, Min Jeong sadly pleads if Yu-ri truly can’t stay and our mama confidently replies that she can’t.

Gang-hwa arrives at the hospital and he and Min Jeong finally talk about their underlying relationship issues. Being too considerate of each other was their downfall because they never got to open up about the sad and painful emotions they were experiencing individually and with one another. No relationship is perfect and they should have addressed such feelings with each other. Before leaving the hospital, Min Jeong advices Gang-hwa to give Yu-ri a proper send-off and they can talk about their divorce after.

A heart-to-heart conversation happens between Yu-ri and her mom as the latter asks the former if she’s been with her all this time. Yu-ri confirms this and Mrs. Jeon apologizes for not being able to comfort her as she stood by her from the other side. Mrs. Jeon seems to sense that Yu-ri isn’t back for good and like her daughter, she wasn’t greedy and knew that the time they have now is what’s important🤗 As they both cry their hearts out, Yu-ri puts her mom’s mind at rest and tells her that she remained strong no matter what.

For her last remaining days, Yu-ri makes a to-do list to accomplish all the things that she wanted to do before going up. This involved taking the last remaining ghosts out for a Samgyupsal dinner, inviting Pil Seung for a home-cooked meal, picnics with her family, and going on a camping trip with friends. Hyeon Jeong gives Yu-ri a letter from Min Jeong conveying her gratefulness for meeting her and becoming her friend. She promises to take care of Seo Woo and this brings tears to Yu-ri’s eyes. I hope that in their next life, they become good friends again without any complications. That same night, Gang-hwa also came to terms with Yu-ri leaving as they have a heartfelt conversation about their hopes and wishes for each other moving forward.

It’s a bright and sunny day as Yu-ri bids farewell to Seo Woo. She sobs a little bit asking her daughter to come to her in the next life as she hugs her tightly one last time. Seo Woo caresses her back and calls her mom!🥺 It never mattered to her that Seo Woo didn’t know that she was her biological mother so it touched my heart when the latter acknowledged Yu-ri as her mom. Yu-ri also thanks Mi-dong for everything and walks towards the next stage of her life with no regrets.


Epilogue

A series of picture frames document Seo Woo growing up through the years. Now as a young adult, she reads a book and takes out the family picture that she, Gang-hwa, and Yu-ri had taken the day they went to the amusement park. A voice belonging to Gang-hwa and Min Jeong calls out for Seo Woo as she fondly calls them her mom and dad. In between a path of cherry blossoms, the 3 of them happily walk side by side with each other.

Thoughts

How are your eyes?😭 Such a bittersweet but fitting Hi, Bye, Mama! ending where Yu-ri ultimately ascended to heaven, ready to embrace her afterlife. If I’d have it my way, I wanted her to live of course but it’s evident that the show wanted to convey the beauty in goodbyes. Yu-ri, or any other parent, would never be selfish enough to put their own kid at risk in exchange for even as something as precious as their own life — it’s this kind of love that resonated with Yu-ri from start to finish👩‍👧 I’m glad that she got to spend her last precious days surrounded by the people she cared for the most… although losing her again is painful, at least they got to express their proper farewells.

I can’t imagine what Gang-hwa had to endure knowing that he had to let Yu-ri go one more time. He had no choice but to try and accept it, but the good thing this time is that he received closure from Yu-ri. I think he and Min Jeong had to separate for a awhile before getting back together because he needed to heal by himself completely first. You don’t necessarily need a love life to get better, Gang-hwa could have raised Seo Woo by himself after Yu-ri left and still emerge a stronger person. I think he’ll always love Yu-ri and tried his best to honor her by truly moving on and as we see, he is able to overcome his loss of her😊

Before I wrap up, I felt like the storyline for the crematorium’s ghosts was rushed. The 3 women who were still around in the last episode suddenly accepted that they needed to go up without any explanation. After spending all of their energy being ghosts due to unfinished business with their respective families, it just didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, as long as they found the courage to trust that they’ll meet their loved ones again someday, all is good🙏🏻