Tag: thoughts

Unnie Life Lessons: Do’s and Dont’s to have Healthy Relationships by My Absolute Boyfriend

Love is such a complex and elaborate subject that can’t be explained in just one or two definitions. I’m no relationship expert but the conversations/advices that My Absolute Boyfriend conveyed seemed valid and objectively correct. I admit that I’m not a fan of this genre but watching this kdrama showed the good effects and learnings a transcendent kind of love can give✨

Even though I almost gave up finishing this because of my disappointment with how the story and characters progressed, I’m glad I pushed through and absolutely watched all 40 episodes.

Because I wanted to say so much more about My Absolute Boyfriend and interpret its ending, I wrote a separate post about it. Do check out the recap if you’re interested on what the final scene was and my thoughts on the human-robot love triangle! 🤖👨‍🦱

For a brief overview of this kdrama, check out my first impressions post!

Unnie Life Lessons

DON’T: Supress your feelings when you feel sad or upset. There’s only so much we can take as a human being and keeping sentiments bottled up is not good for the people involved. Trust that your partner will be able to understand what you feel.

  • This is a tricky set-up because the argument seems to favor no one: To the person complaining, they don’t want to come off like a whiner but they genuinely feel upset for having to put up with their loved one’s absence or shortcomings. To the person who is genuinely busy, they can feel unfairly judged because their reasons are valid and can be excused. BUT this is where Da Da got it wrong as she should have at least tried to tell Wang Joon how she felt even if it might lead to an argument.
  • We can say what we feel in a way that doesn’t come off like we’re looking for a fight. Tell them what and why you feel such emotions because keeping it bottled up only prolongs your agony. Regardless of how your partner reacts, don’t feel bad or think that your feelings are invalid. Talk it out, listen to each other, and react only when both of you have had time to really think about what has been said.

DO: Loving someone means looking out for their well-being and wanting what’s best for them even if that means you’re not always by their side or able to comfort them all the time. 

  • When you truly care about someone, isn’t it second nature for you to want to see them happy? I felt like this particular conversation between them was a foreshadowing of the future that if Da Da decides to dump him or if something goes wrong, he’ll be able to let her go because Da Da’s happiness is what matters most.

  • It’s a selfless kind of love that we can all aspire to but find hard to do because our natural instinct when we care for someone is to fight to keep them around. Prioritizing someone else’s needs can also be interpreted as you loving yourself as well — by letting go of someone you can’t keep, you are releasing yourself from the burden/pain you feel of seeing them get hurt by being with you.
  • Letting go, at least for me, can also mean not being too controlling or restricting to your loved ones. Let them have their space to pursue hobbies on their own, go on trips without you, or hang out with other people and still feel secure that your relationship won’t be affected by it. Trust that the connection you share is a different kind but is just as valid and significant like others.

  • The scene above is a testament that Want Joon has finally let Da Da go. Even if he admitted that he didn’t want their relationship to work out, the mere fact that he still helped them means that he values Da Da’s happiness more than his own. He may not have gotten Da Da back as a girlfriend in the end but he still has her as a friend — and that’s still a relationship worth cherishing.

DO: Acknowledging how you feel and owning up to it even if you don’t understand why you feel that way or uncertain of how other people might react. Being true to what you feel is a good thing because it means you are aware of what makes you happy.

  • I know I said that I’m not a fan of Da Da and Young Gu being together but her owning up to what she feels for him is a courageous confession of how he understood her feelings. I know I said in my recap post that she could just be fixated on the fact that Zero Nine gave her everything Wang Joon couldn’t anymore but if her character concluded it as romantic feelings, I can respect that.
  • We may not understand why we feel the way we feel, but we usually know how we feel in situations. We know we feel happy or uncomfortable, if we feel burdened or if we’re genuinely enjoying someone’s company — just like how Da Da felt being with Zero Nine even if it seems illogical because he is a robot. Not everything we feel is true though so take the time to sort out your emotions and don’t act out based on fleeting moments.

DON’T: Insist your own opinions and constantly barrage your loved ones with negative wisdom. You may be speaking the truth but don’t forget to be open-minded and give them a chance to explain their side. If it’s something you can learn to support, be there for them. If you really can’t, let your friend know respectfully. 

  • Da Da’s friend, Kyu Ri, kept convincing her that dating Zero Nine was absurd. To be fair, I would also be highly skeptical if my friend was dating a robot but once we air out our sentiments, we should also be open to hear our friend explain their side. 
  • We are individuals who make decisions and live our life the way we want to. We owe our loved ones the same respect and boundaries that we expect them to give to us as well. More than once, Kyu Ri lectured Da Da harshly and even set up a situation where Wang Joon and her could spend some alone time.

  • Kyu Ri was eventually able to accept their relationship as she saw Zero Nine’s genuine care for her. BUT even if she wasn’t able to support them after giving it a fair chance, it would still be okay. She shouldn’t force her opinions any longer though and respect Da Da’s decision. 
  • We may not understand or agree with everything our loved one say or do, because we are unique individuals, but it is possible to still maintain a good relationship with them. Sometimes, the best support is being honest enough to let them know that you have a different point of view, but that you can respect and not influence their minds to your favor.

DO: Stay together for the bad times. Every relationship will encounter problems and getting through these tough times will make a relationship stronger.

This has been one of my longest posts to date but I’m glad that I was able to share my thoughts on My Absolute Boyfriend’s life lessons. It may not have been the best kdrama but I still enjoyed it in my own way. Give it a try and who knows? You might appreciate it more than you think😊

Just like how love abounded with our main trio, I wish you the best in your relationships with your family, friends, and/or significant others. Be honest and talk about what you feel to each other, learn to compromise, and forgive one another. May we grow closer and our values become better each day we spend with our loved ones🌸

Unnie Recap: Interpreting My Absolute Boyfriend’s Ending

This is officially my 1st post about a (semi) recap for a kdrama that recently concluded: My Absolute Boyfriend. Well actually, it’s more of a rant because I was typing away too many thoughts and realized that I was deviating from the main point of another post😅 So I decided to dedicate a separate entry for this altogether. If you’re interested in watching this kdrama, check out my first impressions post to familiarize yourself with the story.

Maybe this is the future we’re looking at given the progress of AI and technology today but I’d still prefer a human being as a lifelong partner. Watching the first few episodes of My Absolute Boyfriend gave me hope that perhaps this kdrama would be different. Boy was I wrong😂

An Absolute Choice

Da Da realized that she was truly in love with Zero Nine despite Wang Joon’s best (and a little questionable) efforts, he only ended up being friends with Da Da. Ironically though, Zero Nine was having a meltdown since developing human emotions is too much for his metal state. He ran out of power holding onto the memories he shared with the people he learned to love. Our lead female was heartbroken but she continued to live her life the best way she can. Da Da’s special effects make-up company grew bigger and she and Wang Joon are good friends.

It’s not that the story itself wasn’t compelling or that the cast was bad, but the character development could have been better and the potential for deeper reflections on having a robot vs. human boyfriend could have been further explored. Da Da was just persistent that she liked Zero Nine but does she really like him or is it just convenient that he was able to give her the time and attention she never got from Wang Joon? I hated the fact that they didn’t prolong her struggle of choosing between Wang Joon and Zero Nine since she shared so much history with the former.

In defense of Zero Nine

I disagree with the notion that being with a robot is having perfect love. It is definitely not because of all the backlash and raised eyebrows if other people knew you were dating one but even if you got past that, what about the fact that you can’t raise a family or grow old together with a robot? I do appreciate the fact that Da Da probably thought of these issues and decided that she would be okay with having no kids or having an unaging husband while she grew older. They had their share of arguments like jealousy, missing out on plans, and even a looming break-up just like any normal relationship.

But…

Zero Nine is a love robot programmed to be the perfect boyfriend to its owner. It’s hard to see that his actions are genuinely sincere towards her because it’s his very essence to be a loyal, caring, and unselfish partner. Even if the show did feature an episode where he told his friend that he wanted to receive love from Da Da (which is not programmed in him), he always has her best interests at heart.

It makes me think that she is sticking with him until the end because getting hurt would be of less impact compared to a human. Zero Nine can’t really hurt Da Da because he is hotwired to be her perfect boyfriend.

An Annoying Female Lead

I’m not the biggest fan of Da Da’s character because even if Wang Joon broke up with her and their relationship ran its course, I was so frustrated that the kdrama only showed Wang Joon’s faults and how he was more exhausted of their secret relationship. They were together for 7 years but she agreed to end it too without putting up much of a fight. She didn’t even show half the amount of effort and persistence she had with Zero Nine to make their relationship work. Yes, she was neglected and put to the side by Wang Joon because of his acting career but he could have called her out on not saying anything and also feeling exhausted of all the secrecy.

A relationship takes 2 to tango and I wish that they showed Da Da’s share of mistakes in their relationship too. Instead she meets a person who fulfilled the very things she wanted in a relationship without giving her past a second thought.

An Absolute Ending?

My Absolute Boyfriend’s ending kind of left it open for interpretation (at least for me). In the last episode, Wang Joon visited Da Da to tell her that he had been cast in a hollywood movie and asked her to go with him as his make-up artist. She declined (of course, you foolish girl!) his offer and I thought that this was really the end… but a green umbrella was shown inside his car as he was ready to leave her home. The final scene showed Da Da running into someone holding a green umbrella and wearing a brown coat as she smiles at the person. I mean, WHAT?!

Logic tells me that it’s Zero Nine, who magically came back to power and reliving their iconic under the rain scene in the earlier episodes. But why even show Wang Joon having the same umbrella? I know it’s a pre-produced kdrama so there was no chance they could change the ending last minute but if I had to pick, the person standing before her is Wang Joon.

I know it makes little sense after building up the robot and girl but maybe it’s a message of hope that after losing a great love, you can find another one. Zero Nine did ask Wang Joon to take care of Da Da in his absence so this could be the manifestation of his last wish.

Wang Joon + Da Da Forever❤️

Wang Joon’s character was flawed and he showed it evidently when he publicly announced that he loved Da Da without her consent and tried to dissuade her from Zero Nine without trying to understand the situation from her perspective. But let’s be real, wouldn’t you flip out too if the person you love was dating a robot? But he showed his true colors with an honest heart and even helped her fix Zero Nine when he was malfunctioning. His love, like Zero Nine’s, became selfless and geared towards Da Da’s happiness. He reflected and learned to be a better person — an organic growth stemmed from making human mistakes.

If I could give an alternate ending/epilogue to My Absolute Boyfriend, it would be flash forward to a few years after Wang Joon has returned to Korea after becoming a top star overseas. He’ll go to the beach where he and Da Da took a trip to before. Coincidentally, Da Da will be there too. They’ll smile in recognition and walk towards each other as the scene zooms out to reveal an absolute, perfect sunset🌅

Unnie Thoughts: Trust the Timing of Your Life

There are instances in my life where I wanted something to happen at one point in time but it didn’t, so I accepted my fate that it just wasn’t meant to be. A few months or even a few years later, while having a random musing, I realized that what I wanted to happen in the past has actually happened now. Is it a coincidence, hard work, or ordained from above? Perhaps it’s a mixture of all 3 elements with a spark of magic. 

It’s funny when the realization hits me because we can get the things we want but it’s not always on the timing that we desire. I didn’t specifically ask for it to happen but somehow it did, and I always agree with the timing of when it happened. I believe though that such experiences, whether it’s getting your dream job, passing an important exam, or being able to buy cheap airfare tickets to go to your dream destination, will happen if it’s meant to happen for you. Not everything turns out the way we want them to (And that’s not a bad thing) — we could actually want something different from our initial desires, make mistakes, realize that taking an alternative isn’t so bad as we thought. As with the passage of time can instil life changing lessons that we never thought we could learn, perhaps letting things come to fruition on its own accord is the very thing we must embrace.

Lately I’ve been struggling with trying to do something, anything really, to achieve certain goals I have in my life at the moment. I don’t want to whine and complain about something that I haven’t even made any effort to achieve. It gets frustrating though because if I know that I’ve already exerted time and energy to achieve my goals but my desired outcome still hasn’t happened, then what does become of me then? Is it my fault for not doing enough, should I try harder?  

With this post, I just want to remind myself (and if you need some encouraging yourselves) that the things we want to happen may not occur immediately but it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Having moments of panic and getting scared is normal but don’t let it eat you alive. I tell myself that these times of uncertainty will come to pass too — we just can’t force it. I’m not saying to just do nothing, heck no, exert effort and do something to attain your desires and goals. Remember to be patient with yourself and the universe — if it takes time for us to accomplish what we want, then the forces of the universe must also need time to help us get where we want and need to be.

Friendships, new experiences, and unexpected discoveries can happen organically if we let it, maybe even when we least expect it. Don’t try to control an outcome and continue to live your life one day a time, well and fully. Trust that the timing of your life is already where it needs to be at each moment, growing and developing dynamically just like you. 

Unnie Recommends: A Love – Hate Relationship with One Spring Night (But mostly Love!)

Sometimes the most random encounters are those that make an impact in our lives. The memory stays with us longer than we expect and we wonder if such a casual event has more than what it initially offered. In “One Spring Night”, two strangers meet at a pharmacy and make a strong first impression on each other. Little by little, they find out that such a random meeting was a first of many more undiscovered connections they both share with each other.

Current Impression

Love: The story portrays men/women who are almost 30 years of age or above. Do you ever wonder if you’re living differently or similar to other people your age? The emotions, sentiments, and mindset you have — worries, goals, pleasure, are all valid.

Since we’re of similar age, I feel like it’s easier for me to relate and connect with such characters. With topics such as marriage, weighing responsibilities against having a personal life, and the opposite sex attraction but “I have issues” being explored, it feels good to see how others interpret such issues and that it’s okay not to give into the pressure.

Han Ji Min just recently concluded “The Light In your Eyes” kdrama and she’s still fantastic here portraying Jeong In, a librarian who is in a long relationship with her boyfriend (Ki Seok) but finds herself getting curious about the pharmacist she meets one day. It is immediately introduced that she has boyfriend whom she has been dating for awhile but they aren’t affectionate or seem that invested in each other. They update each other about their daily lives but it’s obvious that they both find a companion only in each other.

She is confident, opinionated, goes out for the occasional drink with her friend and seems like a good person. Her hesitation about getting married to her boyfriend I think has more to do with her unsure feelings for him and not about her random encounter at a pharmacy.

It’s normal for us to feel attracted to other men sometimes even when we’re in a relationship and to feel excited about imagining things. We are merely human beings who possess a myriad of emotions that vary from time to time, may it be pure intentions or clouded with malice. But…

Hate: Curiosity gets the best of us and even if we think that it’s harmless, our personal intentions and feelings are not always the best judge of action. The line between what’s right and wrong are blurred easily.

Jeong In meets Yoo Ji Ho, the friendly pharmacist who even if she didn’t have any money to pay for the hangover medicine she bought, was kind enough to let her go for the meantime and pay him back another time. Their next encounters are filled with awkward tension but you get a sense of attraction between them.

Ji Ho is a quiet and simple man who is a single dad, he lives separately from his family and kid so he could live closer to work. He tells Jeong In this fact immediately, perhaps to get it over with and see how she’ll react, but she is not deterred from this. Their world is smaller than they thought as it turns out, Ji Ho plays basketball with Ki Seok (Jeong In’s boyfriend) and they even have dinner together with the whole team one night.

It is Jeong In who initiates to Ji Ho that they become friends. We all know that this is just poking the beast, stirring the pot, and may all the other metaphors of giving in to temptation be applied. When he mentioned how her boyfriend would react, she told him that she wants to be respected and that he shouldn’t assume or worry about things she hasn’t mentioned. Oh come on! That’s like giving a signal to Ji Ho that something can happen between them and she’s willing to explore a possibility of a “relationship” with him. They can’t be just friends, not when you just met someone whom you’re clearly attracted to. If we’re hurting someone, unintentionally but still we do something towards that end, it’s just wrong. But with that said,

Love: Real life is messy and unpredictable. It’s nice to know that other people (even TV characters) go through the same ordeals as we do.

It seems too early to say on what will happen to our leading duo, given that only 4 episodes (1 episode is split into 2 intervals) have been shown. I love that One Spring Night holds many possibilities, whether they eventually become a couple, will Jeong In’s family approve, or how Jeong In deals with Ji Ho’s son are chapters reminiscent of what we, everyday people, can or have already experienced.

One Spring Night is a melodrama romance where conversations are emphasized and purposeful while background music hits when characters are walking, running, or thinking their time away. Although I feel like some might find the show’s muted tones and slow paced scenes boring, who knows? You might learn to love (and hate) this kdrama more than you think😙

Unnie Life Lessons: 4 Ways to Laugh and Live a Good, Mistake Filled Life from Welcome to Waikiki 2

Welcome to Waikiki 2 is fully booked and had a good run but it seems like the gang will be forever entangled with money problems, career struggles, and making mistakes. The show ended with everyone still trying to find success but the promise of them being all together for the ride is the heart of this show.

Honestly though the 1st season was perfect as the kdrama wrapped up each character’s story beautifully. Although there were open ended arcs and a few more details we could have been fed, there was no pressing curiosity that needed to be further explored. Welcome to Waikiki 2 wasn’t as good as the first one and I felt like they recycled some of the plot devices used previously as well. I felt that the last episode was rushed although kdramas naturally have a 16 episode run, this one felt premature.

Welcome to Waikiki 2 did a good job though like the first season in featuring the 6 characters lives individually and as a group. You get to know little by little who each person is and get to know their highs and woes equally. But if I have to be critical, the characters of Jung Eun and Soo Yeon weren’t really explored. I felt that the show focused Jung Eun liking Jun Ki only and although it showed that she was a good friend to him, her own character didn’t shine through. Soo Yeon had more emotions to show because of her father’s bankruptcy and romance with Woo Shik but she always had a doe eyed look and bland personality. But all in all, every chatacter got a chance to be seen and heard enough to support them in whatever emdeavor they embarked on.

It’s up to our imaginations to think of what kind of future life has in store for our beloved gang. For a brief overview of the show, please read my previous post to catch up.

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Pursuing something you love and having a hard time is worth the effort and hardships. At the end of the day, at least you know that you’re working towards a dream/goal that you truly are passionate about.

  • Jun Ki was telling Jung Eun that auditioning for minor roles and not knowing whether he’ll get the part is exhausting but he would rather keep trying than doing something else that he doesn’t love. Not everyone is lucky to do something they love for work or even just a hobby because of financial or physical hindrances. His character in this kdrama has always been sure of his love for acting, optimistic, and can endure humiliating and low key roles that it makes one root for him to succeed even more (Although he had already found success in the 1st season as he portrayed an important character in a kdrama but for story purposes, he’s still struggling in season 2).

  • Knowing what you want and actually taking action for it is admirable in itself as any endeavour takes sacrifice and money. There’s the added pressure of time too because as we grow older, it’s natural that we fear to take on more risks especially if our decisions can affect the lives of others. This may not be realistically probable for everyone but know that doing something you love, even if others may look down on you or disapprove, is okay 🙂
  • You don’t need to have everything figured out because it takes time to sort out what you really want to do. If you’re someone who is pursuing something they really want to do but is having a tough time, don’t give up as your conviction for following your dreams will yield good results. For those who are working hard for a job that they don’t necessarily like (but have to) and have other interests, find the time to do it on your spare time. You never know what could happen if you allot even a few hours of your day doing something you love.

2. The famous quote in the movie Forrest Gump goes:

My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You’ll never know what you’re gonna get.

  • Ki Bong was let go in his baseball team because his shoulder injury had recurred again. He became obsessed with a box of chocolates that tasted so delicious to divert his attention elsewhere. Yu Ri told him that life isn’t comprised of good moments only but that there will be sad and bitter events too.
  • Each day is a surprise and we won’t know the wonderful things or struggles that will occur — if it happens, then it happens. I just felt bad for Ki Bong because he loved playing baseball ever since he was a kid so it is extremely difficult for him to go through this. Regardless though of how hard or manageable our life can get, we must pick ourselves up and not avoid the difficult times. A sweet chocolate will pop out soon enough.

3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you can forgive others or vice versa, have the courage to forgive yourself too and start over.

  • In the middle of this season, Jun Ki felt ashamed and guilty for accepting a role that his hoobae (Junior colleague) helped him get. He was berated by the fact that being righteous won’t get him far as an actor and using connections to get a role is no big deal. When Jun Ki saw the actual actor who auditioned & got the role before him beg the director for another chance, he decided to quit acting for good.
  • Jung Eun helped Jun Ki ask that same actor for forgiveness and in turn, he was able to cheer up and forgive himself too. We are often harder on ourselves than anyone else because we build certain expectations on ourselves or carry the blame of knowing we did something wrong to heart. Admitting our mistakes & accepting that fact to move forward should go hand in hand.

  • We are imperfect human beings. This is not an excuse to just give up and not try at all, it’s just that we can breathe a little easier knowing that when something we work hard for doesn’t work out, we don’t have to blame ourselves severely. We can get a fresh start, improve, and have a burden-free state of mind.

4. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, we will always make mistakes and have bad days. We can’t let the thought of failing stop us from living or taking chances to improve our lives.

  • Welcome to Waikiki 2 has no shortage when it comes to financial and career problems. Even in season 1, the balance in trying to run the guest house while pursuing their individual goals and getting into relationships showcased a realistic slice of life problem. But time and time again, the gang was able to continue with the flow of their lives and found reasons to smile despite their dilemmas.

  • We musn’t forget that we can seek comfort and advice from our family and friends when things get too tough for us to handle alone. Ki Bong helped Yu Ri open a food truck business, Soo Yeon got a chance to be a reporter with Jun Ki’s help, and Jung Eun was encouraged by Jun Ki to not quit acting altogether.

  • Living in this day and age will never be a smooth sailing journey but we can always bounce back from our hardships and move forward. We have to at least try and do something as to have no regrets.

As the guesthouse closes for a 2nd time around, I’m happy I got to watch this chapter filled with new tenants. If the Welcome to Waikiki series has proven anything, making mistakes is okay — learn from the experience and live to fight another day. In the immortal words of Jun Ki, “Kenchana, kenchana!” (It’s okay, it’s okay) 😊

Unnie Thoughts: Don’t be afraid to live your best, hard earned life

Unnie Thoughts: Don’t be afraid to live your best, hard earned life

This 2019, I found myself enjoying reading self-help books more than novels. Each page tells a story on how to approach life with a wisdom that we secretly know but never get to fully apply in our lives. Mental health has become a growing concern in today’s society and getting advice or having someone tell you what you can do to survive is helpful. Whether or not we follow the advice is up to us but having someone narrate steps or explain the process is reassuring that I’m not the only one going through something alone.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the books I’ve read, it’s that it’s okay to enjoy your life. Don’t feel bad for living your best life — there’s nothing wrong in being content and happy with your everyday. But why is it so hard to feel this way sometimes? Because while we get to work a stable job, have a good family to come home to, travel once in awhile.. others are suffering. There’s this guilt that eats us up for being able to enjoy while even other people around us are struggling. Or we tend to look at the lives of other people and go down the rabbit hole of jealousy & insecurity, we stop & rethink if we are indeed living the best life we can have.

But it’s not their fault that they live that way. Nor is it ours that we have a different life. We can make assumptions and think that the grass is greener on the other side but do we really know the hard work and sacrifices that went into the grass to become healthy and full of life? Let’s not feel bad about our choices & lifestyle and learn to embrace that what we currently (and can) have is enjoyment in its purest form already.

Here’s the thing though: Enjoying life’s fruits doesn’t mean it’s an easy breezy experience. Earning money takes hard work, exercising is a chore, and travelling means waking up early and doing a lot of walking to soak in the sights (Except for staycations, depends on your IT) and requires money to spend. Maintaining friendships and having good relations with your parents/siblings develops over time. A good life means working through problems and exerting thought & effort to live a balanced lifestyle. There’s no shortcuts and as we experience the opposite of anything easy, the lessons and hardships will make us wiser and improve our lives. If we allow it, and we should.

I’m slowly trying to unlearn the notion of guilt and stripping away the care and attention I give to jealousy. When I look at other people’s social media feeds or hear their success stories, I admit that the emotions can bubble up and eat me alive. But I always remind myself that what others have that I don’t does not make me weaker. Get rid of entitlement and own up to your strengths. Don’t we downplay our lives when other people compliment it? The same rule applies when we admire others for theirs — let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt.

To be confident and know that despite what other people say, you can still do your own thing, is hard. Don’t be afraid to be happy and live with a smile on your face because that smile can come from many different (easy & difficult) experiences. This entry doesn’t mean that I’m well on my way to achieving true happiness without falter but I’m hoping that these words will remind me that I’m doing okay. I’m not miserable and I want to start fully enjoying my life without any buts😊

Unnie Life Lessons: Learnings from Romance is a Bonus Book

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” — this is the best way to describe Romance is a Bonus Book as a korean drama. I initially thought I wouldn’t like it and will just watch it because of Lee Jong Suk but as each episode progressed, it was impossible for me to stop watching this show. Honestly, I think it was because the first few episodes were brutal and it showed how miserable our main female lead, Kang Dan Yi, was trying to get her life back together. I’m glad that I stuck it out until the very end and watched my way to a happy yet believable ending.

I loved writing and reading books ever since I was a kid so this kdrama opened my eyes more to the world of publishing and criticism. It’s not easy creating content that other people will find interesting as you do or have your thoughts published for everyone to read, but seeing the process and effort that go into this industry is admirable. I loved seeing how the people at Gyeoroo Publishing (the publishing company where our characters work at) made the collective effort in marketing, editing, and designing a book — it solidifies my appreciation that I’d still buy and read a physical book rather than an e-book.

Before I delve into my realizations for this kdrama, I just have to air out my love hate relationship with Dan Yi. The main reason why I thought I wouldn’t love Romance is a Bonus Book is because of her! I love that she doesn’t give up easily even when the challenges are stacked against her, but her attitude in asking for help sucks. She needed a place to sleep, food to eat, the basic necessities to live — she sneaked around in Eun Ho’s house to do all that and I get that there was a comedic approach to it, but when Eun Ho finally caught her, she wasn’t even apologetic. It’s like she feels entitled to have ate and lived at his house because of her homeless situation. Why couldn’t she have just expressed her thankfulness instead? She’s a little rough around the edges, but that could be because of what she’s been through (Divorced, being a devoted housewife/mom who forgot to take care of herself in the process, no luck in finding a job for more than a year already), but why take it out on your best and only friend? I appreciate the fact that even though she’s 37 years old here, she’s still eager to try and work hard especially with her job. She didn’t conform to what was only asked of her (Clerical work), but she wanted to learn or rather, re-learn, an industry that she was good at before (She was an advertising executive before she quit work). I know I’d become cranky and moody when I put myself in her shoes but I wouldn’t direct it towards my closest friends if ever.

On the bright side, her character does get better and waaay more tolerable as her experience in going to work again peeled Dan Yi’s protective layers one by one to reveal her true, forgotten self. A kind, loyal, and brave woman who can admit to her mistakes, be compassionate, and fight for a good life that she deserves.

For a brief summary of this show, please check out my previous post to catch up! 🙂

Unnie Life Lessons

1. We get cold feet or wonder if we actually get the very thing we want, would we actually live up to the expectations that such an opportunity entails? As long as we do our best and make an effort, everything will be okay. The end result doesn’t matter as much as the experience we get from taking risks/chances.

  • I can relate to this sentiment.. feeling ecstatic that I got something that I truly wanted (Ex. A job) but suddenly feeling scared because I might screw up such an opportunity because I lack in many ways. I agree with Dan Yi that if we decide to take a step forward, we’ll somehow find the strength to continue and enjoy the very thing we we’re afraid of in the first place. We can still be scared at times or go through challenges but we’ll find a way to deal with such matters because we already took the leap.
  • We can’t just sit around and do nothing with our life because we’re afraid of failing or making mistakes. We have to try, in any way, to achieve our goals and dreams even if it means facing some rejections and setbacks. It’s scary, believe me I know, but we can’t let these fears intimidate us from working hard and making an effort 🙂

2. What we feel towards a particular person or experience years ago, months, or even yesterday can change. We see them in a new light because we have changed internally.

  • Dan Yi was telling Seo Jun (the 1/3 of the love triangle) about her feelings for Eun Ho thru a metaphor. She thought that she had him all figured out but lately, she realizes that the book she’s known and cherished for so long (Eun Ho) suddenly had new lines (Her noticing his romantic feelings & she realizing she has those feelings too) that she never read before. This is such a nice way to represent how people’s sentiments can change overtime even on something familiar.
  • Just like a past book that we reread years or even just a few months later, the words can impart a new & different meaning because we ourselves have changed. Change meaning we’ve been through more experiences and our opinions can differ from before and what we once felt for something can become the opposite. We feel upset or troubled because of a break-up, job rejection, or a family conflict at one point in time but when we go thru these again, it might not be as hard as the 1st time we experienced them. Or we find something uncomfortable that we didn’t want to do, even as simple as eating veggies (hee), enjoyable now.

The change of heart comes from within ourselves because our priorities have shifted. The reason could stem from external factors (People and experience). It means that our feelings have matured and this is not a bad thing — it just shows that we have a better grasp of what we truly desire in life. It’s okay to be a little apprehensive or cautious but don’t be afraid to embrace change if it feels right.


I learned a lot from Romance is a Bonus Book but the 2 main ones above are all I can list down. The rest is a general appreciation for a korean drama where we can find ourselves as the main character insomeone who is lost and desperate but can still find success and happiness with the help of our loved ones and determination to keep moving forward.

What started as a rough and tough few chapters ended up with the most beautiful pages a book can ever have. Dan Yi and Eun Ho were able to heal themselves with each other’s help and both were able to admit their long time buried feelings for each other. I thought their chemistry wouldn’t work but the support and mutual respect they have for each other proved that their relationship is indeed meant to be.

As we savour the last few sentences of Romance is a Bonus Book, I take a breath of relief and smile at the way the show ended. The middle up until the last few pages was much lighter and you’d get the feeling that despite a few more hiccups in our protagonists lives, they would be able to recover faster and better this time around. Even when we put a good book on a shelf because we have finished reading it, the fact that we can always take it out and revisit the story anytime is reassuring.