Just in Time for Summer: 15 More “Must-Watch” Korean Movies

*Must-Watch Korean Movies, Must-Watch Korean Dramas, &More*

It’s almost summer, and that means it’s the perfect time to beat the heat and stay inside with a good movie– and some popcorn!

With that said, this is my third Korean movie list, and it’s even better than before. From more of my favorite Korean independent films to some action-packed Korean block busters to a few Korean romantic comedies and even some creepy, cult Korean classics, this list has something for everyone whether you’re new to Korean movies… or not.

After all, you may have already gone through my first and second must-watch Korean movie lists and been (patiently) waiting for another one!

^^

1. Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday~

Maundy Thursday~

A woman visits prisoners on death row every Thursday; and, one day she falls in love with a man who has been sentenced to death in what becomes a classic Korean melodrama.

(This is one of the first Korean movies that I watched, and because of it I quickly learned to have a box of tissue nearby!)

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Youtube!

2. My Dear Enemy

My Dear Enemy~

My Dear Enemy~

What do you do when your ex-boyfriend owes you money? You hunt him down and force him to pay you back. In what becomes a haunting, unforgettable road trip down some of South Korea’s darkest alleys, you’ll find yourself taking a trip down memory lane right along with the two characters.

And, where they finally end up is unexpected– and unbelievably heartwarming.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Amazon!

3. Thirst

Thirst~

A priest turned vampire falls in love with a psychotic, obsessive woman in this black comedy.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Amazon!

4. Spellbound

Spellbound~

Spellbound~

Falling in love with a lonely woman who sees ghosts has never been so scary sweet in this Korean romantic comedy.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Hulu!

5. Boys of Tomorrow

Boys of Tomorrow~

Boys of Tomorrow~

Two brothers grew up on the wrong side of town, but which one of them will make it out even if things are never made right?

(This coming of age story starring Yoo Ah In was the first Korean independent film that I watched, and after watching it you’ll know why I was hooked!)

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Veoh!

6. Mother is A Whore

Mother Is A Whore~

Mother is A Whore~

This is another extremely disturbing Korean movie about a boy born with AIDS because his mother is a whore; however, the story takes place when he’s already much older.

It’s also difficult to find, so here’s the trailer– with English subs, if you’re ready to find out what this independent film that holds nothing back when it comes to forced incest, brutal rape, and subtle attacks on religion is all about:

7. Rough Cut

Rough Cut~

Rough Cut~

Is a movie really just a movie? An actor hires a thug to film an action movie when his costar drops out, but slowly the lines between fact and fiction become blurred.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Viki!

8. Poongsan

Poongsan~

In this political satire, a messenger crosses the border between North and South Korea to bring separated families back together and falls in love along the way– but don’t expect a happy ending here.

Watch HERE, subbed, on Amazon!

9. A Frozen Flower

File:A Frozen Flower film poster.jpg

A Frozen Flower~

A King falls in love with one of the palace guards, but his love turns into an obsession that plunges them both into madness and despair.

Warning: If you don’t like to see men kissing (or doing more than that), then this movie MIGHT not be for you. However, I believe that love is love, and this IS a love story– it just happens to be between two men.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Youtube!

10. The Good, The Bad, The Weird

The Good, The Bad, The Weird~

Some of Korea’s top actors– Jung Woo Sung, Lee Byung Hun, and Song Kang Ho, got together for this action-packed, East-meets-West western.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Amazon!

11. Psychics, or Haunters

Haunters~

Haunters~

This action-packed blockbuster starring Kang Dong Won and Go Soo is full of super powers, friends, and the birth of both a hero and a villain, but who will win in the end?

(Best use of super powers and foreigners in a Korean film!)

Watch HERE, unsubbed, on Youtube!

12. The Thieves

The Thieves~

Yes! This is the Korean version of Ocean’s 11. It’s also the film where Kim Soo Hyun and Jeon Ji Hyun first met and garnered attention for their amazing on-screen chemistry.

However, it’s really just a love story in the end– a story about making wrongs right, even after a long time.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Dailymotion!

13. Penny Pinchers

Penny Pinchers~

This is the best Korean romantic comedy that I have ever seen. It’s not tedious or confusing. It’s fast, fun, and surprisingly heartwarming and touching.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Dailymotion!

14. Always Only You

Always Only You~

Always Only You~

This is a romantic melodrama starring So Ji Sub. He plays a boxer who falls in love with a woman who is blind; and, because of her he suddenly starts to see the world in a different light.

(So Ji Sub at his FINEST!)

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Youtube!

15. Beautiful

Beautiful~

Horror stories are perfect for summer, and this is one Korea movie that’s part horror, part satire as one beautiful woman slowly comes undone.

Watch the trailer below, and try to find download links online:

As for me, it’s officially summer– for forever!

To celebrate summer and graduating again– this time with my doctorate in law, I started out by watching an independent Korean film, Penny Pinchers, starring Song Joong Ki

And, I somehow ended up going on a gigantic movie-watching spree featuring Christian Bale. By now, I’ve watched almost all of his movies. Ryan Gosling is next– along with a few Japanese movies!

P.S.: I updated both of my must-watch Korean movie lists with new links where needed, so be sure to check them out even if you already have before!

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Feeding Your KDrama Addiction: 7 Supernatural Romances

*The “Feeding Your KDrama Addiction” Series*

Last Monday I fed your KDrama addiction for noona romances, and this week– as promised, I’ll feed your KDrama addiction for supernatural romances.

So, without further ado, here they are!

Supernatural Romances

1. Soulmate (2006)

Soulmate~

Soulmate~

Telepathy!

She’s engaged to someone else, but from the moment he sees her he not only falls in love with her– he also reads her mind. With a cast and story that’s fun, sexy, and down to earth, this KDrama is sure to leave you feeling satisfied.

2. Who Are You? (2008)

Who Are You?~

Who Are You?~

Body swapping!

When a loving father is hit by a grumpy and mean (but good-looking) CEO, he goes into a coma. However, he is able to borrow the CEO’s body for three hours a day to visit the people he loves, including his daughter.

3. Secret Garden (2010)

Secret Garden~

Secret Garden~

Body swapping!

When a rich chaebol and poor stunt woman drink a magic potion, they wake up in one another’s bodies and slowly learn more about one another’s heart.

(From the writer of A Gentleman’s Dignity and Heirs!)

4. I Love Lee Tae Ri (2012)

I Love Lee Tae Ri~

Growing up overnight!

A little boy grows up overnight to protect the woman he loves!

5. I Hear Your Voice (2013)

I Hear Your Voice~

I Hear Your Voice~

Telepathy!

A boy searching for the girl who saved his life finally meets her years later, and he can read her mind (and everyone else’s), which comes in handy when the criminal who killed his father makes a comeback and targets the woman the little girl has become.

6. Master’s Sun (2013)

Master's Sun

Master’s Sun

Ghosts!

She sees ghosts, but when she touches him, they disappear. He just happens to be a (good-looking) chaebol and CEO with a bad temper that also disappears the longer she stays around.

7. My Love From The Star (2014)

My Love From The Star~

Aliens!

Falling in love with a 400 year old alien with awesome super powers? Well, not a problem for a Hallyu star who finds herself in deep trouble after being accused of murder.

… Okay, you want more?!

Bonus KDrama: Big (2012)

Gong Yoo of Big~

Gong Yoo of Big~

Growing up overnight!

This was an awful drama, but you should watch it anyway because Gong Yoo looks amazing and does manage to carry the show with his serious acting and adorable shenanigans despite the awful script.

You can find out where to watch all of these dramas and more HERE.

P.S.: After reading this KDrama list, you might want to start looking for a few aliens, or little boys in big men’s bodies– but, that might NOT be legal!

>.<

Well, you’ve been warned!

And, stay tuned, because Feeding Your KDrama Addiction: 7 Sageuks, or historical dramas, is coming soon.

My Favorite Korean Boys: CNBLUE, EXO, &BTS

*The “My Favorite Korean Boys” Series*

I’m not a huge fan of Kpop (anymore), but I still have my favorite Korean boys who happen to be Korean idols– rockers, singers, and rappers along with a few dancers to be more exact. So, here some more of my favorite Korean boys from CNBLUE to EXO to BTS!

CNBLUE

CNBLUE~

CNBLUE~

I LOVE CNBLUE. I love the way they look, I love the way they play together, and I also love their songs. Yong Hwa already made the list of My Favorite Busan Boys, but little did I know that his dreamy, drop dead gorgeous member Lee Jong Hyun was also from Busan!

Then

This was the first time that I saw and heard CNBLUE– when they made their debut all the way back in 2009 with the hit song “Loner.”

Now

This is where they are now– with the hit song “Can’t Stop,” looking better than ever, of course!

EXO

EXO~

EXO~

I REALLY love EXO, and I can’t believe how many other girls do, too. My favorite members are all Chinese, but they’re still Korean idols, right?

Then

I first saw them after they had already made their debut and made their comeback with “Wolf,” which is still one of my favorite Kpop songs!

Now

This is the teaser for their new and even more amazing song, Overdose!

BTS

BTS~

BTS~

Last but definitely not least, BTS! These are my boys. Two of the members also made the Busan Boy list: Jimin and Jung Kook!

Then

I first saw and heard BTS when they made their debut last year! “No More Dream” was super cheesy but also super cute (and a little sexy), and after listening to their songs like “School Tears” I fell in love with their originality, rhythm, and genuine Korean soul.

Now 

They just made their comeback, Skool Luv Affair. The album (along with EXO’s Overdose) is on its way, but these are my favorite tracks so far.

So, who are some of your favorite Korean boy (bands)?

I also like DBSK– my first Kpop love, but they broke up…

>.<

A Witch’s Romance: Incredible, Only-on-Cable-TV Kisses from Episodes One and Two

When noona romances met cable TV, sparks flew, and we were soon rewarded with incredible make-out sessions and hook-ups kisses. So, here are the incredible, only-on-cable-TV kisses from A Witch’s Romance!

Episode One

What do you do when the woman you love (to hate) is suddenly stranded on stage at a club full of people after being rejected by someone who was only pretending to be interested in her?

Well, you rescue her with a kiss, that’s what!

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Three~

Three~

Four~

Four~

Five~

Five~

Six~

Six~

Seven~

Seven~

Eight~

Eight~

Episode Two

And, what do you do when the woman you love (and are starting to hate a little less) is drinking alone?

You make sure she gets home safely, that’s what!

And, if you end up in bed together, then…

(Don’t worry, you don’t need to speak Korean to understand this scene! Their body language speaks for itself.)

What was your favorite kiss from the first two episodes of A Witch’s Romance?

Mine was definitely the bunch of kisses that happened while they were in bed!^^

Feeding Your KDrama Addiction: 9 Noona Romances

*The “Feeding Your KDrama Addiction” Series*

You have your own KDrama addiction, so enough about what I like. Here’s what YOU need– more of your favorite KDramas! After all, we’ve all had those moments when one drama ends… and we immediately want to watch another one just like it.

So, every Monday for the next month or two (or three), I’ll go through my long list of KDramas (that I’ve watched AND finished); and, I’ll do my best to feed your KDrama addiction by letting you know about KDramas that are like the ones you’ve already watched– from noona romances to supernatural romances to school romances and more.

So, let’s start Feeding Your KDrama Addiction!^^

Noona Romances

I’ve talked about my must-watch noona romances and even why I think my life is like one already, but enough about me! Here are all the noona romances that I’ve watched– along with a few that I haven’t so you can start feeding your own KDrama addiction.

1. A Second Proposal (2004)

A Second Proposal~

A Second Proposal~

Oh Yun Soo and Oh Ji Oh star in this drama about a divorced woman who works hard to get her children back from her asshole husband and along the way gets a second chance at love with the (much younger) boy next door.

2. Biscuit Teacher &Star Candy (2005)

Biscuit Teacher &Star Candy~

Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo Jin star in this drama about a teacher who falls in love with her disobedient but dangerously sexy student.

3. Dal Ja’s Spring (2007)

Dal Ja's Spring~

Dal Ja’s Spring~

Chae Rim and Lee Min Ki star in this drama about a working woman and her romance with an older man and younger boy.

4. Oh! My Lady (2010)

Oh! My Lady~

Chae Rim and Choi Si Won star in this unexpectedly cute and heartwarming drama about a divorced woman who works as a housekeeper-turned-nanny for a top star and his illegitimate daughter.

5. I Do, I Do (2012)

I do, I Do~

I do, I Do~

Kim Sun Ah and Lee Jang Woo star in this drama about an older, workaholic woman and a younger, puppy dog (virgin) boy– and what happens after their really awesome really awkward one night stand.

6. I Hear Your Voice (2013)

ihyv

I Hear Your Voice~

Park Bo Young and Lee Jong Suk star in this drama about a girl who witnesses a murder and the boy who is saved (but forever changed– think head injury and telepathy) because of her. When they meet again years later, she’s changed, but he helps her become the courageous girl that she used to be.

7. Let’s Eat (2013)

Let's Eat!~

Let’s Eat~

Lee Soo Kyung and Yoon Doo Joon of the Kpop idol group Beast star in this fun, simple, down to earth drama about a divorced woman living alone and her nosy neighbors living next door.

8. Secret Love Affair (2014)

Secret Love Affair~

Secret Love Affair~

Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In star in this sexy but subtle drama about a married woman and the piano prodigy of her dreams; only, he’s all too real.

(See more of their photo shoot for Elle Korea and read more about their off-screen chemistry HERE!)

9. Witch’s Romance (2014)

Witch's Romance~

Witch’s Romance~

Uhm Jung Hwa and Park Seo Joon star in this drama about another workaholic woman and the boy who finally sweeps her off of her feet.

Wait, what?! You want even more noona romances?

Okay, then take your pick from these ones that I haven’t watched (or just haven’t finished) yet: What’s Up Fox, My Sweet Seoul, I Need Romance 3, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Personal Taste, Faith, Who Are You?, When A Man Loves, and Kang Goo’s Story!

(You can find out where to watch all of these dramas and more HERE.)

And, I know you loved Secret Garden– even though I definitely didn’t. So, stay tuned for 7 Supernatural Romances. Yes, I’m going to keep feeding your KDrama addiction!

P.S.: Don’t worry– this addiction is perfectly legal, although it does come with common side effects such as loss of sleep, squeals, and sudden bursts into tears. It may also take away from your productivity– and ability to date boys and men in real life…

Well, you’ve been warned!

>.<

The Traveling Kimchi

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Before The Traveling Kimchi was The Traveling Kimchi, she was just a girl named Jessica that I met in my first Korean class back in 2011. Little did I know that she would become a great friend AND fellow blogger years later.

We met again in 2013– when I went to Korea last winter. We had an amazing time at my favorite bar– Bunker, my last night there.

Recently, I found out that she’s been blogging about her adventures in South Korea, too, so I knew that I had to introduce her to you and share her adventures with you, too!^^

The Traveling Kimchi

The Traveling Kimchi~

Jessica~

“Who is the Traveling Kimchi?”

“Why, she’s a tiny half Korean-Irish American currently living in Seoul, South Korea! After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin the Traveling Kimchi decided it was time to explore her roots! Since her arrival in 2012 she has been blogging about her experiences not only in Korea but all of her adventures abroad. She hopes you will enjoy traveling along with her and are inspired to pick up your own passport and see a culture and world beyond your own.”

– From The Traveling Kimchi’s Facebook Page

In addition, The Traveling Kimchi and westerngirleasternboy might be two very different blogs by two very different people, but we share the same exact mission:

“… to encourage thinking openly, meeting new people, having lifetime experiences, and traveling abroad.”

The Traveling Kimchi is on Youtube, and I wanted to share this cover she did with you all since it IS Sunday morning!

By now, we probably all need a little pick me up before the week starts, so here it is:

She has a lot of other great videos on everything from her adventures in Korea and Thailand to her favorite beauty products to what to do BEFORE you come to Korea, so be sure to check them out!

Sunday morning…

For some of us, “rain is falling.”

For some of us, it’s Easter, and we’re with our families– celebrating what should be a day that is less about hunting for eggs and more about hunting for something else.

For some of us, though, it’s just another Sunday– the Sunday before our last week of school… ever.

(That would be me!)

So, I’ll be watching Korean dramas and trying to write and edit my final papers! My last year of law school is coming to a close, and I can’t wait to start working, traveling, and living. I might even get to see The Traveling Kimchi again sooner than either of us thought…

The Traveling Kimchi, take me with you!~

The Traveling Kimchi, please take me with you!~

KDramas: Where To Watch?

*The “Feeding Your KDrama Addiction” Series*

This blog post will introduce my new series: Feeding Your KDrama Addiction! Because, before I let you know what to watch, I have to let you know where to watch, right?

To be honest, these days there are SO many places to watch KDramas. So, today I’m just going to talk about the best places to watch them online, which is what I do since I don’t have (and don’t want) a TV.

^^~

Amen!~

KDrama.com

(KDrama.com)

This is a new site that I discovered today through Crunchyroll, which came in second place on this list.

Ads: Choose minimal ads, or choose no ads with a free 60 day premium trial and $6.95/mo subscription after the trial ends.

Video and Subtitle Quality: Every video is in HD quality– it’s the only option. Now they’re offering 1080p(!), 720p, 576p, 480p, and 360p. There’s NO buffering, and best of all the English subtitles are the highest quality out there. No more scratching your head in confusion after reading these translations!

Selection: Unfortunately, they’re the new kids on the block, so they don’t have as wide of a selection of KDramas as other sites. Okay, the selection is GREAT, and it’s growing everyday! Perfect, especially if you want to watch dramas that are airing this year, and I will be watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal on it soon.

(Another Yoo Ah In KDrama!)

Crunchyroll.com

(Crunchyroll.com)

I watch all of my anime on Crunchyroll– yes, I love All Things Asian. Lately, I’ve noticed that they’ve expanded their KDrama section as well, which is great!

Ads: Choose minimal ads, or choose no ads with a free two week premium trial and $6.95/month subscription after the trial ends.

Video and Subtitle Quality: With premium membership, you get access to watch your videos in 720P. Otherwise, watch in 420P or SD. The subtitles are also high quality, and again– no buffering.

Selection: The selection here is similar to that on KDrama.com– minus all the new releases. If you don’t watch anime, then just subscribe to KDrama.com.

Viki.com

(Viki.com)

I love Viki.com, but lately I’ve been having problems with their video and subtitle quality, but the selection is still great.

Ads: Choose frequent ads, or choose no ads with the Viki pass7 day free trial, $3.99/month.

Video and Subtitle Quality: Sure, there’s great quality, but as soon as I go up to 720P the buffering begins… and doesn’t stop. Watching in 420P is fine, but then again the actual video quality can be bad. The videos themselves are just lower quality for some reason.

Nevertheless, the subtitles can be spot-on… sometimes. It all depends on the volunteer translators.

Selection: GREAT selection.

(Thanks for subbing Secret Love Affair!)

Dramafever.com

(Dramafever.com)

Why is Dramafever.com last (but definitely NOT least)? Well, I have problems with the video player and occasionally, the subtitle quality.

Ads: Choose SUPER frequent ads, or choose no ads with premium membership– 7 day free trial, $9.99/month.

Video and Subtitle Quality: The videos are in HD… I think? The little HD button is confusing. I can’t tell when it’s on or off, or if it’s even working. A lot of buffering, but not as much as before. The subtitle quality is good but not great sometimes.

If you prefer to watch with Spanish or Portuguese subtitles, then it is a great option for you!

Selection: BEST selection, which is probably why the membership price is so high. They even have Korean variety shows, Korean movies, and more from all around the world.

(Viki.com also has an incredible selection of shows from around the world, though.)

So, where do you watch your KDramas?

I also like watching on Netflix (TV) when I go home– when it’s NOT buffering like crazy because our internet is slow…

>.<

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

*Short Stories*

(He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is a collection of three short stories. My First Love Was Not My True Love is a slice-of-life romance, Remembering to Forget is a coming of age romance, and The Man That I Left on The Moon is an unfinished science fiction “anti” romance.)

My First Love Was Not My True Love

Introduction

He grabbed me by the throat and squeezed. Breathless, I stared into his eyes.

My hands were limp by my side, and my feet were dangling against the wall. He slammed me against the wall again, lifting me higher. I watched a drop of sweat trickle down his forehead. His eyes were brown, trembling. His face was red. He was whispering something I couldn’t hear, but I saw his lips move.

I think he said, “I love you.”

When I regained consciousness we were in bed again. He wrapped his arms around me softly as I closed my eyes and pretended that he was someone else, and that I was someone else, too.

My First Love…

The morning light passed over his skin and sank into the hollows of his narrow collar bone and bony hips. His skin was soft, white. His eyes trembled even when they were closed. He grabbed my hand and twitched in his sleep. I wanted to wake him, but I didn’t. I watched him instead, laughing.

He was young, 19.

I was 24.

I had stopped getting hangovers the way I had when I was young, or maybe I had become numb to them or gotten used to living with them. I went back to sleep after a while, even though I might have had a hangover and even though his heavy breathing kept pressing his ribs into mine. It was the only time I felt awake, being in his arms or by his side. Maybe, it was his trembling, shaking eyes that were always on the verge of tears ever since he had met me that had woken me from a long dream.

Awake, what it meant to wake up in the morning and watch him sleep, to not cling desperately to some souvenir of my old self found only in my dreams.

He was gone when I woke up.

I looked for him after fixing the sheets, brushing my teeth, and running my fingers through my hair. He was sitting in the living room, his eyes looking a little hollow. They always did. He smiled shyly when he saw me. I patted him on the cheek and tousled his hair. I made breakfast in my underwear, and then I got dressed and drove him to school.

He was late and ran away as soon as he shut the car door behind him. He looked back with a smile on his face as he went up the steps, tripping as he did. I finally drove off when he disappeared and went back home to sleep for awhile longer.

I showered and began to work on a case.

In the evening I called my family. They were in America, a place far from Seoul. They asked their usual questions. I gave them my usual answers. I ended each conversation with, “I love you,” but I wasn’t sure if I would ever go back to America even though I did love them.

They would have to visit me here.

Neon lights, painted buildings, everything dying and being reborn, and the ghosts of the dead things somehow haunting every urban street corner: Tradition.

Seoul.

Home.

I picked him up from school.

His mother called him while we were eating. He handed me the phone, and I spoke to her. Had he told her about me? She hesitated at first, but when it became clear that I could speak Korean fluently she relaxed and invited me to her home and said, “I’ll teach you how to make kimchi.”

I handed him the phone after murmuring some polite words.

“What did you tell her?,” I asked.

“That I’m meeting a good person, someone that I love…” His eyes trembled as he spoke, and suddenly he looked down. I remained silent, unsure of what to say to the boy in front of me. I held his hand, though, and he gave me his shy smile.

We ate quietly, each of us smiling small smiles that stretched our lips.

I went to his room this time. He lived in a college dorm. He had to sneak me in, but we were naked as soon as the door shut. We cuddled at first, after drinking soju mixed with sprite. Later, I told him to choke me.

He hesitated and asked, “Why? … I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You’re not going to hurt me, do it, please…”

“Why? I… okay.”

He choked me gently, his hands barely indenting my skin.

“Harder… harder…”

I kept my eyes open, looking at his face. His eyes were trembling again, and there were tears running down his cheeks as we both came.

When I lay in his arms, he asked me, “Are you ok? Are you hurt?”

My voice was hoarse, but I said, “I’m fine. I love being with you.”

“But, I hate it when you make me do… that. Why do you do it? Do you always do it?” I thought about it, but the only answer I could think of was, “Because it feels good. I like it. I feel like you own me, like you could save me or destroy me… Maybe both? But, no, only with you. I don’t trust anyone else.”

He didn’t say anything at first, but his hold on me loosened.

“You’re crazy.”

“I know.”

He tightened his grip on me and said, “I’m going to save you.”

He called me and told me that he wouldn’t be able to see me anymore. I asked him, “Why?,” and he said, “I… I don’t know if I can save you.”

I hung up on him quickly, before I could feel anything. He had done this to me once before, and I had let him go. This time, too, I let him go.

“I love you.”

They were words I had spat out and slipped on once. Every time I thought of my first love I was only reminded of a huge hole that had been cut into my body, a hole that had been filled with blood, flesh, and disappointment. My first love, H-, hadn’t been my first time, or my last time– hadn’t held me against a wall with his hands wrapped tightly around my neck– hadn’t told me that he loved me. 

H-, though, had lied to me.

He had pretended to be exactly who I thought he was, and for two years I had slowly gone crazy because of him, hadn’t been able to live without him.

One day after he said to me, “No one can replace me,” I had told him that I loved him. It hadn’t been a happy confession, and it hadn’t ended well. We went our separate ways in the end, and two years burned to ash.

There had been nothing left between us.

Still, I hadn’t been filled with regret. I had loved him, after all, even though I wasn’t sure how much of him had been real. No, I was sure of what had been real and when everything I loved had disappeared. Neither one of us had ever looked back, or maybe he had…

Or maybe I had.

Another evening passed.

Alone, I locked myself in my flat. The lights outside were too bright in the morning, but at night it was too dark. I called him, because I needed to be with someone. I don’t know why he answered, or came back to me. I told him to choke me, but he wouldn’t. He kept whispering how much he loved me, how I was destroying myself even though he was trying to save me. He kept crying, so I drove him home in silence and said, “Sleep.”

I kept his shirt, though, so that I would remember the smell and feel of him even after everything else between us had faded, just in case I never saw him again. I felt sad, because I had nothing to remember H- by.

I finally fell asleep in his shirt, clinging to the smell and feel of him, taking comfort in his meaninglessness. I had known that it wouldn’t last long. It never did. He had lasted longer than the others, though. But then– after H-, all of the others had only been passing in and out of my life like clouds passing across the sky, one after the other… an endless blur…

I heard that H- was getting married. I didn’t want to think about anything else after that.

I had never seen H- again. Would I ever see him again, on some street corner in America or Seoul, and as I drove past would he stand out from all the rest? Would he be more than just a blur?

I began to drink again, became without him in my life there was nothing to keep me awake. I slept a lot, and even when I had my eyes open, I was dreaming.

I lost my case.

I lost my mind.

This time the feeling was familiar. I wasn’t scared, but when I looked in the mirror I saw my eyes trembling. The tears didn’t fall, and the trembling stopped. Was it because of H-? No, it was only because I had never been able to replace him the way he had replaced me.

Did I want to die? Sometimes…

When my life felt empty and meaningless– when my dreams were better than the life I woke up to– when all I had was a lingering sense of disappointment and the fading memory of the smell and feel of someone else.

I slept in his shirt again, trying to remember the smell and feel of him. I shouldn’t have washed it, because now even that was gone. Suddenly, I missed him, my first love, H-. And him, the one who had seen all of me and whispered those silly words to me.

Had he meant them? Had he meant it when he said that he loved me, that he would save me?

I walked around Seoul in a mindless daze.

It was a beautiful place, easy to lose myself and easy to find someone else. I met eyes with a man in a bookstore. He reminded me of my first love, so when he asked for my number I gave it to him. By midnight, we were in bed together.

We met off and on.

He liked that I was foreign and a lawyer. He showed me off to his friends, but I knew I would never meet his family. I was fine with that. We had normal sex, and I stopped drinking heavily for a while, but he was boring both in and out of bed. I never asked him to choke me, because I didn’t want to give myself to him…

Not completely.

I tried once, but the feeling was too different, and I knew he wasn’t going to save me even though I knew that he wasn’t going to destroy me, either.

I drank heavily one day, after a few months had passed.

That boy, he wasn’t coming back. This man, he wasn’t leaving. He watched me from across the table as I downed glass after glass of wine. As my lids drooped, his opened wide. His mouth drooped open, too, and suddenly he looked like a fish.

I wanted to drop him into a toilet bowl, flush him into the sewage, and let him rot belly up, forgotten.

I was drunk, and I was crying, so I took out my phone and called the boy I missed: Not my first love H-, but my true love. I asked him if he had meant what he said. I asked him, “Can you save me?”

He paused for a long time. Then, he said, “Yes.”

I slipped away from the man I was with, suddenly unable to even remember his name as I stared at him from across the dinner table in his expensive apartment. I rose, and he rose, too. I went to him, and I wrapped my arms around him and breathed in: There it was, the smell and the feel of him.

It was all that I would remember him by.

I had fallen asleep again, but as soon as I saw his trembling eyes and familiar face I woke up. I took him home and cooked for him, held him as he cried. We talked for hours. Later, his hands wrapped around my neck. I let my true love choke me gently, because my first love had already killed everything I had ever held inside.

I suddenly remembered H-, his smile and his face. How long had it been since I had been able to push past my unhappiness– my disappointment, and remember him? The last time we met, it had been like the first. All the things that had happened between us, none of them had mattered. There was only us, our smiles and laughter. It had been enough, then.

Did I know how much I would miss him, then?

He hadn’t been a lie. He hadn’t disappointed me. It had been easier to let him go if I lied to myself. Suddenly, I was tired of lying to myself about him. It wasn’t his fault. I had built my world around him. I had loved him. I had left that world and never once looked back until it was too late, and he was gone.

My First Love Was Not My True Love

The light poured in through the window, landing on my body, on his. I woke up from a dream and looked at the boy beside me with a smile on my face. Awake, I rested my head onto his chest and sighed, breathing in the smell and feel of him. Later, I kissed him awake.

He blinked and rubbed his eyes full of innocence like a small puppy, rubbed his cheeks full of blushes like a small boy. I knew I that he would never save me, but I decided to stop destroying myself.

Remembering to Forget

Introduction

There was no one in control.

I need you.

Ha Na was afraid to tell him how much she needed him. Instead, she pushed him away. From that moment on they began to break. She drifted farther and farther away until only he remained in the place where they had once been together. Did he know that she was gone?

The days she spent without him drove her crazy, because she couldn’t forget him.

I love you.

Ha Na was afraid to tell him how much she loved him. Would it be awkward to see him again?

“I miss you.”

They were the only words Ha Na ever said to him. They slipped back together, and for a while she was able to pretend to be his friend. Night fell, and he pressed himself closer to her, closer than he ever had before. Was she dreaming?

He felt like a dream, and she pushed him away, because she was afraid that he was just a dream she would wake up from one day.

They got married under a soft shadow of spring leaves, but that day had felt like winter, because they each walked down the aisle with someone else.

Remembering…

In Ha Na’s dreams she was leaving him, and it felt good to make him hurt. It felt good to push him away. It felt good to tell herself that he didn’t love her and that she didn’t love him either. It felt good to walk away. When she finally woke up, it felt awful to look at his back as he slept, because her husband seemed so far away even though he was right beside her.

He breathed softly and shifted restlessly, so she pressed herself closer to him until he finally stilled. In moments like this, he was beautiful. It almost made her forget the steady ache between her gaunt ribs, the empty feeling between the two of them even though they were pressed so close together.

It was morning. He was already gone.

She walked around their house as sunlight spilled into spacious rooms sparse with furniture. She sank to the floor and pressed herself against the wood. She felt empty, as if someone else had lived between these walls for the past two years. Someone else must have married him. Someone else must have believed in their future — always together, even as they grew old and ugly.

She was older and uglier.

He was never home.

She showered and changed into the dress his mother had bought for her even though it was too long, and she walked as if some heavy weight was pulling her soul into Hell as the hem dragged across the floor.

She cleaned, cooked, and waited for him to come home. He returned, and her heart beat faster in that moment when he opened the door, but he didn’t ask her any questions, and she didn’t look him in the eyes. He disappeared somewhere inside of their house. Finally, they ate without speaking, and then he was gone again.

She wandered outside after he left, chasing after the invisible trail he had left behind. The evening air was cool against her skin, and she wanted to find him, but something pulled her back.

She was in bed when he came home again. He was drunk, silent. They had sex, and she moaned beneath him, because that was what they both expected.

He turned away afterwards and fell asleep.

She lay awake next to him, breathing heavily. It suddenly hit her: The way the space between them was always empty, the way the house they lived in was never full. She knew something inside of her had died, and only her shell remained.

Was it her husband’s fault? He was only passing in and out of her life.

Was it hers? She was only a shadow by his side.

Was it his? She had never been able to forget the boy she had loved.

“I miss you.”

She spoke out loud, but that boy was already gone.

Ha Na’s friends liked to pretend that they had everything they wanted, but she knew the truth that had sunk to the bottom of their cold cups of coffee. They all knew they had nothing but damaged dreams and faded futures, but her friends– even though they were married like her, still liked to look for love in the arms of strangers. Did they find it in between their lover’s sheets, or did they find it afterwards as they took a taxi home alone in Seoul’s noisy, crowded streets?

She liked to think that in their house was a door she couldn’t seem to find, and locked inside were all the things she had ever wanted: Love, happiness. Maybe the door was beneath the wooden floors or just around some sharp corner or dull edge of a cream-colored wall, but a year had passed, and she hadn’t been able to find it.

She left the coffee shop last and took an expensive taxi to a cheap hotel, because it would be impossible to sleep next to her husband that night. The bed in the room next door was squeaking. The people in the room above her were walking, and she could hear their footsteps. The rain outside had just begun falling, and she could see it splatter on the window. She told herself that she was not alone. She turned on the radio and listened to the sound of commercials. She called her friends, but they were too busy being alive to take care of her skeleton. She wanted to scream, but the walls were too thin for words only she should hear.

“I am so unhappy — so lonely…”

She wanted to scream, but only made a whisper.

It was still raining in the morning when she finally woke up. She took a taxi home, and when she walked in she saw her husband sitting on the hard, white leather couch. He was watching the morning news and dressed in his suit with his tie tied tight around his neck.

He looked perfect.

He was perfect, and he was distant, empty. He didn’t even look at her. If he had, would he have noticed that she was wearing the same clothes  she had worn yesterday, the same sad expression she had worn when they had first met three years ago?

He finally looked at her, but only for a moment. She waited for him to speak, but his phone rang, and he took the call in another room.

She found herself in the kitchen.

Her husband walked in and sat down at the small table. She felt trapped in a nightmare, because she had been here before and because she felt as if she would always be here. Here, she was his wife. She was her skeleton.

When had she died?

When she looked down, she wondered if white, brittle bones would be stirring the pot filled with hot noodles. She set the table and sat down across from him. Her flesh covered hand scooped noodles into her mouth. The taste was like ash, like misery. She swallowed it too easily. What else had she been eating for the past four years?

Four years ago…

The letter came in the mail. She had been waiting to hear from him again, the boy she had loved. He had gone to school in America the year before. Was he finally coming back? Did he still remember her?

She held a wedding invitation in her hands, but before she could shove it back inside, it unfolded itself like a bird and grew wings that beat the air around her head and sent her falling to the ground. The bird followed her for days, chirping awful things into her ears and reminding her that he had always been a dream, a dream that would never come true.

She wanted to speak to the man who was sitting across from her, but the words got stuck in her throat. Had she always been asleep since that day four years ago? Because, none of her dreams had come true as she opened her eyes and saw the empty world without him.

How had she met her husband? How many dates until he had proposed? Where and how had he proposed? Had he always been this cold and distant? Did he love her?

Did she love him?

She could only answer the last question.

“No…”

She whispered softly, the words falling from her lips and drowning in her bowl of cold, uneaten noodles.

He finished eating and placed his dishes in the sink. She heard the door open and close. She heard him drive away. She waited for him to come home.

It was so late, she mumbled to herself, “Where is he?”

She kept lies pressed to her ears, and waited and wanted to hear something other than the truth, someone other than him. The soft, pretty illusions  she had wrapped around her skin vanished, and she was left bare. There was something else pressing against her, and it dug into her skin, and it sank into her bones: Truth, loneliness.

Feeling lost and empty, she took a taxi and went outside of Seoul. As night fell, the landscape became a hazy, dark blur. A landlord showed her to a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment above a small noodle shop that was full of tired, hungry workers, big families, and the hot, white breath of steam. The room was small but clean.

She paid the deposit and took a taxi back to the house she shared with her husband.

He was in bed when she returned. She slept next to him with her hands pressed tightly together. She wanted to reach out and touch him, but she knew he would wake up and ask her what was wrong but only tell her to go back to sleep, because he had work in the morning, because he had no time for her: His wife, a skeleton.

She had packed all of her belongings and was ready to leave when he came home. She was already crazy because of him and because she still loved him: The boy she had loved, not this man without his face and his eyes and his smile. What was it that she had seen in him? She stood in front of the door. She was inside. He was outside.

She spoke through the awkward silence that had fallen between them as he tried to push past her.

“I’m leaving you.”

It was barely a whisper that passed from her lips.

“What?”

He finally stopped trying to push past her, noticing her suitcase and bags for the first time. When had he ever heard anything she had said? When was the last time he had even noticed her?

“I’m sorry…”

They were her last words to him.

He walked past her, and this time she let him. He put down his suitcase, took of his jacket, and folded it on the couch. He walked towards her. He stared into her eyes that had suddenly filled with tears and slapped her.

She had always been so still, so afraid of moving– of leaving, but in that moment she finally felt herself slip out of limbo and into free fall. She crashed somewhere at the bottom. He began to speak, but she brushed past him, refusing to let him see her tears.

They were not for him.

He didn’t keep her from walking out the door, but he followed her, and when he chased after the taxi she knew it must have hit him: She was leaving him, and she was gone.

She let herself cry for the boy he should have been and for the girl she should have been, but finally there were no tears on her cheeks, just awful sounds and heaving sobs that were wrenched from somewhere deep, deep inside of her until there was nothing left inside of her. She saw his image in the rear view mirror, but he grew smaller and smaller until finally the taxi turned the corner, and he disappeared.

There was a small gap between her thighs where the skin no longer touched, but she didn’t feel like eating. She began to talk to herself as she sat in her small room.

“He’s gone. I miss him.”

She wanted to go through her phone to find the traces of the boy she had loved, but she had deleted all of his messages a long time ago, and one day he had stopped sending them. She wanted to call her old friends to ask about him, but she had spent too much time away from them.

“It would be awkward to talk to them again, to tell him I still love him.”

She called her parents and told them lies, because she didn’t want to break their hearts. The sound of their voices made her smile, but when they hung up she began to cry.

“I left my husband.”

She reached for the phone again, but she had no one else to call and no one she could tell the truth to. Why had she married him? She couldn’t remember her husband. She couldn’t forget the boy she had loved.

But, too much time had passed, and that boy was gone. He was a man now. He was a man with a wife and kids and a nice house in a nice neighborhood, and she was just a memory stuck inside a cramped apartment over a noodle shop on the poor side of town.

She went downstairs and watched her favorite Korean dramas on a small screen TV. She nodded off in front of a family with two children and a third one on the way as the movers lifted her new bed up the long flight of steps outside. They finished, and she rearranged the furniture , tried to fill up the empty spaces with paintings and promises.

She fell asleep on the floor.

It was almost midnight when she finally woke up. She went downstairs again and sat at a small table in the corner. She ate cold noodles.

Suddenly, she realized that it felt awful to be alone. Is that why she had married him?

Days passed, and nights passed.

She had her face deep into a bowl of noodles, and didn’t notice her husband walk in, but when someone sat across from her she looked into a pair of familiar eyes. The silence between them spread itself out like a blanket, smothering both of them until nothing but their corpses remained.

She wanted to escape– to breathe– to live.

The night air was hot and sticky. It melted into her skin as she traced the footsteps of someone else. Someone else had already wandered these sidewalks and streets. Had they been alone? Had they been tired? Had they already been this way before but been unable to turn back? She walked next to her husband without speaking. They sat on a park bench underneath a street lamp. It was a place where lovers should have sat. They were like strangers, and it was as if all the time they had spent together had been pressed into one single moment and sucked dry.

Nothing remained.

“How have you been?,” he asked.

She remembered what it felt like when he had been inside of her, when he had slapped her: The pain. But, she said, “Fine, and you?”

“Fine”, he said in a soft voice as he looked down and away from her.

Strange that it had come to this: An awkward conversation on a broken bench, an awful feeling between a man and his wife.

“Ha Na…”

“What?”

“Are you seeing someone else… Someone else, someone who makes you happy…?” She couldn’t speak. Her lips wouldn’t move.

They had fought once, a few months or maybe just a few days after their wedding.

Ha Na hadn’t been able to stop crying. Her husband had wrapped his arms around her, but she had pushed him away. He had looked at her, and it had been the last time he had really looked at her.

Then, they had lived in a small apartment, and it had been easy to fill in the empty spaces. Slowly, he had begun to work more, to stay away. They had moved into a house a year ago, but nothing had changed. Only, the empty spaces had become larger, had become harder to fill.

He handed her something without looking her in the eyes, and then got up and walked away. She looked down at the hard, shining thing in her had. It was her wedding ring. She had left it on the living room table.

She watched his back as he got blown somewhere far, far away. She wanted to tell him to stop– to stay, but it was too late. He was already gone.

Home, she stared blankly at the night sky as she sat on the roof of her apartment. She spilled her thoughts out to all the ghosts of those who had lived like her and already died. They were hanging over her head, slipping soft tendrils of faded skin through her hair and running them down her back. They were slipping in and out of her body.

She went to the edge of the roof and looked down, walked over it.

She saw the night sky, the passing windows, the blurred faces, the gray concrete, the blood spreading from somewhere…

She saw nothing.

She shook off someone else’s memories and slipped back into her skin. There was a hollow ache– a far off dream– a soft whisper.

“I must have fallen in love with him a long time ago. I must still love him. My husband… I can’t even remember his name– his face– his smile. Where did the boy that I loved go? I thought that he would come back to me someday as someone else, as someone I could love and someone who could love me.”

There was a shadow that had suddenly thrown itself against the wall beneath the roof. A body clung to it and heard all of her words.

Words that were not meant for him.

“Is he happy? Is he happy without me? Does he need me– love me– miss me? He  must have forgotten about me. My life is just a dream I’ve finally woken up from. Have I always been alone?”

But, she wasn’t alone. There was someone watching her. He listened to all of her words and wondered if he would ever be the same again– if she would ever be his wife again.

“I hate being alone, talking to myself like this. I must be crazy. I must have been crazy to let him go– to think I could let him go and live without him– to think I could fall in love again.”

The shadow vanished, and her husband sat on the ground nearby with his head in his hands. Their lives had always been like this: Quiet, distant. There was a road he had never been able to find: One that lead to her. He had thought she would change, that someday he would see her smile at him the way she had smiled as she stared at the sky or the stars. She had always been beautiful, but she had always been lonely, even when she was with him. He looked back at her shadow and the soft gloom of her words before he left, casting a long shadow in the soft, dark night.

Ha Na finally called her sister. It would be too hard to tell her parents. Would they understand? She had always been different from everyone else in her family, but they loved her. She loved them, too, but she felt burdened by them. She had never been able to live up to their expectations. Maybe she wasn’t meant to be a daughter– a sister– a wife.

What had she wanted to be? Happy? When had she been happy? She remembered, but her memories were colder than winter and frozen somewhere in the past.

Ha Na’s apartment was quiet, because her parents had not returned from whatever roads they were traveling while they visited her. She drifted off to sleep and woke up when her mother tapped her softly on the shoulder. Her father pulled her up from the floor.

They had told her to go back to him, but now they were silent. A month had already passed, and nothing had changed.

Were they finally giving up on her?

They left, whispering I love you softly in her ears as their arms held her tightly and then let her go. She would miss them, but she knew they couldn’t stay.

Did he still have everything she had given to him?

She would like to take it all back.

She would like to be someone else– someone other than herself– someone different. There had been a reason for the difference, but she couldn’t see it anymore, and there had been a reason to believe in love, but that boy she had loved– she knew that he wasn’t it anymore.

She wondered if she would ever return to him, her husband. He had been drinking again. His slurred words filled her ears as she listened to him outside of her locked door. He banged on it with his fists, as if he could break it down. She was tired.

She wanted to sleep– to forget– to dream.

Instead, she listened quietly as her husband slumped down against her door. She couldn’t see him– his head buried in his hands and his heart beating too fast in his chest, but she felt him and she knew she had carved the soul and smile out of his body.

They weren’t in love, she thought, but he couldn’t let her go. Maybe he had thought that she would always be by his side, just like a shadow. She fell asleep while her husband snored outside of her door. She dreamed of someone other than her husband’s face and smile, of the sound of laughter.

When she woke in the morning, she heard her husband as he snored. An hour later she knew the change in his breathing meant he was still half-asleep, but would wake up soon. Silence, and then the sound of his shoes as he walked down the stairs was similar to the sound of her heart as it beat: Slow, steady. He would keep walking away, and her heart would keep beating, both of them alive and yet both of them dead.

She slipped into a tee shirt and cleaned, putting away the sheets and the pot from last night. It was half-filled with noodles she hadn’t eaten. The clock ticked, chronicling her hours spent alone.

Love was never going to come back. Without it, everything had fallen apart. She was flattened, now, thin and incapable of living. She fluttered, her breath like butterfly wings in and out. She was a butterfly sinking low– about to die, but carried on by some eternal wind making promises that could never be fulfilled.

Ha Na’s lease expired.

She had spent the past few months asleep, barely aware of anything but the past. She was finally ready to return, because there was nothing left: Not of that boy, not of that girl. She didn’t know who she was, but there was a feeling inside of her.

She was hungry. She was starving. She was tired of being a skeleton.

For days she had dreamed of a devil that had ripped her into pieces. It had hovered over her as she slept and had followed her as she walked down streets filled with strangers. She was sure that she would die, but she was still alive…

It had only been a dream.

So much of her life had only been a dream.

Her husband was silent as she made her return. The car he drove her in was loaded down with the things she had taken. They were all going to return to their places. The paintings would be placed on the walls in the living room, and she too would hang herself somewhere in the house. A painting and a skeleton: Both of them nailed to the wall. As he drove, she stared at his alien face and hands. Had he changed or had he always looked this way? There was nothing familiar except for the silence in the air and the distance between them. For some reason, she wanted to speak to him, to touch him.

Was he real?

They slipped back into their life without a sound, and it was as if she had never left. They smiled when their family and friends made their visits, but slowly their smiles slipped away.

He came home drunk and forced her into bed, breathing heavily and weeping. The smell of soju on his breath and skin, the feel of those alien hands on her skin and the hard pushing of his body into hers…

Suddenly, there was so much pain inside of her.

Where had it come from, and why did she finally feel alive as he pressed himself against her and into her? She held him close, her arms wrapped tightly around him. She dug her nails into his skin until red, half-moons appeared. There was something falling from her eyes, but she couldn’t move to brush away the tears. His hands reached up gently, and he wiped her tears away with the soft skin of his thumbs. Who was he, this stranger in her bed and this man inside of her?

Why did it hurt to see him again?

She should never have married him. She should never have left him. His voice was hoarse and loud. It broke the silence that had always been between them.

“I missed you.”

The words slipped into her ears as she closed her eyes and came. They collapsed and fell asleep, exhausted. When she woke, he was gone, but she remembered everything and knew that it hadn’t been a dream.

Remembering to Forget

She wandered around their house, searching for that door. This time she was sure that she would find it.

There were thoughts escaping from her head and weaving their way into the walls. She had always been sad. Had she made him unhappy? It must have been her fault. She had been unable to love him.

She had been unable to love herself.

“Not that you lied to me but that I no longer believe in you has shaken me.”

She whispered the words of Friedrich Nietzsche to herself. They hung over her head like the devil that had ripped her to pieces. They were words that put her heart back together with clumsy stitches. They were the pain and truth that she had never been able to accept. Who would she speak them to: The boy that she had loved, her husband, or herself?

She spoke them to herself, the innocent girl of her youth who had died after first love came and went.

“It is not that you lied to me. It is not that those dreams you dreamed never came true. It is not that he never loved me the way you thought he would. It is not that I have never been able to love again. It is not that my family is all I ever had, the very people you pushed away in anger. It is not that I am alone like you were.

It is that without you and your hard, unyielding ways I can no longer believe in myself. Why must I bend, break? And I have spent so much time looking for you. I think maybe I have spent too much time looking for you and all the things you had. If I found him again– my first love, would you also come back? He knew you. He believed in you. I left myself behind in order to find you, but you were already gone.

There is no door to the past, and I can never go back. All I have is this empty house– this empty heart– this empty marriage. And suddenly, it has occurred to me that I have never given myself away the way you did.

If the world around me is empty, it is because I have always been a part of the past, living only in memories. I would like to let you go. I would like to be myself even though I am nothing like you.

Youth, I woke up one day to find you gone, and next to me was a snoring man and a devil that hovered over me. I am no longer afraid. I am terrified, because I have been asleep and unable to live and breathe for so long. What have I lost? If I have lost my belief in myself and in love, then I have lost everything. What am I looking for? What am I looking for…”

She sank to the floor and pressed herself against the wood, knew she had been there before. She lay on her back and stared at the ceiling. The light of morning pressed its way through the window and settled onto her skin. There was a sudden stillness, a memory of a soft thumb on her skin. Breathless, she closed her eyes.

When she opened them, she began to rise and then stilled.

Her husband was lying on the floor next to her. He had taken off his suit and changed into a white tee shirt and jeans. She turned her head to face him and stared into his eyes. Suddenly, she remembered his eyes– his smile– the day they had first met. His hand slipped into hers, and then he looked away, looked up at the ceiling.

She did the same.

They stayed like that for a long, long time.

The Man That I Left on The Moon

Introduction

At first there was this silence that lingered over us like the thick, black night hanging outside and the soft, warm blanket draped over us. My mother’s voice echoed in my ears, suddenly, as if she was singing me to sleep with a lullaby from some far off place.

My mother was far away– miles away, light years away.

The Man That I Left…

He held me loosely in his arms, and I thought that he might let me go in the morning. When we were through, I snuck out onto the balcony that overlooked a crater on the moon. I had traveled far to see him. He had told me to come, but his cold embrace reminded me of a lost love, of a love that I had lost.

Still, he didn’t make me unhappy– being on the moon did. It always seemed like night, and gray sand blew over hollow craters. We were trapped in glass, and even though I couldn’t see where it began or ended I knew that there was no endless horizon, no limitless sky. I could see the stars, though, and they glittered and sparkled like the diamond ring that he had given me on earth.

Black eyes flecked with silver pierced my gaze as I turned to leave the crowded cafe. I was on my way to work– coffee in hand, but he stood in my way, blocking the exit. When he smiled, only one corner of his mouth turned up. It was his dimple that caught my attention.

When I blinked, he was gone. When I blinked again, I was gone, too, or at least not in the cafe where I had been only moments before.

That day when I had disappeared from the cafe with him, I hadn’t wanted to return to earth; because, I would be leaving soon to meet the man who would be my husband, but I knew that I wasn’t capable of loving him. That day, as I looked into his alien eyes as we stood underneath an alien sky, I had thought that I would be capable of loving him.

I went back inside and slept beside him. His ribs pressed into mine as he breathed. He was exactly my height, and our bodies fit together perfectly– like a pair of matching puzzle pieces, but I could never get used to the way his bones and his body and his heart pressed into and indented my skin, pushing me to the edge of the bed, to the edge of some cliff the more I struggled to put distance between us.

I was capable of loving him, but I was also capable of losing him, of being lost without him. Afraid, I packed my things and left quietly in the morning.

His black eyes shone, glittering and sparkling like the stars in the sky– like the diamond ring on the living room table.

He was different in indescribable ways, and I didn’t think that we had much in common other than the fact that we had both wanted to disappear from the world that we knew.

We spoke different languages, but he had learned mine by the time we met on the moon. I wasn’t sure how old he was or if we would ever be able to have children together, but I didn’t want children, anyway. I didn’t care about his age, anyway. Occasionally, I would fall into his eyes and get transported to faraway places with colors and sounds and smells that I had no name for but began to adore.

I don’t know what he saw in me, but he was always blocking my exits and taking me to new worlds with new beginnings. I had always been too poor to travel. I wasn’t sure if he had anything other than the black shirt and jeans he always wore. I had bought him clothes once, but he had washed them in hot water, so I complained about the way they fit on him, and he never wore them again.

I wandered around the moon lost in thought after I left him, and I don’t know how he found me, but he did. When he was angry with me he rarely spoke and would only stare at me. I didn’t know what he wanted from me. Maybe, he didn’t know either. I wasn’t sure if he knew what marriage meant. He had studied earth for some time, he had said, and wanted to give the woman that he loved a diamond ring, to get married.

I was tired, so I held his hand and let him usher me to a cafe where I sat and sipped the coffee that he bought for me. I looked at him carefully before saying, “I don’t want to get married.”

“Why?”
“Because, I don’t love you.”

He cried, but aliens have a different way of crying that I can’t explain, and I had never seen him cry before. It made him seem younger but less attractive. I felt sorry for him, but I had stopped being able to comfort the boys and men in my life after I turned 16.

Suddenly, he got down on one knee before me, but I quickly rose and left. This time, he didn’t block my exits, and I didn’t disappear.

The Man That I Left on The Moon

There was something important that I knew I was forgetting; but, like everyone else, I lived with desperate longings and lost loves killing me softly every time I happened to remember the man that I left on the moon.

The WGEB Facebook Page, The Traveling Kimchi &Daniel Cooper

*Off Topic*

WGEB is finally on Facebook!^^

Click HERE to like WGEB on Facebook and get daily updates on the latest WGEB, KDrama, and Kpop news, or just keep in touch with me.

There’s a lot in store, so stay tuned for the following:

An introduction to my friend and fellow blogger The Traveling Kimchi, more guest blog posts from Daniel Cooper, and the new series Feeding Your KDrama Addiction where I’ll let you know about all the Korean dramas that you’ve been craving from noona romances to medical dramas to high school dramas and more!

As always, thanks for following WGEB!

I’ll do my best to keep improving my blog until it becomes a home for everyone interested in and passionate about not just Korean culture but the undeniable connection between different cultures, languages, and people. After all, the WGEB community has friends and followers from all around the world.

Skin Ed

*Korean Skin Care: Hauls, Help, &More*

We were all born with flawless, baby soft skin. Then, puberty happened, and it left some of us with acne, blemishes, and scars.

Many of us who have struggled with our skin have tried everything from Neutrogena to Proactive to Accutane, but there’s something that we were never told about our skin– something that would have made us struggle less and smile more.

So, here’s Skin Ed.

Harsh chemicals suck, but the astringents and toners of my youth were full of them. Once I switched to Dr. Palmer’s, which used natural ingredients like cocoa butter instead of harsh chemicals like benzoyl peroxide, my skin calmed down, and I stopped breaking out.

I also started taking birth control at this time, too, and many of my friends and I rave about taking birth control because you get regular periods, better skin, and even bigger boobs.

I continued to use products with natural ingredients and branched out to Madina last year; well, until my Chinese friend introduced me to Etude House, a Korean skincare and makeup line. Not only were the products all natural, but there were more of them, and they weren’t limited to natural ingredients like cocoa butter but also included collagen, aloe vera, and more, too.

Now, three (or four) Etude House hauls later, I realized that my skin had needs that hadn’t been met, so here’s what I do now to keep my skin satisfied.

I Exfoliate

I was told not to exfoliate, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my skin.

Etude House Baking Powder Crunch Pore Scrub

One pack of this instantly removes old, dead skin and blemishes, revealing the fresher, healthier skin lying underneath. It’s gentle and doesn’t irritate my skin, and I use it once every one or two weeks.

I Rejuvenate

I still have a long way to go before getting the skin that I want, so I always rejuvenate my skin with packs, patches, and masks concentrated with natural ingredients that work for my skin.

Etude House Charcoal Chin Pack

Simple and sweet, a small strip of charcoal goes over my chin– 20 minutes later, blackheads and blemishes get removed. My goal is to use it more often, at least once or twice a week!

Etude House Collagen Gel Eye Patch

Equally simple and sweet but much stronger since it’s a gel, this helps lift and smooth those wrinkles underneath my eyes that I’ve had for longer than I would like…

Etude House White Pearl Mask

This good-smelling, slip-on-your-skin-and-lay-down mask instantly brightens my skin and evens my complexion.

Etude House Collagen Mask

This mask brightens and firms, and I’ve been using at least one mask on my skin each week.

Tip: After exfoliating, use a mask! It’ll sink right into your skin and also help calm it down. I often use a combination of the chin pack or eye patch with a mask.

I Recreate

I try to recreate my skin everyday, which means using an entire line of skin care products that work for my skin.

Etude House Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam Moist

Different from the original, the moist doesn’t dry out my skin but works just as well hen it comes to removing my make-up and more.

Etude House Collagen Moistfull Skin Care Line: First Essence, Toner, Firming Eye Cream, and Face Cream

The order is important, and after I wash my face I use the first essence, toner, firming eye cream, and then finally the face cream.

Tip: If you have dry skin, then use the shea butter line. If you have damaged skin, then use the aloe vera line.

Etude House Goodbye Trouble BB Magic Mist

I use this after applying the face cream and again after finally applying my BB cream. Talk about a good finish! Moisturizing your skin is so important when it comes to creating that flawless, baby soft– but adult glow, look.

So, what about finding YOUR Soulmate Skinmate?

Etude House is definitely MY skinmate, but what’s yours, and how can you find it?

In the end, Skin Ed is all about finding out what works for your skin, so don’t be afraid to try something new; and, finding your skinmate is a lot like finding your soulmate, so remember to keep an open mind and an open heart. Don’t ever settle for something that doesn’t work for you skin, especially after two or three months.

Start over, try again, and never give up until your skin is A+!^^

Secret Love Affair: Scenes and Statements from Episode Five

*Korean Drama Reviews, Recaps, &More*

Get ready for more of my favorite scenes and statements from Secret Love Affair!

Episode Five

Scene One

Lee Seon Jae is back in Oh Hye Won’s house and back under her skin.

1

“Why were you mad at me that day?,” he asks~

2

Shocked, she just stares at him~

3

After closing the door, she asks him if he knows where he is right now~

4

Upset and confused, he asks her about their first kiss~

5

“How can you not remember?”

“How can you not remember? I thought about this a lot– from what I should say first. I practiced a lot, too…. So that I wouldn’t get scared, so that I would speak well. I’m so confused…. You told me to start playing the piano again, and you knew that my heart was wavering. That was strong. Men kiss at times like that; and, you let me kiss you.”

6

She looks at him~

7

And, he looks at her~

In the end, she just tells him that he talks too much, but that didn’t stop her from listening to– from hanging on to, his every word.

Scene Two

The professor and Lee Seon Jae drink together, but Lee Seon Jae listens to Oh Hye Won’s advice and only drinks orange juice. The professor finally goes to bed– drunk.

But, they pace.

1

Pacing~

2

Pacing~

And, they clean.

1

Cleaning~

2

Cleaning~

Finally, they run into each other even though she was tip-toeing in her own house just to avoid the chance of waking him up as she passed by the door to his bedroom since she thought that he was fast asleep inside.

1

Uh-oh~

2

He’s determined~

3

And, he knows how to win her over: With a song~

4

She’s happy~

5

But, a little delusional as she tells him it’s okay since she’s just his teacher~

Scene Three

Inside, they don’t exactly just play the piano, and we learn how tempted she is by his presence even though she seemed so calm and collected all along.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.08.37

Okay, time to play the piano, right?

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.09.10

Wrong! He says sorry about his girlfriend’s text message and tells her not to worry about his girlfriend, either, since he’s never slept with her~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.09.42

She asks him why she would be worried, suddenly far from happy with him~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.10.06

He explains that he worries and doesn’t like when the professor calls her honey or Hyewon-ah~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.10.17

After he mentions them using the same room together– unaware of their separate beds and her sleepless nights, something in her eyes changes, and she kisses him hard~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.10.37

And harder~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.10.43

Until neither one of them can feel anything except the other~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.10.49

It’s hard to tell who pulls away first, or why~

Screenshot 2014-04-12 17.11.00

Afterwards, she scolds him, telling him that she’s punishing him, but it seems more like she’s punishing herself~

He grabs her tightly and hugs her form behind as she turns to go~

He grabs her tightly and hugs her form behind as she turns to go~

He tells her that he just wants to play the piano, that he just wants her to listen~

He tells her that he just wants to play the piano, that he just wants her to listen~

It's more than physical between them, which is what makes this a love affair and not just an affair~

It’s more than physical between them, which is what makes this a love affair and not just an affair~

Her hand rises as she decides to hold onto him~

Her hand rises as she decides to hold onto him~

His hand does, too, covering hers~

His hand does, too, covering hers~

They stay like that for as long as they can...~

They stay like that for as long as they can…~

Scene Four

Piano time!

Finally, though~

Finally, though…~

He plays~

He plays~

She listens~

She listens~

Both of them, lost somewhere together in a place that only they know~

Both of them, lost somewhere in a place that only they know~

In the end, they play the piano together again as the professor lies in bed, the two of them suddenly brighter and happier than they were moments before.

Afterwards, they embrace each other, ecstatic for reasons we can hardly know but only be envious of.

They hug just as hard as they kissed but frantically and happily~

They hug just as hard as they kissed but frantically and happily~

One...~

One…~

Two...~

Two…~

Three moments pass and suddenly Lee Seon Jae looks sad, but he only asks her to play one more time~

Three moments pass and suddenly Lee Seon Jae looks sad, but he only asks her to play one more time~

She tells him no and then finally goes to bed with a smile on her face~

She tells him no and then finally goes to bed with a smile on her face~

He keeps playing alone~

He keeps playing alone~

Scene Five

Oh Hye Won meets with Lee Seon Jae unexpectedly, and for– of all things, shopping.

(This scene provides a nice role reversal. After all, she’s the one who’ll be buying him clothes.)

In this scene, she asks about the scars that he got while fighting with his girlfriend, and he tells her that he doesn’t want to get caught by his girlfriend or the professor– no matter what, so he’s not going to live with them anymore.

Her husband appears as she laughs at him, and they finally start shopping; but, her jealousy is so strong that her imagination starts to run wild– really wild…

Uh-oh~

Uh-oh~

She spaces out and finally snaps back to reality when Lee Seon Jae says that he doesn’t want any clothes and will be going home; and, you can tell how annoyed he is by the professors constant nosiness and nagging.

Lee Seon Jae looks at Oh Hye Won before he leaves, and in the end he tells her everything by saying nothing– just a glance, and she knows that he’ll be waiting for her there, and he knows that she’ll come.

Thanks for reading my scenes and statements!

Hope you enjoyed them.

^^

My Favorite Korean Food

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

There’s so much to love about Korean culture, from the people to the language to the history nightlife; but, I also have to talk about my love for Korean food.

As much as I love Korean BBQ, it’s not my favorite. I love soups and stews filled with spice, meat, and flavor

So, my favorite Korean food is kimchi jjigae.

My friends and I are regulars at the Korean bar here in Austin, and it has my second favorite kimchi jjigae. My absolute favorite is at this Korean restaurant in Dallas that my friend and I stumbled on while we were there.

(Last summer I dated three different Korean guys who worked there, and one of them STILL works there and STILL likes me, but I do my best to act like I don’t know him and never went on a date with him– a date that made me realize some people know absolutely nothing about dating, especially what to do and what NOT to do on a first date.)

 Anyway, we only order two things off of the menu: Korean BBQ or kimchi jjigae.

Kimchi jjigae~

Kimchi jjigae~

Kimchi, Korean green peppers, green onions, tofu, pork cuts, and so much more make this my favorite Korean food!^^

What’s your favorite Korean food or a Korean food that you want to try but haven’t yet?

P.S.: I finally remembered to take a picture of my favorite Korean food last Friday even though we go to the Korean bar almost once every two weeks– if not almost once every week!

My friend and I– just the two of us, did work last Friday:

My bowl and our side dishes~

My bowl and our side dishes~

All that remains~

All that remained~

My Mini Etude House Haul

*Korean Skin Care: Hauls, Help, &More*

I was about to run out of my Etude House Collagen Moistfull Face Cream, so I ordered more along with two pink lipsticks and one pink base.

(I ordered their BB cream as well but didn’t like it. It really does leave you with a gray color! Another black girl left an amazing review of it on Amazon, which is where I buy my Etude House products when I’m in America, but she definitely steered me wrong…)

Anyway, here’s what went SO right from My Mini Etude House Haul.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

“Disgraceful Pink” Lipstick, “Mango” Lipstick, and Collagen Moistfull Essence in Base~

“Disgraceful Pink” Lipstick

This is a bright pink color but it has a pastel feel to it so it’s perfect for spring and super sexy so I also wear it downtown.

“Mango” Lipstick

This lipstick feels more like a really good chap stick, and it’s also a bright pink– almost cherry. It’s also definitely more of a daytime color!

Collagen Moistfull Essence in Base

My favorite– it’s a shimmery pink base that gives me MUCH more coverage than the Choux Choux Berry Base I was using before. It also blends well with my skin color and doesn’t leave me looking washed out. There are no white tones in it at all, although it does look white once you pump it out.

My skin already looks better, but this base is a little heavy– a good thing for coverage and staying power, so I mist before and after.

More stuff means more mess!

I was going crazy with all the beauty products I had cluttered here and there, so I finally threw out my old products– bye bye Madina, and made room for my new ones:

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Three~

Three~

I’m already excited about my next haul, but it (probably) won’t be anytime soon…

>.<

My Must-Watch Noona Romances

*Must-Watch Korean Movies, Must-Watch Korean Dramas, &More*

By now, you girls know how much I love– and live my life likenoona romances!

So, here is my list of Must-Watch Noona Romances.

1. A Second Proposal

A Second Proposal~

A Second Proposal~

Starring Oh Yeon Soo and Oh Ji Ho, this is a blast-from-the-past Kdrama about a divorced woman who does her best to get her kids back and falls in love for the second time along the way. Get ready for one of the best soundtracks– if you’re a 90’s kid, and tons of antics and adventures!

2. I Do, I Do

I Do, I Do~

I have an entire blog post dedicated to this awesome-but-not-for-everyone Korean drama, and check it out to find out why!

(A one night stand, a baby, and two hunky leads duking it out over our spunky, sassy heroine! Oh, and shoes.)

3. Let’s Eat

Let's Eat!~

Let’s Eat!~

One of my favorite actresses– Lee Soo Kyung, stars in this fun, simple, down to earth story about a divorced woman living alone and her nosy neighbors living next door. Get ready for lot’s of food porn and some romance that is just as delicious!

4. Secret Love Affair

Secret Love Affair~

Secret Love Affair~

I have an entire blog post dedicated to this ultimate noona romance– they’re 20 years apart but that doesn’t stop their chemistry from being off the charts; but, check out the scenes and statements, or recaps as well!

5. Witch’s Romance

Witch's Romance~

Witch’s Romance~

Okay, this Korean drama hasn’t even started yet, but Uhm Jung Hwa is an amazing actress. This is bound to be an awesome and adventurous rom com noona romance.

So, what’s your must-watch noona romance?

It may or may not have made my list.

(Sorry I Need Romance 3!)

 

 

 

 

Secret Love Affair: Scenes and Statements from Episodes Three and Four

*Korean Drama Reviews, Recaps, &More*

Episode Two of Secret Love Affair ended with the following scene of madness and mayhem:

Oh Hye Won stepped on a very sticky mouse trap~

Oh Hye Won stepped on a very sticky mouse trap~

Lee Seon Jae came to the rescue as her cowardly husband took refuge in the car~

Lee Seon Jae came to the rescue as her cowardly husband took refuge in the car~

But, this damsel in distress didn't know whether to laugh or cry after she was saved~

But, this damsel in distress didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after she was saved~

And, Episode Three picks up right where we left off!

(Get ready for TONS of scenes and statements, because Episode Three is still my favorite so far! But, I’m only on Episode Five– still this drama just keeps getting better and better. I think I’ve watched each episode at least two or three times and some of them even more than that!)

Episode Three

Scene One

Lee Seon Jae carried Oh Hye Won to the toilet and stood by as she washed her feet with soybean oil.

Abashed~

Abashed~

And apologetic~

And apologetic~

And astounded~

And astounded~

… Astounded by her feet!

A good scrubbing turns him on~

A good scrubbing turns him on!~

Afterwards, she looks upset when he tells her to go home without getting the chance to listen to him play the piano, and she looks exactly like a little kid who was just told that Santa doesn’t exist.

She's not happy~

She’s not happy~

As she’s putting on her jacket and scarf, he asks her for her number, and she tells him to call the professor since he will be his teacher.

He immediately says that he doesn’t like that and begins to explain why.

But...~

But…~

The very long...

You’re my teacher!~

He says:

“You’re my teacher, because when I first met you that time, it was just decided… by destiny. Since I’ve been working as a delivery boy, I meet people that I don’t know every day, you know.  Except for a few regular customers, they’re all people that I’ve seen for the first time. They have nothing to do with me, and they don’t care about who I am– I mean, I don’t care about who they are either. 

But… you said that you wanted to listen to me play more, and you cared about who I am… and asked about how I’ve lived… and you played the piano with me, too. So, I felt like I was reborn that day.”

She listens to him carefully.

Yes~

The “I’m listening carefully” angle~

“My soul was reborn that day…

I’m being sincere.”

But, when he says that he’s being sincere, she’s shocked.

What did you just say to me?

What did you just say to me?

After all, that was quite the confession!

Scene Two

This scene had my DYING from laughter, but I have to give you some background information before I dive into it.

In Episode One, Lee Seon Jae and Oh Hye Won actually met in for the first time online, although neither of them knew it. She watched a video that he uploaded onto Youtube where he was playing the piano with hurt hands (only his hands and the piano were filmed), and she messaged him using her husband’s account to give him advice on how to fix them.

They began to chat, and she pretended to be a poor college hyung, or older brother. They continued to chat, and when Lee Seon Jae finally met Oh Hye Won, he quickly told his hyung about her– not knowing they were the same person.

So, when Oh Hye Won finds out that the hurt hands belong to Lee Seon Jae, she’s shocked again.

Oh My God!~

Oh My God!~

Screenshot 2014-04-07 21.13.57

This is not happening to me right now!~

What ensues is so unexpected and delightful that my toes curled.

Lee Seon Jae unknowingly pours his very young and very passionate heart out to Oh Hye Won from behind his own computer screen.

Oops~

Oops~

The steamy chat room~

Their steamy chat room~

Oh Hye Won is surprised and excited at first, and she doesn’t even try to reveal her true identity as they chat.

LSJ: Since hyung is majoring in music you know a lot of people in the field, right?

OHW: I don’t. Because I’m a horrible student.

LSJ: Try searching just once. (Oh Hye Won’s) skills are no joke…

LSJ: But the thing that really kills me is her charisma! It’s my first time seeing a woman like that. She’s scary and feisty and fun, but luxurious, too. I’m in total shock. What’s worse is that even her feet are pretty. If I told you that I fell for someone because of their feet would that make me weird? Has that ever happened to you, hyung?

OHW: What’s your point. You like her feet?

LSJ: No.

OHW: Then, what?

LSJ: The smell of a women. I might faint! I’ve lost it, right. Ah, I have to take the music college entrance exam tomorrow…

The more she finds out about how he feels about her, the more she’s troubled by those feelings. She looks at her feet and even smells the skin on her hands before trying to make light of a very serious matter.

OHW: So, what you’re saying is that you have the hots for her?

LSJ: No, if you say it like that then my feelings seem too cheap. What should I say, that… she’s captured my soul?

OHW: Soul?

LSJ: No, my body, my mind, my heart… everything.

OHW: Aren’t you going too far on your own?

LSJ: No. Never. Hyung, have you ever played Schubert’s Fantasia with a woman? 

OHW: … You did that, too?

LSJ: Yeah… 

OHW: How was it?

LSJ: It was just like climaxing. I’m still a virgin so I don’t really know about sex, but even if I do it for real, it couldn’t feel better than that. I gave everything to her, my goddess….

In the end, Oh Hye Won tells him to drink a cold glass of water before going to bed and logging off abruptly.

Well...~

Well…~

Her mind is blown, and her heart is shaken~

Her mind is blown, and her heart is shaken~

What does he see in her? Even she doesn't know~

What does he see in her? Even she doesn’t know~

She certainly got more than she bargained for with that conversation, but part of her enjoyed it, and that’s the part that she seems to be unable to come to terms with…

But, that doesn’t stop her from painting (one of) her toenails on a whim!

But, that doesn't stop her from painting her toenails, and in that moment she's suddenly more of a woman and less of a wife~

Suddenly, Oh Hye Won is more of a woman and less of a wife~

Scene Three

She goes to bed after painting (one of) her toenails.

Oh Hye Won and her husband share the same room but not the same bed~

Oh Hye Won and her husband share the same room but not the same bed~

But for some reason, she can't seem to fall asleep that night~

But, for some reason she can’t seem to fall asleep that night~

She goes back to the bathroom and erases the polish off her of toenail, calm and collected as always, but we’re beginning to see small cracks in her foundation.

Scene Four

Lee Seon Jae reminds Oh Hye Won of the world that she left behind and the things that she wanted to do.

But, at the moment he's stuffing his face.~

But, at the moment he’s stuffing his face.~

When he returns to the solo piano practice room, Oh Hye Won is fast asleep, so he does his best to close the door...~

When he returns to the solo piano practice room, Oh Hye Won is fast asleep, so he does his best to close the door…~

And take off her shoes~

And take off her shoes~

But, it's not as easy as he thinks!~

But, it’s not as easy as he thinks!~

And, the security guard is watching every one of his suspicious moves on screen~

And, the security guard is watching every one of his suspicious moves on screen~

Watching VERY closely~

Watching VERY closely~

Worried, he calls Oh Hye Won just as her shoe finally falls off and Lee Seon Jae walks away~

Worried, he calls Oh Hye Won just as her shoe finally falls off and Lee Seon Jae walks away~

After talking to the security guard, Oh Hye Won is a bit taken aback and asks him if he did something strange, like dancing.

Remember, she knows the he’s fallen head over heels for her, so despite his excuses, she’s not convinced; and, when she finally listens to him play the piano, she’s not impressed. She grabs a stick– a really big one.

Uh-oh~

Uh-oh~

BIG uh-oh!~

BIG uh-oh!~

He asks if he’s going to get hit, but she just tells him to unbuckle his pants. Then, when he asks if he’s going to get him with his clothes off she scoffs and says she’s going to teach him the way she learned.

She’s definitely enjoying herself.

Ooh~

Ooh~

But, he isn’t.

Ouch~

Ouch~

Scene Five

When Lee Seon Jae finally gets home, he’s so embarrassed by what happened that he yells at his mother after finding out that the hand warmer is gone since she threw it away. After all, it was broken like so many things in their home. They have a small fight before he goes to bed, and in the morning she disappears.

When he finally gets in touch with her on the phone, she tells him that she went out and found a hand warmer for him and will be home soon…

A mother will do anything for her son...~

A mother will do anything for her son, even run through the streets carelessly– her only thoughts of him and what he needs…~

But, then, his mom is gone, too– hit by a passing car as she crossed the street.

But, this isn't what Lee Seon Jae would have wanted~

The silence on the phone was the loudest sound Lee Seon Jae ever heard~

Scene Six

Lee Seon Jae disappears, even missing the exam he had been waiting for, perhaps for his whole life. Oh Hye Won is the one who finds him and finds out what has happened to him, but she’s unable to confront him at his mother’s funeral.

He's lost his mother~

He’s lost his mother~

And, her heart breaks...~

And, her heart breaks…~

For him~

For him~

In the end, she walks away; and, Lee Seon Jae finally sells his piano, the broken piano that his mother kept for him for so long. He enlists in the army, more changed– and lost, than anyone knows.

Life after death~

Life after death doesn’t always feel like living~

Scene Seven

It’s hard to tell how much time has passed, but one day while Lee Seon Jae is working for the government, he receives a package from Oh Hye Won.

He's surprised to see a package with his name on it~

He’s surprised to see a package with his name on it~

And, even more surprised that it's from Oh Hye Won~

And, even more surprised that it’s from Oh Hye Won~

He had already forgotten her, his dreams...~

He had already forgotten her, his dreams…~

Inside is a book about a famous pianist, and she underlined certain parts of the book that together, form a letter written to him.

Five~

One~

Four~

Two~

Three~

Three~

Six gratuitous pictures of Lee Seon Jae reading in bed~

Four gratuitous pictures of Lee Seon Jae reading in bed~

And, he reads her letter carefully:

“I hated school. There was nothing that I liked about school, and I hated that I was required to attend school.”

“But, I went back to school after reading my teacher’s letter. It said, ‘Come back. You are my best and brightest student.'”

“Although I had nowhere to stay, I always practiced wherever I could. Whether it was in a music classroom or at a friend’s house, I wasn’t picky. No matter where I slept, my bed wasn’t uncomfortable.”

“When I was inconveniencing my teacher and living in that small apartment, I slept underneath the piano.”

Finally, he breaks down and cries– touched and moved by her letter.

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Three gratuitous pictures of Lee Seon Jae crying~

Three gratuitous pictures of Lee Seon Jae crying~

Scene Eight

Meanwhile, Oh Hye Won and Seo Young Woo are at it again. This time, at a night where Oh Hye Won doesn’t want to be. When Seo Young Woo tries to get her to play, she reaches for a bottle…

Uh...~

Uh…~

… and smashes it against the table.

Oh~

Oh~

When they’re finally alone, Oh Hye Won says:

“Things like ethics and morality exist for a reason. If you break the traffic law, accidents will happen. Don’t pass the stop sign. … Clean things up. What’s the point of having a boyfriend that you buy with your money? … It’s an illness, a disease. Quit men and get the help that you need from somewhere else.”

But, Oh Hye Won does understand Seo Young Woo’s loneliness– her illness, her disease. She’s lonely, too, but she refuses to confront her feelings, herself.

As for Lee Seon Jae, he took her letter to heart. Watch what happens when she stumbles home, drunk, and finds out that he’s been waiting for her all night:

Episode Four

Episode Four also picks up right where Episode Three left off, but it’s as cold as the previous episode is hot. However, I still have a few favorite scenes and statements to share from this episode.

Scene One

Anticipation~

Anticipation~

And excitement~

And excitement~

But, she's about to push him away~

But, she’s about to push him away~

She pretends not to know why he's in her home~

She pretends not to know why he’s in her home~

And, she even says that she wouldn't have invited him to her home at this hour, so late at night~

And, she even says that she wouldn’t have invited him to her home at this hour, so late at night~

He's stunned~

He’s stunned~

But realizes what's going on soon enough~

But realizes what’s going on soon enough~

Finally, Lee Seon Jae says:

“I feel sorry towards the professor– I’m usually not the type to take an interest in another man’s woman.”

Then, Oh Hye Won slaps him firmly but almost weakly on the mouth and tells him that she’s just his teacher– that she likes him because he is talented; but, they both know that she’s lying.

He leaves just as the professor comes home, and their cars even pass each other outside.

*Whew*

Scene Two

This was my favorite scene from this episode, just because it was so unexpected, funny, and insightful.

She calls him~

She calls him~

And, she waits...~

And, she waits…~

And waits~

And waits~

But, he doesn't reply, and not because he's busy shoveling dirt but because he doesn't want to talk to her~

But, he doesn’t reply, and not because he’s busy shoveling dirt but because he doesn’t want to talk to her~

He's frustrated~

He’s frustrated~

Angry in fact~

Angry in fact~

And, the apparently awful piano music coming from the ballet class nearby finally sets him off~

And, the apparently awful piano music coming from the ballet class nearby finally sets him off~

He throws the shovel down and takes off~

He throws the shovel down and takes off~

Determined~

Determined~

He even takes off his shoes~

He even takes off his shoes before going inside, throwing the woman playing piano to the floor, and kicking the piano stool~

Lee Seon Jae has the most ridiculous argument with a the woman playing the piano, and much of what he says isn’t about her so much as himself:

“If you’re a human being, then there has to be some growth and development– things have to get better.”

Watch their argument (and fight) here:

Later, after he's been arrested, his friends visit him wearing some very interesting clothing: "Critical Psycho"~

Later, after he’s been arrested, his friends visit him wearing some very interesting clothing: “Critical Psycho”~

Scene Three

Oh Hye Won looks for Da Mi at the salon and later finds out that her boyfriend is Lee Seon Jae– and that he’s in big trouble.

She immediately starts to look for him, and when she finds him, she’s unsure of what to do.

Watching~

Watching~

He's unaware of her presence as he plays the piano with her in his mind~

He’s unaware of her presence as he plays the piano with her in his mind~

She's wondering~

She’s wondering~

His hands keep moving~

His hands keep moving~

And he's also wondering...~

And he’s also wondering…~

In the end, she arranges everything perfectly. They’re her puppets, and soon he’s out of jail and the professor thinks that it’s all his doing, his luck.

Little does he know that Lee Seon Jae is right back where he started– in his home, next to his wife.

OMG…

I love Love LOVE this drama, and I also am continuously amazed by the sounds and sights, the scenes and statements. The cinematography always shows us glimpses of the characters from behind panels and bars, as if we’re all just peeping toms on this secret love affair.

My “Must-Watch” Korean Variety Shows

*Must-Watch Korean Movies, Must-Watch Korean Dramas, &More*

When I first started learning Korean years ago, what kept me motivated was the thought of finally being able to watch Korean variety shows without needing English subtitles; and– now that I can, I watch tons of Korean variety shows. In fact, I watch at least one a day.

(At least one apple Korean variety show a day keeps the doctor away!)

Anyway, I’ve talked about Korean variety shows before in THIS post, but I haven’t talked about how much I love them or which ones you must watch– until now.

Mondays

Talk Show Hello

Talk Show Hello~

Talk Show Hello~

I loved this show ever since it first came out about three years ago, and I haven’t missed (too) many episodes.

Along with the four main MC’s there are also four different guest MC’s who range from Korean idols to Korean singers to Korean actors and actresses. Together, their job is to listen to four different stories from guests and decide whether or not they have something to be worried about.

What really drew me to this show from the very first episode when the members of 2PM were the guest MC’s was how open and honest it was. From race issues to gender stereotypes to sex problems, this show talks about it all!

Tuesdays

(Catch-up day!)

Wednesdays

A Tree That Doesn’t Fall Even If You Hit It Ten Times

The MCs

The MCs

I watch any show that Heo Kyung Hwan– one of my favorite Busan boys, is in, and this is his newest one that airs on jTBC, which is really stepping up its game with Secret Love Affair and tons of other new variety shows like this one.

I love this show because he and the three other MC’s are so funny, and they always talk about dating and relationships– Korean style.

Thursdays

Happy Together

Happy Together~

Happy Together~

I also watch any show that Yoo Jae Suk is in, and this is one of his oldest and longest running shows. I remember watching old episodes in 2008, and I’m still watching new ones now!

The wide variety of guests and funny, pro MC’s make it a must-watch every week.

Fridays

Kim Byungman’s Law of The Jungle

kbm

Kim Byung Man’s Law of The Jungle: The Papua Cast

One Korean comedian takes on the jungles of Africa, South America, and Asia with his guests, who soon become more than just guests but family as they struggle to survive without even the most basic necessities.

If you like Robinson Crusoe, National Geographic, and watching people hunt, cook, and eat (and build awesome tree houses, boats, and swings), then this show might be for you, too!

What I really love about it– apart from Kim Byung Man, are the interactions between the Korean cast and the very non-Korean tribes that they meet.

(Think “two different people, one love!”)

Saturdays

Infinity Challenge

Infinity Challenge~

Infinity Challenge~

I LOVE this show and have also been watching it since 2008 when I first got into all things Korean. Yoo Jae Suk, Park Myung Soo, Ha Ha, and more star on this show where it’s all about taking on new challenges from fun races to modeling to meeting Usain Bolt– together.

Sundays

Running Man

Running Man~

Running Man~

I haven’t missed an episode of this Korean variety show ever since it first started airing years ago, and it’s another one starring Yoo Jae Suk, Ha Ha, Kim Jong Kook and even Gary of LeeSsang.

Races, special guests, and one cast that just doesn’t know when to stop running, or ripping each other’s name tags off make for another must-watch show.

Did your favorite Korean variety make my must-watch list?

I’m also happily watching Dancing 9 Season 2 on Fridays, WGM on Saturdays, and Real Men on Sundays, but these shows aren’t on my must-watch list since I do skip episodes and parts.

But, if you want more and just can’t seem to get enough of Korean variety shows, then stay tuned for my list of “Must-Watch” Classic Korean Variety Shows.

It’ll definitely feature more blasts from the past!

Happy Endings

*Diary*

My ex-boyfriend was a butterfly that would always fly away if I didn’t pin him down; and, one day he flew too far away, and I couldn’t pin him down. He flew into the arms of someone else, and she pinned him down. His smile isn’t as bright as it used to be, but I like to think that he’s better off pinned down– settled down– married.

For years, there were many people passing in and out of my life, and I think I, too, was flying– floating– drifting… and fading away. We were all struggling to fulfill the promises of our youth, unaware of the promises we were breaking by living for what had already come and passed:

“Yet must I think less wildly: — I HAVE thought

Too long and darkly, till my brain became,

In its own eddy boiling and o’erwrought,

A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame:

And thus, untaught in youth my heart to tame,

My springs of life were poisoned. ‘Tis too late!

Yet am I changed; though still enough the same

In strength to bear what time cannot abate,

And feed on bitter fruits without accusing fate.”

– Lord Byron

If my ex-boyfriend taught me anything it was how to love someone other than myself. Only, without him it was impossible to love even myself, and I began to fly away, too, into the arms of all the wrong boys and men.

One day, she pinned me down with a New Year’s kiss, and even when she flew away, too, her pins and promises remained in my body. Afterwards, I realized that I had been surrounding myself with friends who were strangers in disguise.

After all, we couldn’t pin each other down, and we couldn’t promise each other anything but an unhappy ending– together yet apart.

Three years was a long time, and for the first time as I look at my friends and my family, it feels that way.

Over bulgogi burgers– we always have serious conversations over bulgogi burgers, one of my closest friends and I talked about the butterflies in our lives.

She’s still struggling to pin someone down, and I am, too; but, my closest friends and I– and I can count them on two hands with a few fingers left to spare, have all learned how to pin each other down with the promise of a happy ending– together even when we’re apart.

There will be more weekends like this one filled with dinner, drinks, and dancing– filled with laughter, shared glances, and arms linked in arms. We’ll say hello to new friends even as we say good-bye to old ones, but we’ll never forget those moments that turned into months and years, building layers and layers of friendship, of love.

We’ll never forget each other:

“그리고 어느날 첫사랑이 불어닥친다./ And one day your first love strikes.

그리고 어느날 기다리고 기다리던 사람이 온다./ And one day the person you’ve been waiting and waiting for comes.”

– 이성벅/Lee Seong Bok

When your first love strikes, when the person you’ve been waiting and waiting for comes, don’t fly away.

Pin each other down with promises of a happy ending– together even when you’re apart.

P.S.: This weekend Tao 2 and I were in the middle of a fight when he handed me flowers that he stole from the street. I dropped them, but he picked them up and gave them to me again. In that moment, I wondered what we were fighting about and smiled. Later, I listened more carefully to what he– the first boy to give me flowers, was trying to tell me instead of what I was trying– was wanting, to hear.

A lot of girls like to tell me that they would have taken more from him by now, but I learned a long time ago not to take more than what someone wants to give.

Youth IS short, but life is long; and, the people who live to be loved and to love are somehow forever young, forever capable of believing in happy endings…

^^

My Favorite Korean Hip Hop Artists &RNB Singers

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

Everyone always talks about Kpop and Korean idols, but they never really talk about Korean hip hop or Korean hip hop artists, Korean RNB or Korean RNB singers. Korean hip hop and Korean RNB are definitely different from Kpop and a genre all their own; so, this is definitely the MORE part of this category.

And, although there are Korean idols who rap and sing, they’re also definitely different from REAL Korean hip hop artists and REAL Korean RNB singers.

(Except for Zico of Block B and a few other idols like Suga who have actually released mix tapes, etc.!)

So, here are some of My Favorite Korean Hip Hop Artists &RNB Singers. You might recognize a few of them from Korean variety shows like Running Man and Superman Returns, but you might not recognize any of them at all.

I fell for the lyrics and rhythm of their music– not their looks, so I hope you like their music (and them), too!^^

Korean Hip Hop Artists

Tymee aka E.via and Napper

tymee

Tymee~

Recommended Albums: E.via a.k.a. Happy Evil and E.Viagradation Part 1 (Black & Red)

LeeSsang

Gary and Gil of Leessang~

Gary and Gil of Leessang~

Recommended Albums: Hexagonal and Asura Balbalta

Beenzino

Beenzino~

Beenzino~

Recommended Albums: 24:26 and Jazzy Fact

Geeks

Louie and Lil' Boi of Geeks~

Louie and Lil’ Boi of Geeks~

Recommended Albums: Backpack and Officially Missing You

Verbal Jint

Verbal Jint~

Verbal Jint~

Recommended Albums:  10 Years of Misinterpretation and Go Easy

Tablo

Tablo~

Tablo~

Recommended Albums: Fever’s End Part 1 and Fever’s End Part 2

Jay Park

jp

Jay Park~

Recommended Albums: Take a Deeper Look and New Breed

(Don’t forget to read my fan account: Jay Park: Live, Ripped, &In Concert!)

Zico

Zico~

Zico~

Recommended Albums: Zico on The Block 1.5 and Zico on The Block

Korean RNB Singers

Yoon Mi Rae aka Tashannie, Tasha, and T

Yoon Mi Rae~

Yoon Mi Rae~

Recommended Albums: As Time Goes By and T Best

ONE WAY

ONE WAY~

ONE WAY~

Recommended Albums: One Way Street and Rainy Days

Did your favorite Korean hip hop artist or RNB singer make the list?

I just hope that I didn’t forget anyone!

*Whew*