Hello guys! We’re in for a treat today because I’ve asked my good friend (and fellow Kdrama addict) Mj Uy-Morelos for a guest post on Netflix and tVN’s recent smash hit Crash Landing on You, featuring the power duo of Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin. Mj followed the series (as well as watched all the BTS clips about the show for ten weeks so she is whom I consider an authority on the drama. I thank my lucky stars that she obliged and sent me this amazing article. Enjoy the read and make sure to follow her on her blog: https://memoriesofagoldfishincarnate.wordpress.com/
Crash Landing on You is a rare gem in the K-drama mill.
It’s really not surprising how this show, another rom-com masterpiece by screenwriter Park Ji-eun, became overwhelmingly a favorite by veteran K-drama fans and newbies. It has all the trappings of success: it has a fantastic plot set against the backdrop of Switzerland’s snow-capped mountains and romantic lakes and the cloistered world of North Korea on the other end; a powerhouse cast that delivered lines that pulled at the heartstrings (I’ve never ugly cried watching a K-drama before), and of course, the undeniable chemistry and swoon-worthy romance between our current favorite OTP Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin, who breathed new life into the star-crossed lovers trope.
But more than the stunning sights and sounds (even the OST is impressive it can evoke feelings of saudade) this drama displayed, the relatable life lessons it dispensed in between large doses of “kilig” moments, the humor, hijinks and heartbreaks of our favorite charactersmake it all the more endearing and so much harder to let go.
Here are the little nuggets of wisdom that resonated with me throughout the series:
- Compassion and kindness help people see the goodness in themselves.
In more ways than one, Seo Dan was Seung-joon’s knight in shining armor. She plucked him out of tough and precarious situations, gave him a home, cooked for him despite the lack of skill, and offered a listening ear for his checkered past. Because of Seo Dan, he found love and the yearning to turn over a new leaf. In the end, he chose to make the ultimate sacrifice so that she may live. My heart shattered to see this couple not getting a second chance at love but it somehow consoled me to know that they became each other’s redemption—for Seo Dan from her unrequited love for Ri Jeong-Hyeok and for Seung-joon, from his lonely and vengeful self.
Man Bok’s narrative was also a poignant story of kindness and compassion. Doing the dirty job for the North Korean government, he earned the moniker “The Rat” and was treated just like that by his comrades, except for Jeong-hyeok’s brother Moo-hyeok, who offered him nothing but genuine friendship. It was this kindness and sincerity so rare in the life of a lowly wiretapper that later on moved Man Bok, while gripped by guilt of helping engineer his friend’s murder, to tell the truth and become an instrument to Cho Cheol-kang’s downfall.
- True friends will shine bright in our darkest hours.
Trust the village ahjummas and the Company 5 to shake offthe jitters and draw belly laughswhen we’re already on the edge of our seats. But more than being the drama’s comic relief, these characters have shown us the warmth and the kind of friendship we need in our lives. We will meet a lot of people in our lifetime but only a few will stick around during our lowest moments. This holds true for Young-ae when her husband was arrested and the family was put under strict surveillance. But her chingus courted danger to make sure she didn’t feel alone, bringing her food to eat and chopped wood to keep her warm. On the other hand, Jeong-hyeok’s men proved that they were not just his mere subordinates but friends whom he can depend on as well. Remember how they refused to catch the bus home when they had the chance so they can help Jeong-hyeok protect Se-ri from Cheol-kang and his gang? How about when the Military Director was ready to fire his gun at Jeong-hyeok and all five instantly surrounded him ready to take the bullet? True friends, indeed.
- Self-care is a necessity.
Se-ri had unhealthy habits and tendencies and Jeong-hyeok was very concerned about these. So, before he crossed the border back home, he meticulously created reminders through timed text messages how Se-ri can go through each day in good health until fate brings them back together. We can take Jeong-hyeok’s advice to heart too: to at least eat an apple before going to work; take a 30-minute walk every day; eat meals happily with others; stretch and exercise in between work; appreciate the flowers that bloom and enjoy the dishes that are best during each season, and to never miss the small happiness that you can find in your everyday life.
Life is tough but we should give ourselves a break. This drama warmly showed us that through simple things, we can and should take care of our ourselves.For only when we learn how to love ourselves can we truly give and receive the love we deserve.
- There is happiness in simplicity.
In the digital age when almost everything is at our fingertips, it’s easy to fall into the vicious cycle of amassing and wanting more to get instant happiness and gratification. But our heroine, Se-ri taught us that wealth and popularity cannot fix a lonely heart. When she made it back to South Korea, she was surprisingly miserable, missing the simplicity of the little North Korean village with Jeong-hyeok. Her posh apartment and soft, cushiony bed suddenly felt cold and big for her. While relishing in the luxuries of her old life, she caught herself thinking about boiling water in cauldrons and even the nightly blackouts and surprise inspections.
When we are consumed with our frustrations for not getting what we want, let’s think about the Company Five, whose idea of splurging was a body scrub at the jjimjilbang, a coin noraebang, a hot bar and ramyeon at the convenience store, or downloading online game items or K-drama videos. They graciously rebuffed the lures of comfort—unbroken supply of electricity, hot water, friend chicken and fries—to return to their simple lives with loved ones back in their homeland.
- Love is also in the small things.
Hands down, Se-ri and Jeong-hyeok proved to us that love is so powerful—the kind that can leap heavily guarded fences, conquer barriers and penetrate a stubborn and treacherous political conflict. But they also showed us how love can be a formidable force even in the littlest of things: offering a shoulder for a sleepy or tipsy head,giving backhugs, spelling out “I love you’s” using book titles’ first syllables (this is really one for the books), building a surprise Christmas tree with handmade paper ornaments, filling up an empty cupboard with food and making sure they’re within reach.
Now, cue in that song Jeong-hyeok wrote and plays on the piano and think about the many little signs of love we’ve not acknowledged. I hope that like Se-ri, it helps you pull through and make you want to live and receive the love from those we love.