How a K-Drama Changed My Life


I LOVE, I mean absolutely LOVE a good Korean drama. I was hesitant at first to get into them. It wasn’t even the language issue. I’m an avid reader and have watched my share of movies with subtitles. I think the hesitation was whether or not I would be able to understand cultural references and be loss in the sauce. It all started with my friend Crystal. She would post clips of different dramas on her Facebook page and those clips always caught my attention to ask more questions. I would ask what the show was about and the context of the clip. She would always say” How about you just watch it?”. I would always say NO! LOL. Then she would go again with another post. Then here I would go again with the questions. So finally around 2017 I watched my first drama, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, and I fell down the rabbit hole. Why you ask? Because they give you all the drama, suspense and laughs in about one hour and 16-24 episodes. No long drawn out story lines that can take months and years to come to a conclusion or no resolution at all. Or rather no chance of the series being cancelled right in the middle of a season. Then you’re left wondering who shot the boss, will they or will they not hook up and will the mystery person come out of their coma.

If, you’ve taken the time to read my “About Me” page and hopefully you did, you know that I’m a little older than a Millennial. Okay, okay, maybe a bit more than that, but I’ve been on this planet long enough where I’ve been through my share of trials and tribulations. I’ve had to make life choices that were for the good of others and not for myself. Scarified wants over needs and try not to regret those decisions. Sometimes you find yourself stuck and unsure of how to step forward, even when you know your life has to. For me, Romance Is A Bonus Book was the drama that woke me up and made me put my ass into gear to step forward and onward.

When a drama is a little too real

*****Warning: Spoilers about RIABB******

Romance Is a Bonus Book (RIABB) follows the story of 37 year old Kang Dani who finds herself needing to go back into the work force after her marriage falls apart . She has taken a 10 year hiatus from her career in Advertisement to raise her daughter and support her husband. The problem is the business world has changed in the 10 years since she’s been in the industry. She finds herself facing the reality of not being up to date with new technology, a 10 year gap in her resume and ageism. After months of job interviews and being turned down, Dani has to make a tough choice. She down plays her ivy league education, and previous job experience to take a job as an office manager at a book publishing company. A contract position, not permanent, with no benefits. Most of her peers are at least 10 or more years younger than her, yet she looks at this as a challenge to grow and learn.

There are two reasons why I relate so much to her story. First, I’ve been in the same job for over 20 years. For years I’ve been completely unhappy and dread going to work. I was scared to make a change because I would most likely have much younger coworkers and start from scratch. Although I have a wealth of knowledge and life experience, some industries are un-forgiven with age. Watching Dani go through her trials and have such a positive attitude made me realize I have to start somewhere., even if it’s going to be difficult and challenging. One of my biggest fears is not being able to adjust to working in a new environment and new industry. IN RIABB Dani on a daily basis pushed through and finds new ways to not only to learn from her dongsaengs (younger peers), but also contribute in her own way. The youngsters may be well verse in new technology and techniques, but Dani realizes that although she’s out of her element she has something to offer. That her wisdom and life experience of the world can not be taught at university.

Wait, There’s a Twist….

Now of course with any really good drama there has to be a twist, if not several throughout the course of the 16+ episodes. One of the main twist is that Kang Dani’s best friend from childhood Cha Eun Ho, has been secretly in love with her for YEARS. He’s always been by her side, helped her get the job at his company and even keeps the secret of her education and job experience. While keeping their friendship a secret at work, Dani has contend with Eun Ho being her boss even though he is a few years younger.

Of course now we need a love triangle. Dani has caught the attention of a well known graphic artist, Ji Seo Joon, who is about 7 years younger than her. Of course for a recent divorcee this catches her off guard. All of sudden Dani goes from a husband who left her, to two younger men competing for her attention.

Now in no way, shape or form, has this brown girl found herself so lucky as Kang Dani to have two younger men compete for my love and attention. However over the past few years I have found myself catching the attention of younger men. At a time when I don’t feel my best, making serious life chances and not feeling very confident about it. However, this new found attention has been a real confidence booster. You see throughout RIABB Dani finding not only confidence in her abilities as a worker to an ever changing workforce, but also as a new woman ready for new challenges. Watching Dani go through this I found my own experiences staring right back at me, just with a Korean face.

What I Learned

I learned that regardless of race or nationality, women all over the world go through the same experiences. We go through the same type of concerns, heartaches and fears. I learned, from all places a Korean Drama, that I have to be my own cheerleader when life gets too hard. That fear will only get in my way and that sometimes stepping through those fears makes me stronger and helps me grow.

Throughout Kang Dani’s journey in Romance Is A Bonus Book, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that sometimes you have to take one step back to move forward. She took a job that based on her education, she was way over qualified for. Yet, she knew she had to start somewhere and stepped through the fear just for the opportunity. She found ways to learn from her younger peers at the same time showing she had something to offer as well. She also allowed herself to think outside the box. Not allowing social stereotypes of age get in the way of finding new love. If I am so lucky, my personal episode 16 will look very much like Dani’s! Bring it on!

If you’re interested take a look at the trailer:

Until next time….

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