Reality & Truth
The Chairman Chun tells Congressman Park while playing mahjong together that he hasn’t yet decided whether he’s going to invest in the Great Hotel, but one thing he is sure about is that he’s not going to invest in Hyun Ki-joon’s World Hotel.
Ki-joon comes to visit the Chairman Chun in the episode 13, time 13:15, and the chairman tells Ki-joon that he cannot do business with a man who lies about the life’s most important matter, the marriage.
Ki-joon explains, “The reason why I lied about our marriage was because of our love for each other, and likewise the reason why I didn’t tell you the truth was to protect her. For both of us, even though the words were lies, our hearts spoke the truth. I also didn’t realize until now that the reality and the truth can be different.” “The reality… and the truth?”
“Even now when I have lost much due to one moment’s lie, my truth remains the same… that in order to gain one person’s love, I’m prepared to lose everything else. However, my business offer has no lies, thus I beg you to reconsider and reexamine it.” Obviously moved by Ki-joon’s heartfelt statements, the Chairman Chun promises to do just that.
Romancing the Pen
In the episode 13, time 19:27, Ah-jung at work gets a call from Ki-joon, who is in his car returning from the meeting with the Chairman Chun. She moves to a corner of the office, “Since I can’t talk to you the way I want to with other people around, I moved to a corner.” She laughs cutely, “Where are you?”
“I’m on my way back after a yahk-soak*.” *(Yahk-soak (약속) means a promise, but Koreans use it to also mean a promised or previously arranged meeting, but there is no distinction between business or personal meeting)
Puckering her lips cutely, “What kind of yahk-soak?” “It’s a secret.”
Her expression no longer amused, “A secret? Now, I’m really going to get mad.” He chuckles, “This was a genuine business meeting.” Smiling, she pretends to suspect, “Ah, sounds like a woman.” With whom he had a business meeting today. “If it was a woman, do you think I’d even bothered to go?”
She gets impatient, “Ah, who is it already? You’re being really suspicious.” Chuckling again, “(It was) just a foreign guest.” She’s quick, “Chairman Chun?”
“Are you sure you’re not suffering the consequences of us not revealing the truth about our marriage?”
“It’s not anything like that, so don’t worry, and go straight home after work because… other guys might steal you away if you wander the streets.”
She smiles oh-so-affectionately, “Ok~ay. Bye.”
After hanging up, Ah-jung pouts and worries, “He doesn’t sound very good.” Meaning he sounds worried.
In the episode 13, time 24:15, while Ki-joon is busy going over the business proposal for the Chairman Chun in his office with his secretary, Ah-jung has brought some work home but she keeps looking at her cell phone. Finally she sends Ki-joon a text message while chuckling, Came* home right after work lest someone kidnap me.
*(Wat-suh-yong (왔어용) means ‘came (home),’ but instead of the usual –yo ending, the – yong ending makes it sound like a cute baby talk. That’s why Ki-joon was grinning like a little kid. The content was funny, but the way she wrote it was even cuter, not to mention the two heart signs)
It’s also funny when she says after she’s done typing, “Okay, I’ll send you hearts, too.” The tone was like, ‘Ah, okay. I feel generous today.’
Instead of ‘Calm before the storm,’ the episode 13 is more like ‘Die from cuteness before the storm.’ I will get into ‘the storm’ a little later. There are so many cute moments between our lovebirds in this episode that it is nearly impossible to mention all of them, but this next scene is especially cute.
When Ah-jung walks out of her work building after work in the episode 13, time 32:09, she finds Ki-joon waiting for her. Glad to see him, she walks up to him, “You didn’t go home yet?”
“No. I got too tired because of a certain person.”
Cutely, “If you’re so tired, why didn’t you just go home?”
“Because if I go home, I’m sure I’ll miss you. And missing you makes me more tired.”
Smiling, she says, “Chi.” (What you say when you find it hard to believe or feel is exaggerated. Also to express displeasure)
He steps closer to her, “Come with me to this place for a little while.” Stops smiling, “At this late hour? I can’t, I have to go home.” Earnestly, “Call your father, I’ll ask him… to lend me his daughter for one night*.” *(He actually says ‘ha-roo (하루)’ which means 24 hours – the word inherently makes no distinction about day or night, but contextually ‘one night’ makes more sense here)
Smiling, she playfully hits him, “You’re crazy.” Not smiling, he steps forward and caresses her cheek tenderly with his hand, “Tonight… I (just) want to be with you.” She feels his sudden change in mood, and she tries to lighten the tension with her smile, “What are you doing?” He suddenly chuckles, “I mean, let’s go sweat. Get in.”
She smiles, “Sweat?” Then she chuckles, too. (By sweat, he means jjim-jil-bang (찜질방) which is a large public sauna, having both hot and cold saunas as well as hot bath, heated floor for lounging and sleeping, separate sleeping quarters, etc. It literally means a place with heated bath)
In his car, Ah-jung calls her father, “Ah-ppa. (Intimate, familiar way to call your father, like daddy) It looks like I might not make it home tonight.” Her father wants to know, “Uh? Why?” “I have too much work. I’ve told you yesterday.” While telling this blatant lie, she looks at Ki-joon, who can’t help but smile.
Her daddy gives her a fatherly advice, “If you work all night, you’ll ruin your body. (So) be careful.”
“Don’t worry. Goodnight.”
“Ah… Daddy will also be late due to a lot of school work. Call me if you have any problem.”
“Okay, I understand.” Here, she talks in military tone for fun, but she smiles and softens when she tells him, Bye.
“Why didn’t you tell him you were with me?” Ki-joon wants to know. “It’s not like I’m taking you to a weird place or anything.” “But even so, I still feel uncomfortable (telling him it’s with you, just yet).” “By the way, did your father say anything about me?” Smiling cutely, “No. Not particularly.”
Surprised, “Not particularly? Wasn’t I the first man to call upon your father?” Without missing a beat, “Of course you are not the first.” His voice rising, “I am not the first?” Teasing him, “Hah! He thinks he’s the first. (How absurd.)”
He looks shocked, and she smiles and touches him affectionately, “I was just kidding.” “You sure he didn’t say anything particular?” About him. “Well, you know, only the usual things like, ‘I didn’t care much for him’ kind of thing.” He yells at her, “Ah, really!” Laughing, “I was kidding,” She touches his arm soothingly, and he cools down. She teases him. “You are so cute. You are cute when you’re mad.” He can’t help but chuckle at her loving observation.
In the episode 13, time 43:14, is another cute conversation between the two lovebirds. Ki-joon sits on the bleachers, and Ah-jung runs and sits down next to him, “You can’t come to visit so often.” Apparently it’s at her work.
“It’s not like I came at an inappropriate time.” “I’m just worried about other people seeing us…” “Then, let them know dahng-dahng-ha-gae*.” About him. *(dahng-dahng-ha-gae or -ha-da (당당하다) means proudly, without shame)
She tells him with a serious expression, “I can’t. Not yet.” Surprised, “Why not? Are you ashamed of me?” She hesitates, and he takes it the wrong way, “Wow! (Yah!)** I remember when you used to proudly lie to your friends that we were married.”
Cutely, “Stop it. I just don’t think now is the right time to reveal our relationship.”
Frustrated, “Tell me why we can’t?”
Proudly, “Because I’m a civil servant.”
Pouting, “I guess civil servants only work and are not allowed to eat or date. The government workers I know seem do whatever they want to.”
“If we were to date openly, don’t you know what’s going to happen?”
Innocently, “I don’t know.”
“You really don’t know?”
He doesn’t say anything, and she elaborates, “The news will be plastered all over the newspaper and other media, and it’s sure to cause all kinds of ruckus. And never mind the effect it’ll have on me, whether you realize it or not, you are a gong-in*.” *(Gong-in (공인) is a public figure who is recognizable or well-known)
He doesn’t think so, “You are the one who’s a gong-in, because you’re a gong-moo-won.*” *(Gong-moo-won (공무원) is a civil servant, and thus is a public worker, but as a ‘public servant’ calling her a gong-in is a stretch)
Smiling, “It’s not very funny, you know.” But she appears to think the joke was very funny. He smiles warmly along with her. He suddenly lets out a deep sigh, “Ah. I have a big problem.”
Alarmed, “Why?”Grinning, “Because I miss you.” Suddenly becoming shy but happy, “What do you mean? How can you miss me when I’m right next to you?”
He tells her that he’s going to China this evening. Not happy, “Why?” “What do you mean, why? That’s what businessmen do. They are supposed to go to places like China, Japan, and Paris.” Pouting, “When are you coming back?” Pretending to be gloomy, “In about a year.” Smiling but sounding serious, “Don’t kid around like that. Tell me, when? And why are you telling me something like that now?”
Breaking out into a wide apologetic smile, “Sorry. It suddenly came up. You know, I’ll have to travel a lot in the future. What are you going to do?” Teasing him, “What can I do? Whenever you travel, I’ll just have to play around with other guys.” Threateningly, “You’d better not.”
She gives him a sweet smile, and he relents, “I’ll be right back.” From the trip. Also becoming solemn, “Okay. Have a safe trip. But really, when do you come back?” “I don’t know. I’ll know once I get there.”
In a regrettable tone she smiles, “Ah. I can’t even give you a hug since we are so close to my office.” He smiles and looks at her affectionately, “I’m going to go. Bye.” When he has gone a few steps ahead, she waves, “Bye.” He turns around and smiles, looking as though he doesn’t want to leave. The way she smiles at him, I’m sure, certainly doesn’t help him, either.
*(Yah (야) is an exclamation used to express surprise or happiness. In this case, it’s more to express surprise and unexpected disappointment. Similar words are Wah (와) or ooh-ah (우아) which is an exclamation to express feelings of incredulousness or unexpected happiness such as ‘Wow’ as in ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.’)
In the episode 13, time 45:34, it’s that evening, and Ki-joon is at the airport. It’s near departure time, and he thinks about calling Ah-jung but decides not to, probably because he doesn’t want to pressure her or force her to come say farewell to him. As he stands in line to depart, Ah-jung jumps in front of him, seemingly out of nowhere.
He is surprised, “How did you…” Smiling widely, she teases him, “You know it looks very suspicious to go on a business trip alone. Where will you be sleeping?” She wants to make absolutely certain that he’s not sleeping with a harem or something. (Not really.) He finds her so adorable, he can’t help but laugh.
She gives him the pen, “Here. Take this.” It’s the same World Hotel pen that she used as an excuse to see a movie with him. Taking the pen, he’s curious, “What is this?” She explains, “I didn’t realize this before, but this pen is a good-luck pen. This pen has played a special role in our relationship, thus a good-luck pen.”
The words, a good-luck pen, jog his memory, and he smiles, “You still kept this pen?” “If you have a chance to sign, use this pen. It’ll bring you luck.” She means signing a contract with Chairman Chun. He smiles gratefully, “Thank you.” And she smiles back, showing a hint of shyness at his open gratitude.
The overhead announcement that the flight to China is now boarding blares, and he tells her, “It looks like I have to go in.” She nods but looks somewhat sad, and he reminds her, “It’s not like the dramas where I’m leaving to study abroad or something, you know.”
Her smile reaching all the way to her eyes, she tells him, “Have a good trip. And call me when you get back.” She touches his lapel as if she doesn’t want to let him go yet, and he takes her hand, “Call me. Roaming should work.”
Holding hands together, he starts to walk past her. Their reluctance to let go of each other’s hand leads to almost slow-motion detachment of their hands culminating in the momentary clinging of their fingers before they playfully separate. She calls out the last goodbye, and he, smiling like a kid, holds up the pen for her to see. She smiles back while waving goodbye.
Two of the corrupt directors who were dismissed by Ki-joon retaliate by leaking to the press news about how the World Hotel CEO Hyun Ki-joon has put his company at jeopardy in an attempt to acquire Shanghai investment rights by lying about his marital status and in the process possibly embarrass the image of Korea as a nation.
In the episode 13, time 55:40, Ki-joon’s aunt asks Ah-jung to return him back to the way he was, before the scandal. She tells Ah-jung that he cannot be ruined “because of Gong Ah-jung.” Ah-jung tells her, “I understand what you are saying very well. I’m sorry. I’ve never even imagined that one trivial lie could escalate into something this big. I was short-sighted, and I apologize for that.”
In the episode 13, time 56:48, sitting on the cheery blossom lane bench, Ah-jung thinks about what Ki-joon’s aunt told her, “If you truly care for Ki-joon, help him so that he may stand tall again. Even now it’s not too late to restore his reputation if you help.”
Ah-jung whimpers and cries, not because she has to give up the man she loves, but because she knows she has to give up the job she loves for the man she loves. It’s a choice she will make every time, but I’m sure it still hurts.
In the episode 13, time 01:03:00, Ah-jung shows up at the World Hotel where all the reporters have camped outside of Ki-joon’s office and announces to them that the President Hyun Ki-joon did not lie. “That lie was started by me.” That statement prompts all the reporters to converge on Ah-jung and Manager Park. Ah-jung continues, “This all started because I said I was married to President Hyun Ki-joon.”
One of the reporters wants to know her name and identification. Another wants to know the reason or purpose behind the lie, and how she approached him, etc. After telling them about how one innocent lie with her friend started all this, she tells them that “Mr. Hyun Ki-joon’s hands were tied as the rumor has already spread everywhere. Thus, he could not reveal the truth even to the Chairman Chun couple. I started this entire problem. Mr. Hyun Ki-joon had done nothing wrong.”
One reporter asks her, “Why did President Hyun Ki-joon continue to go along with your plan?” She tells him, “Because I was afraid that my lie would be exposed, I unilaterally proposed to help him with the Chairman Chun investment issue in return for a contract from him to keep my lie a secret.”
But when more tough questions start to come in, such as: Is it true then that you approached him with an ulterior motive? What exactly were you trying to obtain? Can you give us the details of the contract? – Manager Park gives her men a silent signal to intervene to cut short the interrogation while she gently leads Ah-jung out of the room.
Of course, Ki-joon doesn’t want to “hide behind a woman’s skirt,” but not only his aunt but also Manager Park convinces him of the wisdom behind the plan. Manager Park asks him to think about all the employees of the World Group and tells him that if she were in his shoes, she can be even more “cowardly” than this and reminds him that these very words were what he has taught her as the “surviving” wisdom.
He tells her that he can’t do it. She tells him, then he should step down from his position because he doesn’t deserve it. When he looks at her speechless, she asks him, “Why? You can’t give it up? Then, please don’t do anything. ”
Proclamation of Love
Well, Ki-joon doesn’t exactly stay quiet. He has something up his sleeve in the episode 14, time 27:18, when he, while holding unsuspecting Ah-jung’s hand, stands in front of a large advertising structure as crowds start to gather around them in the bustling downtown area.
Ah-jung asks Ki-joon, “How long do we have to stand like this?” “It’s not time yet.” She’s getting anxious, “Why are we doing this? This is so embarrassing.” “Have patience. Just wait a little bit more.” Impatiently, “Can’t you see? Everyone’s staring at us.” “I want them to look.”
Once he feels that enough people have gathered around them, he takes her up to the makeshift podium, and standing tall while still holding her hand, he shouts his love proclamation, “I LOVE… THIS WOMAN!”
Everybody starts to clap and cheer. Holding her hand high with his, he shouts again, “I LOVE… GONG AH-JUNG… VERY, VERY MUCH!”
The crowd goes wild, and flustered Ah-jung tries to stop Ki-joon to no avail. He raises her hand again and shouts, “I, HYUN KI-JOON… LOVE GONG AH-JUNG… WITH ALL MY HEART!”
Ah-jung starts to cover her eyes in embarrassment, while the crowd cheers him on. He doesn’t disappoint them, “IF I DON’T SEE HER EVEN FOR A DAY, I FEEL LIKE DYING FROM MISSING HER!”
The crowd goes even wilder, and he even gets a shy smile from Ah-jung for that remark. Ki-joon puts his arm around Ah-jung’s shoulder and shouts, “I REALLY LOVE THIS WOMAN!”
Ah-jung buries her face in her hands from embarrassment, while standing proudly Ki-joon flashes a victory (or peace) sign and a triumphant smile as people continue to clap, cheer, and take pictures and videos.
Yoon-joo is not at all happy about the spectacle she watches on her laptop, but almost everybody else, even the ice woman, Manager Park, are impressed. In the episode 14, time 30:30, Manager Park gives Ki-joon a funny half-cocked smile in his office, “This was your idea, wasn’t it?” as she hands him a newspaper article titled, World Hotel President Hyun Ki-joon, shouts “I love you!” on the street.
He tries to change the subject, but she tells him, “You are something else. Now you don’t have to give any press report, somehow restored your battered image, and Miss Gong Ah-jung no longer has to suffer. That was the classic Hyun Ki-joon that I know (and admire). You were meticulous and precise.”
Calmly, “Don’t overanalyze it. It just sort of worked out that way, that’s all.”
Quizzically, “It just worked out?”
“It’s all because I’ve become crazy… about a woman named Gong Ah-jung.”
Manager Park, perhaps for the first time since I’ve been watching her, smiled prettily like a woman, “You always manage to teach me something new. You make me regret my harsh words from yesterday… and you make me respect you.” He just chuckles lightheartedly but appreciatively.
She’s not finished, “But as for Miss Gong Ah-jung, instead of making her love you, as a fellow woman, I wish you just love her.” Ki-joon calls Manager Park before she leaves to meet him after work.
The reason why I like Gong Ah-jung character so much is eloquently expressed by her boyfriend in the episode 14, time 34:00. Sitting in an outside café by the river, Manager Park asks Ki-joon, “You must really love Miss Gong Ah-jung a lot.” He doesn’t deny it.
Sporting I’m-curious smile, she asks him, “What is it about her that you like so much?” He becomes reflective, “She is careless, impulsive, and not meticulous at all, but she is really candid and soon-soo-hae*. She’s like a kid sometimes. I think she lives by feeling everything with her heart instead of with her head. It is as if she grew up in a different world than mine.” *(Soon-soo-hae or –ha-da (순수해) means being pure, genuine, and innocent)
The Man or his Money
Ah-jung, thanks to Ki-joon, has become an overnight celebrity as evidenced by a camera-flashing throng in a mall in the episode 14, time 35:26. Ki-joon works his way through the crowd to stand next to Ah-jung who is window browsing.
He asks her facetiously, “Who is this beautiful woman? Wah (Wow)! You are really gorgeous.” Ah-jung smiles happily but playfully hits him out of embarrassment, “Stop it.” Feeling the gaze from the horde of people, she feels self-conscious, “Should we go somewhere else?”
He either doesn’t care or is clueless. He takes her hand, “Why? You have a certain place in mind? Where do you want to go? Should we go to a movie or have some food?” She tells him pointedly, “It’s not very charismatic for a man dating to ask such things, you know. A man should take charge and just go, go, go.” As if he never heard of such thing, “You think so?”
She extracts her hand from his grip, and he seems puzzled, “What’s the matter?” Looking self-conscious, “It looks like they recognize us, don’t they?” The crowd. He looks around and appears to be happy about it, “Of course. Why wouldn’t they when our faces were plastered all over the newspapers? The next time, I’m going to advertise to the world, so that no man will come within a mile of you.”
Smiling and frowning at the same time, “You are embarrassing me. Let’s go.” And she grabs his hand, shields her eyes, and leads him away from the crowd.
In the next scene, time 36:27, Ah-jung and Ki-joon are prisoners in his own car. Ah-jung complains that they can only date inside of a car from now on.
“The other people bother you that much?” The other people staring at her.
“Yes. I want to be able to drink tea, see a movie, and hold hands like other people.”
He has a brilliant idea, “Then should we go abroad?” She frowns, “How can you think that when you barely have enough time to do this?” He has an even better idea, “Then should I just take this opportunity and stop working?” She thinks like a wife, “Are you crazy? Why do you want to quit a job that good?”
It occurs to him, “Wait. Do you like me or my job?” Sweetly, “You really don’t know?” He gives her a blank look, “No, I don’t know.” Lightheartedly, “Both.” He looks at her with a slight frown. She brightens up and squeals, “Oh, you’re so cute.” She lightly touches both of his cheeks, “I think you look the cutest when you’re like this.”
She continues to look at his face playfully, and he relaxes, “Well, from tomorrow on, you’d have to conform to my schedule.” Smiling, “Whatever you say.” He smiles at her fondly.
The Piggyback Ride
After getting the news that she’s been fired from her job, Ah-jung runs out of the dinner party and in the process loses both of her shoes. Ki-joon chases after her and asks her why, but she doesn’t tell him the real reason why she’s so upset.
In the episode 15, time 02:00, he squats in front of her and asks her to get on his back for a piggyback ride. When she doesn’t move, he asks her again to get on, “because you’re barefooted.” He grabs her hand, and she complies. He remarks, “Come to think of it, this is the first time I’m giving you a piggyback ride.” Sniffling yet still, she agrees, “You’re right.”
“Happy?” The piggyback ride. She nods, yes. “Uum.” Teasing, “But you are a little heavier than I thought.” Her voice choking a little, “I am sorry.”
“For being heavy. For burdening you like this.” I think she means burdening him emotionally as well.
Smiling, “I was just kidding. You’re not heavy at all.”
Sounding choked up again, “Liar.”
“I’m serious. I wish I could give you a piggyback like this every day.”
About his Aunt
You know, I’ve always felt that Ki-joon’s aunt was contemporary thinking and basically a decent person. When Ah-jung was willing to give up her career for her man, I thought the aunt looked at Ah-jung with admiration and a bit of affection. So, it didn’t come as a surprise to me that in the episode 15, time 28:10, she talks to her nephew about Ah-jung in a proud and wondrous kind of tone.
“I’ve heard that Miss Gong Ah-jung got reinstated.” In a subtle teasing tone and in an elevated form of language, “I’ve also heard that you even protested in front of the Ministry building for her?” Her nephew smiles sheepishly, “You’ve heard, (huh)?”
She scoffs, “What are you trying to do? Are you really thinking about marrying her?”
Assuredly, “Yes. And if I could, I would marry her right now.”
Amazed, “What is it about her that you like so much? To me, she’s just a civil servant from an ordinary* family.” *(Pyung-bum-ha-da (평범하다) means to be ordinary, common, not famous, run-of-the mill)
“I like her because she is ordinary, and because she’s honest.”
Good-naturedly giving up, “It looks like it wouldn’t be any use if I were to oppose.”
Grinning, “Are you going to oppose?”
She looks at him with a bit of curiosity as to what he would say if she did oppose. He smiles a little wider, “You know it’s no use, right?” For her to oppose. She bristles mostly in jest, and he chuckles.
His Ideal Woman List
Unfortunately, his object of affection doesn’t share that same fervent passion for nuptials because she feels the pressure of being his wife but at the same time doesn’t want to lose her own identity in the process. I guess it doesn’t help that everybody expects her to not only marry him, but also give up her job, learn to play golf, learn to ride a horse, and even “mandatorily” study at least 5 to 6 foreign languages.
Ki-joon doesn’t help with the asinine list of his ideal woman attributes. While I realize the list is not obligatory commandments and that he suggested the list for their mutual amusement and to “get to know each other better,” what he doesn’t seem to realize is that the very list serves to further tighten the proverbial noose around her sense of freedom. So, along the same playful spirit as it was made, from a fellow man’s perspective, let me critique Ki-joon’s top ten ideal woman attributes list… just for fun:
1. Even if it’s just a cereal, a woman who will fix breakfast (every morning). Okay, maybe you’re just kidding, but from a guy who made her the “world’s greatest spaghetti,” you actually want her to get up earlier than she has to, just to make you a hot breakfast every morning? What kind of effort and time does it take for you to pour cereal and milk into a bowl? And you want to drag her out of bed, even on weekends, just so that she can pour milk for his and her bowls? It would’ve been so much more romantic to say, if it means “not wetting your hands,” I would gladly eat cereal three meals a day if you want me to. But if he meant, I just like to start the day every morning with you, even if it means having cereals together, then I’m all for that.
2. A woman who can exercise in the morning together. Only if she wants to. Enough said.
3. A woman who can, after a fight, gracefully accept a man’s apology if he offers it first. Or he can just wait until she apologizes first. Either one is fine with me.
4. A woman who can cry a bucket after watching a sad movie. Personally, while I appreciate a sensitive woman, I don’t like ool-bo (울보), a very word Ki-joon used to playfully call Ah-jung once. Ool-bo means a crybaby, someone who’s apt to cry easily. I mean being sensitive is good, but my motto has always been to be moderate with everything, and I like my woman with the social grace of not crying me a river every time we watch a sad movie together. A tear or two, fine, but not a river. Elegance and refinement, remember your own decree, old chap?
5. A woman who can spend more time with the man even if they have different interests. In principle, I agree with him, but sometimes we all need time to be alone, even if it’s only to recharge our batteries if you will so that we may appreciate each other anew.
6. A woman who can be honest even with trivial things. Why? Let her have some secrets, especially if they are “trivial.” But I do know what you’re trying to say. You want to have a relationship where both of you can trust each other with anything, but you don’t have to be petty to accomplish that.
7. An easy going woman who doesn’t mind having a few drinks with her man at times. No beef here as long as she doesn’t share drinks with her underage kids.
8. A woman whose wrinkled skin looks beautiful as she ages even without “wrinkle” skin care. What, men don’t get old? You want her to accept you just the way you are when you get old and decrepit, but she has to be beautiful, even down to her wrinkles? Yes, they say men age more gracefully and some (think Paul Newman, rest his soul) look rather distinguished as they get older, but don’t you know the words, gray hair and wrinkles, are like daggers, four-letter words if you will, to women? But, the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, meaning even wrinkles look beautiful on her, and if that’s what he meant, kudos to him.
9. A woman who would consider having at least one boy and two girls. So, what’s his point here? Like some Neanderthal Korean men, is he hung up on having at least one boy? If not, is he going to coerce his woman to “consider” ad infinitum until she does bear him a boy? But if he just likes the sound of well-balanced statistical numbers of one and two, then I’m okay with that.
10. A woman who knows very well what it is to be Hyun Ki-joon’s wife. Wow! Talk about a megalomaniac. I mean that’s pretty broad and bloody vague enough to put the whole weight of the world on her shoulders. Okay, let’s not belabor the point. I mean the list is pretty long without my adding to the woe by being long-winded, so I’ll cut to the chase. He wants her to understand who he is and adapt, and although he conveniently left his part out, he means he will also strive to do the same for her. See, I love him already.
Too bad I just noticed his postscript. He wrote: P.S. A woman who has pretty hands and feet. He’s really testing my patience, isn’t he? It’s not enough that she is young, gorgeous, smart, fun, honest, and genuinely kind, he wants her hands and feet to be pretty, also? And what’s his standard for calling a hand or a foot “pretty?” Okay, I’m getting a headache, and I still have one more episode to do so let’s just leave it at that.
No, it’s not the Star Trek theme for the final episode 16. For now, Ah-jung just wants some time and space “to find something missing, something valuable” in her life, although she loves Ki-joon “enough to worry if she can even survive in this world without him.”
So, Ah-jung gets a blessing from Ki-joon and a transfer to Jeju Island for a time being. Despite a farewell present of a watch so that “time could go faster,” a month goes by just like that without much change in Ah-jung’s cold feet (or her heart). Well, at least Ki-joon got a handshake, a kiss, and a photograph to remember her by in the episode 16, time 02:25.
Ki-joon’s aunt is not happy with him in the episode 16, time 05:40. “You broadcast your love for her to everyone and everywhere, but now look at you… Tell me the truth. You proposed to Gong Ah-jung, and she turned you down, didn’t she?”
Amused, “No, not really.” Not believing him, “Ahh. You dummy. A dolt. An imbecile. Now really, what is it about her that you like so much?” Impishly smiling, “Because she’s pretty.”
His aunt can’t believe his answer or his attitude. “Do you know what people are saying behind your back? That you two broke up, that you have open-ended arrangement, that you had an affair… Ah!! I’m so offended. You, if you are going to get married, then do it fast, and if not, see a seun (Korean blind date). I’m tired of hearing rumors about you.”
Full of confidence, “Aunt. Wait just a little bit longer. In short time, I’ll formally introduce Gong Ah-jung to you here as my fiancée.”
Impatiently, “Don’t just talk about it, do it right.”
“What about the end of this month? Keep the date open.”
“What? Are you sure?”
“Have you ever seen me not keep my word?”
“Now you gave me your big word. I’m going to keep that date open with absolutely nothing else scheduled.”
Smiling confidently, “Yes!”
Their First Night Together
After having one of their worst fights, Jae-bum leaves So-ran with just a note saying that he’s had enough, of course, right before So-ran finds out that she’s pregnant. In search of Jae-bum, So-ran comes to Jeju Island, and Ki-joon, who happens to see Jae-bum in the same hotel, aids So-ran to find her wayward husband.
As compensation, Ki-joon asks the couple for help in convincing Ah-jung that marriage can be romantic, sweet, and not something she should be afraid of. After spending a fun-filled day double dating, the couples separate, and in the episode 16, time 23:34, Ki-joon insists on walking Ah-jung to her hotel.
Hand-in-hand they walk to the front of her hotel, when Ah-jung tells him he can go back to his hotel now. As if he has never heard of that concept, “You want me to go?” Ki-joon looks around, “All by myself in this dark?”
Smiling slowly, “Don’t be like that.”
Oh-so-innocently, “I don’t even know my way back because I walked looking down the whole time.”
Smiling because she knows why he’s stalling, “Liar. You want me to take you back?”
Desperately, “Since I came all the way over here, won’t you at least give me a cup of coffee? Maybe, even a bowl of sea cucumber or sea squirt will do.”
“I don’t have anything like that.”
Alarmingly, “Wait! That’s right.”
Looking at his watch, “By now, the boats have stopped running.”
She laughs, relieved. “You know there are no boats in this place.”
He suddenly looks sickly, “Didn’t I tell you? Today, I don’t feel so good…”
She looks at him crossly. He looks at her earnestly, “I promise to just hold your hands while sleeping.” Suddenly becoming shy, she tells him in a slightly pouty way, “I don’t want to.” As if she hurt him badly, he takes her hand in his, “You don’t trust this oppa?” She stammers and can only say his name, when he just leads her up to her room while telling her, “Don’t fret over it and just follow me.” While being half-way dragged, she stammers, “Where do you think you’re… No…”
Well, she taught him better than she bargained for. She is the one who told him while she was window browsing a few episodes ago that a man shouldn’t ask his date but rather just take charge of the situation. I think Ki-joon is doing a darn good job of it.
Fighting off her protest, he turns on the light in her place, and he exclaims, “Oooh! This is better than I thought.” Taking a book off the arm of a sofa, “What is this? Hey, you must have started English lesson.” She hurriedly takes the book from him.
“Let’s see here,” he wipes his fingers along the top of the speakers sitting on the chest of drawers. Showing her the dust on his fingers, “You don’t clean this place, do you?” “How did I know I would have a guest?” He then checks her refrigerator and makes unwanted comments about her expired milk, conditions of her leftover food, and why did she have bottles of so-ju when she lived alone? She asks him if he came to inspect because this is not the World Hotel, and he tells her that if this was, she would already be fired.
As if he just had a great idea, he rushes off, and smiling she chases after him, “Where are you going now?” Of course, his next invasion destination is her bedroom. He turns on the light and looks around everywhere, especially concentrating on her bed for evidence of “other guys.” He finds a stray hair on her bed, and when he confronts her with it, she laughs and shows him that the strand matches her own hair color. When he points out the shortness of it, she asks him if he saw such a long hair on a guy before.
While in search for more damning evidence, he chances upon her diary carelessly placed under one of her stuffed animals on her bed. Screaming that it’s her diary, she rushes to him trying to wrest the diary from him, but ends up knocking them both onto her bed. We see that he is now lying on his back holding the diary in his hands and she’s on top of him. Staring into each other’s eyes and with their bodies separated only by the diary, she doesn’t consider getting off him as much of an urgent matter as taking the diary away from him.
He naturally becomes suspicious, and teasingly asks her in an elevated form of language, “What is this? Did you write a bunch of bad things about me in there?” In her diary. Smiling and still hovering over him, “Of course. (I wrote) that Mr. Ki-joon is dumb, ugly, and that I don’t miss him at all.”
Given the fact that she has maneuvered her body to be on top of him and that she says cute things like that can only mean one thing. She’s begging for, as corny as it sounds, bruising… of her lips. Feeling also that the time is ripe for action, he goes for her lips, but her cell phone is faster. It’s a call from her work.
After she hangs up, Ki-joon leans against the bed and pats his chest, inviting her to put her head on his chest. She stares blankly at him for a few seconds, but then she brightens, “Bahp! We haven’t eaten yet” Remember bahp, which can be either cooked rice or a meal. He yells to her back, “We did eat just a little while ago, you pig!” While she runs away shrieking, he chases after her, “Hey! Gong Ah-jung! Come back here.”
Ah-jung comes into her bedroom carrying food when she suddenly shrieks and charges toward Ki-jung sitting on her bed in the episode 16, time 27:54, “What are you doing? Why are you reading my diary?” Avoiding her attacks deftly, he gives her his reason, “What’s wrong with reading your diary? We shouldn’t have any secrets between us.”
Laughing she tells him to give it to her, and he doesn’t comply, “Ah? By the way you’re acting, I’m becoming more suspicious.” About the diary content. Laughing, she asks him, “What do you mean suspicious?” as she tries to grab the diary but he’s too fast for her. He wonders while struggling to avoid her grasp, “What’s in here?” In the diary.
That’s when Ah-jung’s father calls to ask (more like beat around the bush) for her “permission” for him to get officially married, and Ki-joon gets excited initially erroneously thinking the conversation is about him and Ah-jung. But when he finally realizes they are talking about her father’s marriage, he despondently plops face down on her bed.
Ah-jung tries to mollify him with food, “You’re not going to eat when I made it just for you?” When he doesn’t respond, she calls his name and pokes his leg and, for good measure, his buttock with her finger… twice. He has only enough energy to offer one sad observation, “I think your father’s going to marry earlier than me.”
She smiles rather cutely at that, while he worries some more, “Then, when am I going to get married?” She lies next to him, commiserating, “If you continue to read women’s diary like this, you may never get married.” Playfully she peeks at his face, “How much did you read?” She lies on his back sideways, “Did you read all of it?”
He’s still face down, “Of course I read it all. By the way, what are those dates that you have stars marked on them?” Getting embarrassed, she sits up, “You don’t have to know.” He sits up as well, “What are they?” She hesitates, and he gets impatient, “What do the dates mean?” Smiling shyly, “The things only women know kind of thing…”
It takes him a few seconds to get it, and he says a big, “Aaaah.” Then, with a sly smile, he almost whispers, “There was no star, today.” She hits him with her diary, and he smiles even more suggestively.
The next scene, in the episode 16, time 31:03, we see Ah-jung and Ki-joon drinking beer together on her bed. He asks her, “By the way, you’re going to let me sleep here, right?”
“No. Why would you sleep here when you have a perfectly good hotel?” He’s staying at that expensive hotel they stayed the last time. He abruptly lies down on her lap, “I much rather sleep here, though.” In an amused light tone, she lightly shakes the lap pillow, “You’d better get up.” Smiling daringly, “Don’t want to.”
She pretends to complain, “Your head feels like a ton.”
“That’s because my head is filled only with (the thoughts of) Gong Ah-jung.”
Pleased, she smiles, “You are really going to sleep here?”
He nods yes, “Uum.”
Woman, thy name is practical, “Then, before the store closes, we have to get you a toothbrush.”
He’s even more practical than her, “Why would I need that when we can share?” Hers.
Embarrassed, she shakes the pillow again, “Don’t be ridiculous.” He deadpans, “I was going to sleep just holding your hand, but I have to kiss you, too?” She stammers, “I didn’t say that was the reason. I just thought that because you’re usually so prim and proper.” He laughs, and as he strokes her back, “Should I just not return to Seoul?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“If we just live together like this, then you don’t have to feel any pressure.” About marrying.
She pretends to be flippant, “I don’t like guys with no job, you know.”
“I can just say, I’ll only handle the Jeju Island issues.”
She lightly taps his forehead with her finger, “Don’t throw a tantrum. You’re talking nonsense.” He laughs, and closing his eyes, he tests her out, “But it’s not like I’m that repugnant to you or anything, right?” As her answer, she leans over and lightly kisses his lips with hers. With his eyes closed, his lips quiver a little as her lips initially touch, and with eyes still closed, he smiles happily.
She smiles lovingly, “What do you mean, repugnant? I (happened to) like you.” He sighs contently, his eyes still closed, “That’s a relief. I was really worried that you might push me away in disgust.” She lightly strokes his hair, and he opens his eyes, “By the way, you haven’t found that which you’ve lost, yet?”
“No, not yet.” “Maybe it’s in your pocket?” And he suddenly gets off her lap and starts to tickle her. In her struggle to avoid him, she ends up sitting on his stomach while he’s in a supine position. She lightly taps his forehead cutely with her hand to discourage his behavior to no avail. But she must be doing something, because we hear him repeatedly saying, No, in between his laughter.
Ki-joon comes to visit the museum at Ah-jung’s work place posing as a tourist, when he speaks to her in an elevated language. Ah-jung answers to one of Ki-joon’s questions in the episode 16, time 38:00, that the artifacts that were found in the island over the past ten years are exhibited in the museum, and the theme of the exhibition is to have the artifacts serve as a bridge to stimulate or jog our memory to better appreciate the rich history of the island.
He shows her how apt a student he is by pointing out that, “Love is the same. One can rediscover the true value of love through one’s memories. Thank you for helping me figure that out.” He then bows to her. Embarrassed, she hits him lightly on his arm, “What’s the matter with you? Why did you do that?” Bow to her, she means.
He goes back to speaking lower form of language (ban-mal), “That’s because you’re taking way too long.” To marry him. Then he asks her if she found the missing thing yet. When she doesn’t say anything, he tells her of an old phrase that he thinks might aid in her search for her missing thing, and he writes it on her arm while trying to tickle her to death in the process:
Time is infinite without a trace
Space is infinite without a remnant
I think it means, Time is so infinite that it’s as if it doesn’t exist. Space is so infinitely vast that it’s as if there is no such thing. So, what’s important here is what’s real in your life. In your time and in your space. In other words, what is time but what we make of it, and what is space but what we create in it.
As Ki-joon says farewell to Ah-jung in the Jeju Island, he gives her a beautiful diamond studded necklace and tells her that his heart, rebuffed by her over a month ago, is imprisoned within the necklace, and he feels that only she can liberate it again. If she comes to Seoul on the 25th of the month to his aunt’s wearing the necklace, then he will take that as a sign that she has accepted his proposal of love and marriage.
But because of the “missing” artifact, Ah-jung doesn’t make it to the dinner even though she had all the intention in the world to do so. When she finally finds the missing artifact misplaced elsewhere in the museum, she breaks down and cries, not only because she found the artifact but because she has found her missing “link” to her happiness as well.
Ki-joon feels embarrassed and humiliated in front of his aunt after Ah-jung calls him at the last minute to inform him that she can’t make it to the dinner because she missed her flight due to “an urgent matter.” The following day, Ki-joon tells his secretary to send a package to “this address” and calls Ah-jung to meet him at the Jeju Island airport because he has to at least hear her detailed “excuses” to feel better.
As her “excuse,” Ah-jung writes a letter “to my beloved Ki-joon” and places it in the empty necklace case, but Ki-joon, thinking that she has returned the necklace, doesn’t open it until his secretary mentions seeing a letter while he was looking for Ki-joon’s seal.
Ki-joon reads what Ah-jung wrote in the episode 16, time 55:10. She apologizes for not coming to the dinner that night. She tells him that she finally understood what he wrote on her arm that day. The fact that they can both find and love each other in that infinite time and space is so incredibly coincidental and so beautifully miraculous that she cannot help but find her heart again. She is now ready to run to be at his side. “Thank you for waiting… and I love you.”
Once Ki-joon realizes that she is reciprocating his love in full, he bolts out of his office leaving unsigned documents and protesting secretary behind to catch a flight to Jeju Island, even forgetting to put on a jacket.
In the meantime, thinking that Ki-joon is purposely ignoring her, Ah-jung, wearing the necklace, grumbles while eating the same breakfast he has made for her in the past. She remembers his assertion that he could make such breakfast every morning if she marries him, “What is this? Just because I broke one promise, he doesn’t even call me. Jerk!”
That’s when she gets a package from Ki-joon, and she sheds tears as she remembers all the special moments they had together. She smiles at a coke bottle remembering his passionate kiss, a rubber ducky remembering their times together in the swan paddle boat, an envelope containing the money she returned to him for the emergency room cost…
Oh, how can she forget, a tomato juice bottle and the infamous spill, a miniature Jeju statue reminding her of their times lying on the grass, a plastic ice cream cone and their tussle to smear ice cream on each other’s face, the tickets for the traditional music performance he had bought en masse to support her cause, her good-luck pen that she gave him to sign the Chariman Chun’s deal with, and a newspaper article on his public proclamation of love for her.
She cries as she remembers what he told her at the museum, “Love is the same. One can rediscover the true value of love through one’s memories. Thank you for helping me figure that out.” At that moment, she gets a call from Ki-joon. Seeing whom the call is from, she can’t help but shed tears of happiness.
We see Ki-joon sprinting along the Jeju Island coast line toward approaching Ah-jung. As they get closer, they both stop to just look at each other. They tentatively smile at each other, and seeing what they want to see in each other’s eyes, they run toward each other again to embrace, just content to bask in the exhilaration of finding one another again.
They finally part, and breathless Ki-joon asks her, “I’m not too late, am I?” She thinks so, “What took you so long to call me?”
“I’m sorry… for doubting your love.”
“I’m sorry for making you wait. I… love you very much.”
Smiling, he shakes his head, “No. I’m going to love you even more.” He takes a stray hair away from her face and holding her cheeks in his hands, he brings her closer to kiss her over and again, as she reciprocates just as passionately.
After they finally come up for air, he promises her, “From now on, I’m never going to part with you even for a day.” She smiles happily, “Me, too.” Shyly, “Make me never want to leave you again.”
I think she just propositioned him. Isn’t it great to live in the twenty-first century?
As they enjoy the ocean scenery with arms around each other, we hear Ah-jung’s voice talking to So-ran, “So-ran-ah. We are getting married.” So-ran’s voice comes through loud and clear, “You liar. You really expect me to believe that?
Ah-jung’s voice sounds defensive, “It’s for real, this time.” So-ran sounds adamant, “I’m not going to fall for it this time.” Ah-jung raises her voice, “I’m telling you. It’s for real this time. We’re getting married this fall.”
As our two lovebirds continue to bask in their newfound love by the ocean, we hear Ah-jung’s voice, Love came knocking just like that, as if it was a lie. And that lie… became love.
And we hear Ki-joon’s voice, And we’ve both learned… that at times within a lie, there can be a truth more real than a reality.
Obviously finding Ah-jung much more fetching than the ocean view, Ki-joon goes back to embracing her again. Can’t blame the old chap, now can we?