Annyeonghaseyo! Have you ever come across someone who makes peace signs while clicking pictures, or makes a heart with her hands? She probably has a fringe and demands to drink soju every time you go out. That's me, getting hit by the Korean wave.
For those who have entered unchartered territory here, the Korean wave refers to the global popularity of everything South Korean. The fact that it makes its way into your life and slowly becomes an integral part.
For me, it began with a trip to my favourite Asian restaurant that serves Kimchi before every meal. Who made this delicious dish? I asked myself as I went down the rabbit hole. I ordered a box of Kimchi, then ramen, then Tteok-bokki and now I can cook a three-course Korean meal. It escalated quickly.
But it wasn't just the food that attracted me. The K-Dramas came next, thanks to Netflix I now had access to men who don't think make-up was icky and actually care about the way they dress. Add to this the fact that K-Dramas are basically mushy romances with endearing storylines and a deep understanding of emotions. I was hooked.
They manage to rein you in right from the first episode, so much so that you don't even mind reading the subtitles! Technically, I always know what's happening next, but the way it plays out, hyping the eye contact, a simple hug and the first kiss. It's basically a guilty pleasure.
From Romance Is A Bonus Book to Melting Me Softly and Tune In For Love, I've binged watched them all. After four years of being a part of the wave, I can quote Sung Deok-mi from Her Private Life, "Once a fangirl, always a fangirl." These shows immerse you into a different culture, with a connection to yours. Because at the end of the day, the issues that torment all humans are the same, from bullying to peer pressure, education and inner turmoil.
The products on my shelf belong to K-beauty brands that you have to pay a heavy shipping price on. And I have religiously read The Power of Nunchi: The Korean Secret to Happiness and Success. My favorite songs are Korean and so is my crush, please just google Lee Jong-suk.
As I prepare to begin my Korean language classes and hope to plan a summer vacation to South Korea soon, I still don't quite understand why I love the culture so much. Maybe it's their language, the way they express their emotions or the fact that they have an understated way of living. Their simplicity draws you in as much as their sense of fashion.
And no, I'm not a 15-year-old girl obsessed with BTS, this is much more than that. It is a way of life that helps me express myself. Maybe I was just born in the wrong culture.