Educated Koreans are supposed to follow good manners even when they part and bid farewell.  There are four major elements to include when you say goodbye nicely in Korean, whether it’s personal between a couple leaving each other, voluntarily or forced by circumstances, or professional as in a farewell speech at work:

  1. Thank you:  감사합니다.  고마워요.  당신 때문에 행복했어요 (I was happy because of you.)  같이 일할 수 있어 영광이었읍니다 (It was my honor to work with you.)  
  1. I am sorry (Forgive me):  미안해요.  죄송합니다.  용서하세요.  할 일이 이렇게 많은데 먼저 떠나게 되어서 송구스럽습니다 (I am sorry I had to leave when there are so many things for us to do.)
  1. Can we meet again? = Address possibility of a future encounter: 우리 다시 못 봐요? (Can’t we see each other again?)  다시 만날 수 있어요 (We can meet again.) 언제 다시 만나면 맥주 한잔 합시다 (If we meet again some day, let’s drink a beer together.)
  1. I love you:  사랑하오 ( => A man can say this -하오 ending to his woman, not the other way around.)  사랑해요.  사랑해.  사랑합니다.  깊이 존경합니다 (I have deep respect for you.)  

Somehow we all ended up in this world of digital casualness spreading like COVID-19, where another human can just enter and leave your life with a simple click on “Friend/Unfriend” button.  Nonetheless, there are unforgettable drama/movie scenes that still inspire us to be a decent human being at critical moments in life, to be well remembered, in a real, analog, classical way: 

Savory for some, entertaining for others.  But this well-crafted global blockbuster “사랑의 불시착 (Crash Landing on You, 2019)” chokes the heart of all Koreans with deep emotion, because of the sheer impossibility, improbability of such a love across the border that separates one people since 1945.  To Koreans, this emotion is like a continuous baseline sound of heavy sorrow, slowly smearing and then pouring from a good quality subwoofer, from Episode 1 to 16.

For example, in one of the most unforgettable finale scenes shown above, the background music suddenly stops, leading to 20 seconds of beautiful silence drawing attention to the couple’s words, breaths, and cold wind blowing mindlessly at the border.  Then, as Jeong-Hyeok speaks his last words of care, 아이유 IU’s emotive voice starts to sing in a low-key, as if Yoon Se-Ri would whisper to his ears – “As I have nothing to give you, I give you my heart… As I have received so much from you, I can’t express it all at once…”  The song lyrics are not usually shown in the subtitles, but if you understand Korean, the emotional impact of musical concordance with the scene gets tripled, quadrupled.  This particular scene and the OST (I Give You My Heart) just made me cry like a baby, and haunted my days and nights for weeks.  My new addiction to K-Drama is somehow urging me to become a better person than who I am…   And I hope many people all over the world remember this particular scene and its metaphoric significance, if and when Korean Reunification happens somehow, some day in the future. 

But then again, this amazing victorious love story can also be named as “Ode to All the Brave Lovers on the Planet” whose love go beyond borders, nationalities, cultures, races, etc. etc., which are often called our “differences” and misused as an excuse for human pettiness, weakness, and cowardice.

Updated Feb. 12, 2022:

현빈 and 손예진, the lead actor and actress of this marvelous drama will marry soon, according to today’s news.  Their top-notch performance and sparkling chemistry in this drama made ultrasensitive K-drama fans already guess at this possibility two years ago.  Please join me in congratulating this lovely couple on the fantastic news!

근데, 이제 우리 못 봐요? 이제 우리 다시는 못 보나? 평생?

But, can’t we see each other again? We will never get to see each other again, for our entire life?

간절히 기다리고 기도하면 보고 싶은 사람 만날 수 있냐고 묻지 않았소?

만날 수 있소.

You asked if we can meet again someone we miss, by waiting earnestly and praying, didn’t you? Yes, we can meet again.

윤세리 & 이정혁, “사랑의 불시착 (Crash Landing on You, 2019), Ep. 16

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