Love on a Rooftop – E16

And the wind blows! Boy does it blow! Mi-Ja gives Do-Jin an ultimatum and Dae-Shil is dropped by her publisher. Meanwhile, Seung-Hye asks to learn tea from her grandmother and faces hards words, which open old wounds.

THE RECAP

Mi-Ja paces in her apartment until Sang-Man comes in to report back.   It turns out that Do-Jin took a baking class in America and then got hooked… That is when he also met Beom-Seok.

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Mi-Ja wonders when Do-Jin came back to Korea and starts putting the pieces together… Including the cake at Kyung-Tae’s place.   Sang-Man offers to drag Do-Jin home and Mi-Ja stops him. Instead she declares that she’s going to the fish market.

Meanwhile, Seung-Ah complains about fatigue and asks Do-Jin why he didn’t have Mi-Ja pay for the broken dish when she looked rich enough to afford it. Do-Jin tells him that she doesn’t need to worry about these things and tells her to focus instead.  Not one to take words to heart, Seung-Ah asks Do-Jin to buy her fried chicken since she’s hungry.

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Seung-Jae drops by with Do-Jin’s jacket and explains that their mother washed it and grandmother ironed it herself.  Seung-Ah jumps in to emphasize that Do-Jin should consider it an honor since the grandmother only takes care of the clothes of her father and Seung-Jae.

Seung-Jae chastises Seung-Ah for calling Do-Jin oppa informally and she stalks off in a huff. Once she’s gone, Seung-Jae asks if there really is nothing between Do-Jin and Seung-Hye.

Do-Jin confirms but right away, Seung-Ah drops a plate and reassures everyone that it didn’t break.  Seung-Jae asks Do-Jin if hiring his clumsy little sister really had nothing to do with Seung-Hye.

When Do-Jin cannot give a clear mono-syllable answer, Seung-Jae asks if this doesn’t mean there is something.  Seung-Ah is listening in and interrupts that Do-Jin did hire her because of Seung-Hye.

Seung-Jae back paddles a bit and apologizes to Do-Jin if his questions were too invasive. He explains that his older sister is not the type that would be carried  home by a strange man.

Do-Jin smiles that Seung-Hye is blessed to have such a dependable and caring younger brother. Seung-Jae responds that he will assume that Do-Jin understood his intent and gets up.  Before he leaves, he also notes that Seung-Ah needs to go back to her Academy so she will only be working until Do-Jin finds a replacement.

In case you missed it.  Seung-Jae’s message was the polite way of saying to Do-Jin that Seung-Hye has a younger brother who cares and pays attention.  Since he basically said Seung-Hye might be interested in Do-Jin, he wants Do-Jin to act carefully… Not play around with her or falsely encourage her.  There is the unsaid threat that since Seung-Jae is willing to drop by and say this, that he won’t just sit around if Do-Jin does anything to hurt Seung-Hye.

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While Seung-Ah runs off after her brother at the order that she quit work, Kyung-Tae arrives.  Do-Jin tells him how his mother had stopped by as Beom-Seok’s guest and asks Kyung-Tae to take care of the cafe as he wants to check on his mom.

Kyung-Tae first notes that he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do and Do-Jin answers that he just needs to wait for the part time employee. Kyung-Tae bids his friend good luck.

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Meanwhile, Dae-Shil meets with the publishing house where the jerk hands over her contract as the explanation of why they are not going to publish her novel.  He notes that she’s responsible for all legal costs if anything wrong happens as a result of publishing her work and asks if she’s willing to take the risk and front their legal fees.

Seeing her surprised reaction, he tells her that they should assume the contract never happened and leaves.

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At the same time, Seung-Ah returns and demands to know who Kyung-Tae is.  Immediately Kyung-Tae notes that she’s pretty.  After introducing themselves, Seung-Ah complains about a sore wrist and Kyung-Tae tries to grab her wrist to examine; he explains that he’s a doctor.

Seung-Ah rejects his offer and complains about the dishes.  As she expects, Kyung-Tae offers to do the dishes for her and begins to do Seung-Ah’s job… Sigh this girl…

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Meanwhile, Do-Jin goes home and wants outside to gather his courage before walking in.  He comes home to an amazing spread of all of his favorite dishes prepared by his smiling mother.  She welcomes him home and comments how homesick he must have been… She encourages him to eat up his fill before he returns back to the United States.

Basically, Do-Jin tries to speak with Mi-Ja about the situation but she just ignores him… When he finally mentions the opening, Mi-Ja point blank responds that she doesn’t know about any opening and did not see anything today… So all he has to do is quietly go back to school.

Do-Jin stresses out that he sincerely about what he wanted to do in life before making his decision. Mi-Ja scoffs that he couldn’t have decided that making bread was more fulfilling than becoming a doctor.  However Do-Jin doesn’t back down. He tells his mother that he’s certain… Her wishes for him are not the same as his own wishes.

Mi-Ja snaps back that Do-Jin is everything in her life and he replies that he’s just her son… He cannot live her life for her.  Mi-Ja sighs that Do-Jin must be tired; she will prepare his bath and gets up.

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At the same time, Kyung-Tae finishes all of Seung-Ah’s chores as she reassures Do-Jin that she finished everything.  When Kyung-Tae overhears her mention the fried chicken to Do-Jin, he quickly orders some.

Then Kyung-Tae walks over to coolly invite Seung-Ah to join him for chicken and beer.  Seung-Ah answers that she doesn’t drink beer with or eat chicken with old guys before getting up.  She reminds him of everything that he needs to check before leaving the shocked Kyung-Tae.

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At Seryung’s place, she hands over a schedule and resumes of acceptable baristas to Yunho.  Yunho sighs that she promised to leave him the authority above his staff and he picked Seung-Hye because he saw the potential.

Seryung responds that she hates being connected to Seung-Hye in any manner. Beom-Seok interrupts to ask what’s going on.

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Back at the bakery Cafe, Kyung-Tae gives the chicken back to Joon-Bae.  As answer to why, he asks if he looks so old.  Joon-Bae guesses that a young and pretty girl must have  refused Kyung-Tae’s date.  He tells Kyung-Tae that a girl’s face or body does not matter; what is most important is that she has a flexible personality.

Kyung-Tae glumly replies that his only consolation is this web-novel, Love Like A Shark Loan.  (DRAMAFEED –  So the novel refers to the loans from Korean loan sharks that have high interest rates and basically kill you or get you sold into prostitution if you don’t pay it off.) Well… Well… Well… Looks like Kyung-Tae is stuck on Dae-Shil’s novel.

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Meanwhile, Beom-Seok has a meeting with the kids. He asks if Seryung asked Yunho to fire Seung-Hye again and Yunho tells his side of the story… That he saw potential in Seung-Hye, who was the first to guess the type of coffee even before Beom-Seok when he had brewed the coffee specially to hide the type of beans… In contrast, Seryung notes that to her Seung-Hye is still the girl that almost killed her father and she wants to have nothing to do with her.

Beom-Seok dismisses Yunho to speak with Seryung privately. Once he’s gone, he tells his daughter he understands her position; she is now dismissed from her duties overseeing Yunho’s Cafe and she has no authority over the cafe. To support his position, he explains that Seryung has had a bad track record with the cafe, first losing Do-Jin and then trying to get Seung-Hye fired. Thank goodness daddy dearest here is a capable business man with a conscience.

At the same time, Seung-Hye cleans her room when Dae-Shil comes home emotionally drained. She tells Seung-Hye that it’s nothing and goes to the kitchen to cry so that she doesn’t worry her neice.

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Dong-Sook walks in on Dae-Shil crying in the kitchen and it’s sweet how Dae-Shil cries to her like she’s just Dae-Shil’s older sister.

As for Do-Jin, he calls to tell Kyung-Tae that he’s sleeping at his mom’s tonight.  Instead of sleeping, he lurks outside of his mother’s room but doesn’t say anything.

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It’s a night of deep thoughts as Seung-Hye also walks out into the courtyard to sit next to drying tea leaves and lose herself in memories… Seung-Hye was in high school when her grandmother took her to the field to pick tea leaves. On that day, Soon-Im tells Seung-Hye that she loves tea brings people together and gives them happiness.

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In the morning, Do-Jin wakes up on the couch as his mother comes out for work. She informs him that he better get ready soon as the travel agent will call with his flight information. He can go back to America first; she will ship his things to him. As expected, he responds that he’s not going back.

Meanwhile, Seung-Hye tries to begin a discussion with her grandmother by speaking of how tea means so much to her. Soon-Im misses the point and angrily gets up stating that no matter how important coffee is to Seung-Hye, she won’t change her mind.

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Seung-Hye grabs Soon-Im’s ankle to stop her and begs her to listen. She was not attempting to beg her about coffee again… She wanted to tell her grandmother that she wanted to learn how to make tea like her grandmother to understand more about why her grandmother feels the way she does about tea.

Soon-Im bites back that Seung-Hye has not been listening to her at all… Only the women in the family make tea so she cannot…

Seung-Hye pauses as if struck and even Soon-Im stops at her harsh words. You know something is wrong when even the speaker has to pause because the harmful quality of the words are so apparent.

However, Seung-Hye surprises by not running off in anger or sorrow. Rather, she continues to plead her position and assures her grandmother that if she were to be taught the family’s tea making process, she would do her best.

MY TWO CENTS

This drama is not the first series to touch upon one of Korea’s biggest social issues… Another one that I remember at the top of my head is Catch Up to Kangnam Mom.

The issue has gradually developed over time in South Korea, where a parent or both parents see their children not as property or children but as a second chance at their own dreams. In this situation, the parent(s) actually believe they are acting in the child’s best interest and it becomes harder for the family to identify the problem or recover from it.

As you can imagine, there are consequences not only for the child and involved parent but also to others nearby. If it is only one parent, the other ends up feeling the pressure to provide enough so that the child in question can have access to resources and training that the first parent deems is necessary for success… Additionally, due to simple constraints of time and energy… Usually the non-obsessed parent feels neglected.

Assuming that the parent’s wish and the child’s goal overlapped, you inevitably run into an issue when the child goes to college. This type of helicopter parent finds her/himself at a loss since her/his life goal is off at a college far, far away. It can also get awkward if the other parent retires because now you have two people spending more time together, except they don’t know each other anymore because one has focused on her/his child and the other work…

The main question is one of balance. Do-Jin’s situation clearly reflects this conundrum, and to a quieter degree, Seung-Jae as well. Additionally, Seung-Hye runs into this with the pressure to choose nursing over being a barista.

I am not going to lie and say I have the solution to this societal issue. However, I do believe that the tensions are steadily increasing as this privileged generation, including myself, doesn’t know war and starvation… As a result, the old adage of safe and societal prestige holds less value and presents less internal pressure. It feels relieving to see the dramas spotlight the issue, which is expected since the writers are probably on the cusp of or part of the privileged generation as well.

I hope that with more attention, a balance can be achieved so that the privileged generation does not hurt the sacrificial generation before it, but finds a life that is satisfying and not suffocating to such generation. The balance will hopefully decrease the pressure on students as well as alleviate the epidemic depression/loneliness affecting the adults.

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