The Package

“Fate doesn’t exist in this world. Fate is what I choose for my future.” –Yoon So So (The Package, 2017)

“All the choices we’ve made were made when we were younger. Whether it was 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago, we were younger.” –San Ma Ru (The Package, 2017)

“I must find a version of myself that I will like.” –Han So Ran (The Package, 2017)

“The things we hate are much easier to see.” –Han So Ran (The Package, 2017)

“Everything is pretty. The mountains are pretty, and the trees are pretty. The sky is pretty too. I feel like I’m the only one who’s not living a pretty life.” –Han Book Ja (The Package, 2017)

This life is indeed a journey. Whether we stay in one place for a long time or we travel to many places and stay there only for a short time and never settle, every journey counts. However, at least once in their life, people should go on a travel. And there are many reasons why people go on a travel. And it’s interesting how we can get so many stories from one group of travelers in a one-time journey. And it’s fascinating how a one-time journey and people in it can change someone’s life forever. Some of them travel alone, or with their partner or family. Some of them travel to run from the suffocating work and daily routines. Some of them travel to celebrate special moment with their loved ones. Some of them travel just to enjoy life while they can. Some of them travel to make a bonding with their family members. Some of them travel because that is simply their job. And in the journey, it’s interesting how things are usually not going according to the plan, but it ends up as a good thing or a blessing in disguise. And it’s fascinating how ones are able to find themselves in the journey, through new places, through the interactions with people, and sometimes, by getting lost. And it’s all depicted in a Korean drama series titled “The Package”.

"The Package" official series poster | source:

Title : The Package
Genre : romantic comedy, drama
Starring : Lee Yeon Hee, Jung Yong Hwa, Yoon Park, Choi Woo Sik
Channel : jtbc
No. of episodes : 12
Original broadcast : October – November 2017

Broadcasted by jtbc cable television network, “The Package” is a Korean drama series of 12 episode. It follows the story of eight people who met on an open-trip traveling to France, as the title refers to the traveling agent used in the storyline. The travelers are San Ma Ru (portrayed by Jung Yong Hwa), a weird and mysterious solo traveler, Kim Kyung Jae (portrayed by Choi Woo Sik) and his long-time lover, Han So Ran (portrayed by Ha Shi Eun), Oh Gab Soo (portrayed by Jung Kyu Soo) and his wife Han Book Ja (portrayed by Lee Ji Hyun), and Jung Yeon Sung (portrayed by Ryu Seung Soo) who came together with Jung Na Hyun (portrayed by Park Yoo Na), whose relationship is unclear in the beginning of the journey. Yoon So So (portrayed by Lee Yeon Hee) was the travel guide in charge for the group. She had been living in France for years; leaving her family behind without her parents’ consent upon her moving to Paris, only to be abandoned by the man she loved. The original group was actually consisted of more people, but at the airport in South Korea, there were a group of some old women who accidentally didn’t bring their passport. Hence only seven of them were departing to France in the end. And actually, there was one more person who was enlisted as a traveler but didn’t come to the airport at the day of the departure. That person turned out to be Ma Ru’s girlfriend, Oh Ye Bi (portrayed by Chae So Young). She canceled her traveling because of some troubles left by Ma Ru at their office.
Therefore, as if it was designed by destiny, eight of them including So So were entangled in a series of courses during their journey together in faraway land from South Korea. The group already faced many difficulties ever since their arrival in France. Starting from Ma Ru who got held at the immigration, Gab Soo who kept nagging So So regarding to the situation where they had to wait for missing member in order to be able to move in group, and So So who faced an unexpected situation where she was found by her younger brother, Yoon Soo Soo (portrayed by Yoon Park), who followed her from South Korea only to ask her to come home. At first, Ma Ru misunderstood Soo Soo as So So’s ex-husband who had betrayed her before. Hence he prevented him from meeting So So. Eventually, So So met her brother and promised him to come back to South Korea after finishing her job. Since the first night of the journey, So So and Ma Ru had gotten closer because of some unexpected situations. So So remembered that every fortune teller she met before was telling her that she would meet her true and eternal love under the feet of an angel. However, they didn’t tell her what or where the angel’s feet were. Accidentally, Ma Ru made a horrible mistake when the group visited Mont Saint Michel. However, that accident led them to get a special access to the Saint Michael the Archangel, which turned out to be where the angel’s feet were. And there, the man whom So So met was Ma Ru. And as the journey continued, their feelings grew. And things began to unravel between them and all other travelers in the group.

source: jtbc

Rather than a drama series, watching “The Package” felt like watching a series of short movies. It’s like an anthology that combines eight stories of eight different people. Each story has its own message and it all comes up to one big picture as the journey of finding oneself in life. I will review it by characters in this series. The first one is the lead female character, Yoon So So, the travel guide. I guess it is true that the biggest challenge in our life is actually how to win over ourselves. As life goes on, some things are not going according to our original plan. Along the way, our heart is broken and we are left with nothing by the person whom we hold most dear. We are betrayed. And the pain from the betrayal has changed our life forever. And in So So’s case, the thing that holds her down the most is the guilt she has towards her family and people whom she knows really care for her. The one she is really angry at is her own self. And she can never really forgive herself before she can come to a closure with herself. From this journey, she learns that she cannot run away forever. Sooner or later, she has to face her biggest fear in order to be able to move on with her life. And she has to do that in order to be able to take a chance in love again.
The second one is the lead male character, San Ma Ru, the solo traveler who should have been going with her girlfriend, but they break up instead eventually. When we travel alone, we wonder on our life so far; what we have been going through and how we can get into this point in life. We wonder about how we have been dealing with things so far and whether our life means something.  And the thing that bothers us the most during a solo travel is usually the relationship issue. In Ma Ru’s case, as he began the journey with a heavy heart from leaving his girlfriend –who is also her superior at work– and his office in a complete mess caused by him, along the journey he wonders how people fall in and out of love; how people can do that easily and how they deal with the aftermath’s pain. I think there is one thing from Ma Ru’s character that I have to agree: in order to be able to be brave to take any chance, it must come from us. Other people only help us to realize, but in the end, it is ourselves that make the decision to do something. Just because other people telling us to do something, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do. Just because other people telling us not to do something, it doesn’t mean that we must not do it.

source: jtbc

The third and fourth are Kim Kyung Jae and Han So Ran, a couple of lovers who have been in a relationship with each other for seven years. They embarked on this journey to celebrate their 7th anniversary. In some way, as I watched this couple’s arc, somehow I can feel it’s resonating with my current situation. The woman is approached by another man who said that he would propose to her after she got back from the journey. Hence she is hesitating so much during the travel. And it drifts her apart from her partner. The man is jobless and currently working on an investment in order to build his own business. Hence he is occupied with other thing so much during the travel. And it drifts him apart from his partner. The man wants his investment to come to a deal so that he can make a better living and propose his girlfriend. The woman wants to be loved and adored and treated as a lover. The man is too busy looking forward the future, while the woman only wants to live the present to the fullest. And it drifts them apart. However, along the journey they find the reason why they stay together, as it reminds them of the reason why they were together in the first place. And in the end, amidst all misunderstandings, they realize that they belong together.
The fifth and sixth are Oh Gab Soo and Han Book Ja, a couple of husband and wife who have been married for more than two decades. The husband wanted to go on this journey as he wanted to take his sick wife to her most wanted place to visit, which he thought was Paris. Meanwhile, the wife was only following her husband’s wish, not knowing that her husband already knows about her illness. Watching this couple gave me a lot of things to think about. It’s easy to misunderstand other people, even the person whom we hold most dear. And it’s easy to cover our true emotions by showing the opposite emotions. The husband is sad and afraid because of her wife’s illness, but he only shows anger as he cannot contain the emotions caused by the fear of being left alone by his wife. The wife is sad about her illness, and mostly she is depressed because the husband seems to be not having a care and consideration towards her, so mostly she shows that she has given up on life by preparing for her death. And the husband is enraged by that. The wife is being too selfish by hiding her illness, while the husband is being too considerate by not telling his wife that he already knows. Along the journey, however, they realize that they do it all because of love and affection for each other. It’s just that they have a hard time in expressing the love and affection, and they have their own way of expressing it that most of time tends to make misunderstanding between them. For the note, I cried so much at the scene where the husband finally confessed his true feelings (as well as the fact that he had already known about the illness) towards the wife.

source: jtbc

The seventh and the eighth are Jung Yeon Sung and Jung Na Hyun, a couple of father and daughter. The daughter was just being expelled from her school because of a short movie she made for a school’s assignment. The father took her on this journey in order to lift her mood up as well as to strengthen the bonding between them. Moreover, the father feels guilty as he feels that he didn’t raise his daughter well since the death of Na Hyun’s mother when she was just a little kid. And now that the father is planning a marriage with a woman, he feels more detached from his daughter; hence he took Na Hyun on this journey. The thing about family is that we can never actually hate them no matter how many bad things they do or how hurtful their actions are. And it’s easy to neglect our family as we know that they will never actually leave us. It’s easy to take them for granted. However, from this father and daughter couple, I learn that the most important thing is that we have to remember that our family members are human too. They need to have a life too. They have to do what they want in life too. We may never really be able to understand each other, but we can always respect and accept one another for who they really are. And I guess that’s what family is for; not to force our choice or what we think is right towards each other, but rather always be there and give all the supports that we can for whatever their choice in life.
From those eight characters and their personal stories, the storyline of “The Package” is built into a full circle. One of the common issues that come up in every couple is about misunderstanding. And I guess that is the main cause of most conflicts that occur in human relationship. As I wrote before, it’s easy to misunderstand a person whom we’ve known for a long time, moreover the person whom we’ve just met. Yoon So So and San Ma Ru misunderstood each other once that led them into a quarrel. (pasangan woosik) misunderstood a lot in the course of their relationship, and so did (pasangan tua). Jung Yeon Sung and Jung Na Hyun misunderstood once too during the journey, that led them into their first family quarrel. In all cases of those couples, the misunderstandings are often caused by the difference in their way of expressing love and affection towards each other. It is caused by the difference of how they see and perceive things. And it is also caused by the difference in terms of experiences and references. And this kind of thing happens a lot in a relationship, particularly when we care so much about someone, we tend to do things according to our own wish without paying attention to what our partner really thinks, wants, and needs.

source: jtbc

This drama series shows us that the thing needed for solving the misunderstanding is not only communicating our true feeling through words, but also opening up our heart and mind to accept the perspective of our partner. It’s true that feelings mean nothing without action, but action without kind words could lead into a misunderstanding. Hence, we need to tell honesty. And to be able to be honest, we need to open up our heart and mind. Though we are not able to fully understand, the very least that we can do is trying to accept. By doing that, we can start to see the silver lining amidst dark clouds. It is related to the next common issue that comes up in this drama series. It’s easy to compare ourselves or whatever we have when we see something else or new. Hence, at times it’s hard for us to be grateful for what we have at the moment. We see other man and cannot help but thinking that our current partner is lacking of some things. We see other couple and cannot help but thinking that our relationship is lacking in some way. Hence, it will make us hesitating on things. During that time of hesitation, all we need is looking into ourselves and asking: what do we really search for in this life? What do we really want and need?
When we can answer that question, then that is when we realize that there is no use in comparing. Sometimes, indeed, we need to get lost in order to find it. Sometimes, the answer is already near us. Sometimes, it comes to us like a destiny. And by that time, we know that we have to be grateful for what we have at the moment. And we can always begin again to see the closest person to us as the person they used to be. As time goes by, we might take the closest person to us for granted. We tend to think that they already understand our true intention without even saying it to them. We tend to treat them any way we want. We tend to decide and do things thinking that they must be agree with it. We forget to take care of their feelings. We forget to cherish our every moment with them. We forget to love them the way we used to do. Hence when we feel disappointed towards our partner, sometimes it’s not them who’s really changed, but perhaps it’s actually us. Sometimes it’s not them who act differently, but perhaps it’s our perspective that has been shifting. And people say that going on a travel unravels everything. It unravels our true priority. It unravels our true feelings. It unravels our true self. And sometimes, the people whom we travel with are also important, since they might help us unraveling our true self from their respective point of view. For most of the time, we don’t realize ourselves until we see it from other people’s perspective.

source: jtbc

“The Package” probably is not the best drama that I’ve watched so far. It was apparently not doing so great too in terms of rating. However, it was successfully enlightening me in some perspectives that I had already known but most of the time was missed by my conscience. Watching this drama series feels like experiencing the traveling itself. It took me to France, to the city of romance, Paris, and to the beautiful places in that country. And it reminded me of the importance of preserving our country’s historical and cultural heritage. It took me to understand eight people and their point of view through their background story as well as the journey they went through during the traveling. I was never a big fan of Jung Yong Hwa, but I have to admit that he was perfect for the character San Ma Ru. Moreover, I personally think that the casting director did a great job by choosing the actors; they really live up to their characters. And I have to note that I love the soundtrack; they were success in living up the atmosphere in this drama series. Actually, I felt a bit disappointed when I knew that “The Package” didn’t do well in terms of rating, because actually it deserves more appreciation from Korean viewers. It also has great cinematography too as it serves a beautiful landscape of France. Hence, here I recommend you to watch this drama series. It will touch you in a heartfelt and heartwarming way as the story goes unraveling things along the journey.

“No one has ever taught me how to break up with someone.” –Yoon So So (The Package, 2017)

“People go on a travel in order to be happy. Don’t forget that the world becomes happy by your happiness.” –Yoon So So (The Package, 2017)

“There are many things that we will not be able to do in the future. Love should happens in the present moment.” –Han So Ran (The Package, 2017)

“There are people who break up for bad things. And there are people who can’t break up because of one good thing.” –Han So Ran (The Package, 2017)

“Love yourself more, so that you won’t need another person to fill in the love you can’t give yourself.” –San Ma Ru (The Package, 2017)


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