J. Kathryn N. Aluyen, who goes by “Julie,” lives “deep in the heart of Texas” but turns to Viki to open up the world far beyond her Lone Star State.
Julie, 53, works long days as a client relationship manager in the health care services industry. But at the end of her day, she looks forward to going home, sitting in front of her screen with her two grandsons, Aidan, 4, and Gabriel, 18 months, and watching Korean dramas together. And the toddlers – whom Julie says are “die-hard Viki fans” like her – seem to love it just as much as Julie does, laughing at all the funny parts!
“I have come to rely on my Viki shows as a reward for a horrid day at work,” she says. “I actually love what I do but the American corporate landscape has changed so much, and no one has been spared from the residual effects of the massive layoffs between 2000 and 2005, leaving behind an equally massive amount of work to be fulfilled by those who remain in the workforce. So you can imagine my refuge from this maelstrom is Viki.”
Julie discovered Viki in the fall of 2013, when she posted on her Facebook page that she enjoyed watching Korean horror movies and one of her friends recommended she watch “Jang Ok Jeong, Lives in Love” on Viki.
“This particular TV series was my introduction to Korean dramas and Yoo Ah In, and it was love at first watch!” Julie says. She has since become an avid Korean drama fan and has especially enjoyed Yoo Ah In’s latest drama “Secret Love Affair” and discovered Jang Hyuk’s quirky-but-addictive acting through “Fated to Love You (aka You Are My Destiny)” and has gone on to see everything else he has done.
Growing up in Quezon City, Philippines, Julie says she was a current events junkie from a young age and the negative news around Korea at the time didn’t help any in improving her impression of the Korean people. While living in Chicago, her mom would frequently buy kimchi but Julie never quite took to it. Living in the aftermath of the Korean War, the ongoing friction between Korea and Japan, and the rise of Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, Julie says the mere mention of the 38th parallel evoked feelings of tension and fear and reminded her of a divided country and its people. But watching Korean horror movies in recent years and dramas on Viki like “Jang Ok Jeong, Lives in Love,” Julie has come to appreciate the deep history and culture of the Korean people.
“It totally changed my old-fangled ideas wrought by media and the books from my youth,” Julie says. “I had a 180-degree turn in appreciation for everything Korean that I couldn’t get enough of the culture.”
Although she lives in Texas, Julie says that Viki opens up other parts of the world to her. Julie has traveled to many countries but has never had the chance to visit South Korea, but is planning to visit in the near future to experience the culture first-hand.
“I realize that being globally aware of different cultures, and accepting each culture solely on its own merit – avoiding labeling each experience collectively as ‘diverse’ but rather, profound – helps us find deeper meaning in our lives,” Julie says. “That is why I enjoy exploring Korean dramas – there is always a lesson to be learned, insight to be had, and a love of life to be savored.”
Some titles on Viki are not available in certain regions of the world. But Qualified Contributors (QCs) can view and contribute to most titles. Read this blog post to learn how to become a QC.