The Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha series finale just aired, and we still can’t quite believe the show is over. From the stunning shooting location set in Pohang to the loveable cast, there are countless reasons why so many of us have fallen in love with the tvN drama. Best of all, it’s not only packed with kilig moments and feel-good scenes; there are also so many life lessons to be learned from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha about love, life, mental health, and everything in between.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Our favourite Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha life lessons
1. First impressions don’t always last
By the end of the series, Hye-jin is such an integral part of the Gongjin community — so much that it’s almost forgettable how bad of a first impression she made with everyone. Remember how she unintentionally ended up dissing Chun-jae (aka Oh Yoon) in front of the whole town? Yikes!
Apart from Hye-jin, a number of characters were also introduced as not-so-loveable: Nam-suk, the town’s biggest gossip; Chun-jae, who couldn’t stop talking about how he used to be a famous singer; and Yeong-guk, who had absolutely no idea what he did wrong while he was married to Hwa-jeong.
But that’s the beauty of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha for you. The series zeroes in on each one of the characters and their stories. It turned out that Nam-suk was actually a sweetheart who had her own share of heartbreak, Oh Yoon really did have star potential, and Yeong-guk was able to own up to his mistakes and become a better husband. As the series progresses, we’re basically rooting for everyone to get their own happy ending!
2. Surround yourself with people who support you
Chief Hong may have lost his parents and grandparents, but it’s undeniable that he had family in Gongjin. In the beginning of the series, many of us probably wondered the same thing: How could someone be that nice?
Eventually, we found out exactly why Hong Banjang never hesitated to help any of the folks in Gongjin: They were the ones who put him back together after he went through a hard time. It’s no wonder Chief Hong found his livelihood so fulfilling!
On top of that, wasn’t it just so heartwarming when practically the whole town came to celebrate his birthday and his late grandfather’s death anniversary? He definitely had the best support system.
3. You never have to apologise for being victimised
When I first started watching Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, I was pretty sure I was in for a light and predictable story. So, imagine my surprise when I found out that the series dealt with some heavier issues, one of them being sexual assault.
After Mi-seon gets assaulted at work, Hye-jin rushes to her aid and gets arrested for hitting the perpetrator. Mi-seon visits her in jail and apologises, saying it’s all her fault. “Why are you apologising? You didn’t do anything wrong,” is how Hye-jin responds to her. While the series didn’t delve deep into the issue, they did put the message out there: Victims owe nobody any apologies.
4. You never really know what someone is silently going through
There’s a saying that goes “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is easily one of the most important lessons we learned from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. Who would’ve known that some of the most happy-go-lucky residents of Gongjin had actually gone through some of the most painful hardships?
First off, there’s Nam-suk: the town gossip, who had actually lost her daughter to a terminal illness. There’s also adorable I-jun, who, behind his sweet smile, was actually very heartbroken about his parents’ separation.
And then of course, there’s Du-sik, who had gone through a great deal of grief and trauma. From losing his parents, to the passing of his grandfather, to the death of a dear friend, he had dealt with so much loss from a young age; and to add to that, he blamed himself for the last two.
The same is true in real life. You never really know what someone is going through — not everyone chooses to share or show it.
5. Make it a point to check on your loved ones every now and then
Haven’t heard from someone in a long time? Have a gut a friend or family member might be quietly going through something? Reach out to them. (Or if they’ve tried reaching out to you while you were busy, get back to them.)
In the series, we saw how powerful a single message could be. Du-sik admitted that he was about to commit suicide when suddenly, he received a message from Gam-ri. Without knowing exactly what he was going through, she saved him.
This particular Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha lesson is extra important during the pandemic — a time where so many of us have been physically distanced from friends and family. Let this be a reminder to check up on them from time to time.
6. Allow yourself to grieve, and give yourself all the time you need to do it
In school, we learned about the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, and Acceptance. What some of us fail to remember is that not all of us go through all the stages in the exact same way. It’s not as simple as going from step to step, either. Grief is a process, and a personal one.
In Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, so many of the characters dealt with the passing of a loved one. Hye-jin lost her mom, Nam-suk lost her daughter, Chun-jae and Ju-ri lost Chun-jae’s wife; Du-sik lost several family members and a friend he saw as a brother; and in the end, everyone mourned the passing of Gam-ri.
One of the most memorable scenes was when Hye-jin encouraged Du-sik to show his pain and cry if he needed to. After years of bottling up his pain and keeping it to himself, he finally allowed himself to grieve the loss of his loved ones. We can’t imagine how tough it was for him to mask his pain for so long, and how relieving it must have been to finally feel comfortable enough to talk about his pain. Allowing yourself to grieve is truly something brave in itself.
7. Taking care of your health is one of the best things you can do for your loved ones
As the saying goes, health is wealth. Among the many lessons we learned from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, a number of them hold an extra amount of relevance due to the times we’re living in; this particular one is among them.
On more than one occasion, the characters reminded us that taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish at all — in fact, not doing so is a whole lot more selfish. Keeping in tip-top health allows us to have more time with the people who love us. So if you’re reading this: Get that checkup, run those tests, and follow the necessary safety protocols. Take care of yourself not just for you, but for your loved ones, too.
8. Don’t take your loved ones for granted
Seize every opportunity to tell people how you feel about them; pay attention to the things they do for you.
Gam-ri’s son regretted how he took his mom for granted and just kept telling himself he would make time for her next time. (Unfortunately, there was no “next time.”) Yeong-guk was ashamed of himself after finding out just how much he took Hwa-jeong for granted during their marriage; so, he made it his mission to do right by her when he had the opportunity to do so. Seong-hyeon took too long to tell Hye-jin how he felt — but he eventually learned his lesson and shared his feelings with Ji-won.
Take your chances while they’re there.
9. Don’t be afraid to make the first move
We love the amount of #GirlPower on Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha! We saw so many strong women in this series, and we can’t get enough of how empowering it was to see Hye-jin and Mi-seon bravely put themselves out there. From admitting their romantic feelings to proposing, these women didn’t sit around and wait. They made things happen! *Flex*
10. Recognise beauty in the ordinary
One of our favourite Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha lessons was uttered by our favourite halmeoni Gam-ri. During her sleepover with her BFFs, she expressed that she was happy — not because of anything complex, but because of the beautiful moments she experienced everyday. “Look around yourself closely, and you’ll realise that you’re surrounded by many precious things,” she reminded her friends.
We could go on and on, but these would have to be our favourite learnings from the series. What are the lessons you picked up from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha? We’d love to hear all about them — feel free to share them with us in the comments section!
Featured image credit: tvN via Netflix