Twelve years ago (2007), I enrolled my son in a local taekwondo studio. I knew nothing about martial arts, it was location that brought us to this studio. The instructors were enthusiastic and friendly, but what sealed the deal was that they gave him a paper with “philosophy” on it. Each belt level had to learn different aspects of Korean TKD as well as some general culture. The homeschool mom in me was thrilled, physical education plus cultural studies, where do we sign?
Nine years later, I was introduced to Kdrama From there I began listening to some K-pop mostly OST's. One of the older girls at my daughter's ballet school also happened to watch K-dramas and we would often chat about them between rehearsals and classes. One day she told me she had been too distracted by a kpop group to keep up with the dramas we'd been watching. She told me about BTS and said I should really go on YouTube and check them out. I have to admit I just couldn't fathom that anything found on YouTube could hold my interest.
Several months later I went to KCON for the first time. At one of the vender booths I found a variety of BTS stickers. I immediately texted my dancer friend and asked who her favorite (I had not learned the term ‘bias’ yet) was from BTS so I could get her some. I remember asking the girl behind the counter to help me decide which J-hope & Suga stickers to get for her. I was not at all familiar with even their names at this point. That changed when I got home and gave her her stickers. She was genuinely thrilled and happy, so much so, I felt compelled to find out just who these boys were that a couple stickers would make her so happy (and would keep her from K-dramas).
She suggested that I watch the Dope MV. That was it, game over, I was in. I could not believe a group could be so coordinated, so in sync, so GOOD. I proceeded to spend the next 8 months or so sending daily Bangtan bombs, vlives, pictures, and songs to two fellow kdrama watchers. We all became fast fans and even eventually went to Wings tour in Anaheim together.
By this time I had also enrolled in taekwondo and was well on my way to black belt. In 2017, I earned my black belt, took a trip to Korea with our studio, was attempting to learn Korean and I had help start a small group chat of other older fans of BTS. The Hallyu wave swept me up! I had made friends from all over the world.
I found BTS at a time in my life that was happy & full of good things. I didn't need them, but they brought me a joy that was consuming. I have gone through several hardships since finding them & I am grateful every day that they are a part of my life. They inspire me to work harder, to be better, to give more and to love who I am.