The series revolves around an ambitious & hard-working manager at a 5-star hotel, Xu Hong Dou, in Beijing. Focused and disciplined, she suddenly finds her best friend from university being diagnosed with cancer and within a very short period of time passed away. Although she gets on with life, it is now blotted with doubts and grief threatens to upend her life. After taking stock of the situation, she quits her job and retreats to a small village Yun Miao in Yunnan province, being a destination that her best friend had always wanted to visit.
Staying in a homestay, sharing with a few other short-term dwellers, she slowly recuperates and takes a slower pace in life. In the village, she meets Xie Zhi Yao, a local who returns from the city (after some years in the corporate world) to assist the growth of the village. Hong Dou is portrayed by Liu Yi Fei and Xie Zhi Yao is portrayed by Li Xian.
The series take a very slow introduction to the various village dwellers, and the characters staying in the homestay. The beauty of the series is the mix of the village dwellers (and their individual challenges & stories), the short-term dwellers taking a vacation in the village (and their objectives in taking the break) and the beautiful village where they meet. The venue is situated near Lake Erhai with the Mountain Cang as the background, providing plenty of documentary-style shots of the beautiful places and villages. Adding in the theme of sustainable tourism, with the emphasis on benefits to the local dwellers, the series is positive in every possible manner. It is easy to overly promote the tourism aspects, but the series is beautifully directed to link the life of all the characters and their livelihood, including how tourism affects everyone. Finally, not forgetting the romance part as well.
There are many themes inter-related with tourism – preservation of historical buildings, sustainable tourism, involvement of government and businesses, availability of infrastructure. Although a village looks forward to its heydays as tourist attraction, when the day comes it may not be what is expected. The continuous flood of tourists also resulted in significant issues within the village, raising sustainability as a key theme for future success.
Actually the village resembles very much the kind of lifestyle that Dianxi Xiaoge lives, a Youtuber whom I also follow who document the Yunnan lifestyle & cooking food.
The Villager Dwellers
Zhi Yao is assisted by a straight-forward but efficient Xiao Chun who manages the homestay and a few other local handicraft shops on his behalf, including cloth-dyeing & embroidery craft shops and online shops selling various local products. Divorced with a daughter, she returns from the city to manage the various businesses. Although she seems to be at ease with her current situation, she has pursuers and her ex-husband also pines for her to have a change in heart.
There are many of the elder villagers who are “absorbed” as employees of these local crafts & businesses supporting the tourism. All of them have their own stories, and difficulties. Aunt A Gui who is loud, positive, kind-hearted, straightforward but sometimes a little of a braggard. The total opposite, Aunt Feng, is quiet, a bit more introvert and hardworking but I guess that is expected when she has gone through such a hard life, losing her daughter and her only son swaying to steal & imprisoned.
It is quite funny how these villagers interact within themselves, and how they are mostly welcoming to the newcomers. But human being is a mix bags of characters – kindness to each other within the village, greed towards monetary gains when success of tourism seems to be evident, envy of others when successful.
Special mention to Granny Xie – Zhi Yao’s grandmother. She is such a lovely grandma, your loving grandmother but equally mischievous and all-knowing too!
The Other City-Dwellers
The other city dwellers staying in the homestay also have stories of their own. Da Mai as the online author who is demotivated and stuck in a rut, managing the vicious cycle of an average online author who has to continuously churn out chapters upon chapters for the online readers, only for some to provide continuous negative remarks. Similarly, Lin Na who used to be a relatively famous influencer, is attacked by cyber “keyboard warriors”, accusing her of being a fake.
Similarly, the ever-meditating Ma Qiu Shan, is previously an optimist entrepreneur who failed in his last investment and lost everything. The set-back forces him to review his priorities although in very weird ways. Hu You Yu the gallavanting musician out of luck with musical compositions & women, is equally down and under. But rises to the occasion especially with the nurturing of Bai Man Jun, an elder woman who is smitten with the slick young man’s slippery tongue.
The theme for the city dwellers seems to focus on the challenges & pressure they faced, whereby the need for a break helps them to overcome their fear of failure. The “break” in a peaceful village with beautiful people and sceneries provide the peace to assist them to stand up again to meet the world, with the help of friends of course.
As Hong Dou lends her experiences in hotel management & customer service to the various tourism within the village, she strikes up a comfortable friendship with Zhi Yao. The two shares many similar passion and there is always something simmering when they are together. However, the two leads are too wary to give way to their heart. As time passes by and they face challenges together, they realise the strong feelings for each other. When Zhi Yao finally confesses his love, he still gives plenty of room for Hong Dou to think and choose.
One of the highlights of watching the series is actually the chemistry between Hong Dou and Zhi Yao. Theirs are not the passionately fall in love with each other, and not able to live without each other. Theirs is really a slow and “calculated” relationship, whereby both are wary and thoughtful in their assessment of their own commitment towards a relationship. It is a nice change from the normal love stories.
I really like Liu Yi Fei and Li Xian, and both have chemistry with each other. There are many, many sweet moments for the couple. The stranger moments, the getting to know each other moments, the conflicting moments, the angry moments. The direction of the series really makes you feel as if you are going through the process of falling in love with the couple. Wonderful feelings! I am rooting for them all the time, and who won’t! All the villagers and everyone can see their chemistry.
Liu Yi Fei’s clothes are really fashionable and pretty. Am not so sure in real life if these would be worn by villagers but it looks good on her! Flowy dresses, high-waisted jeans, cardigans all look great. Makes me wonder how come my travel never have such highlights. 😀
The series has great quotes trickling everywhere which I love. I have taken some liberty to put these herewith, but with my understanding. 😀
- Each business needs a story to attract customers.
- In the past, skills are required to meet the needs of customers. In the present, skills are required to create demand for the customers.
- Teenagers between 16 to 20 have the biggest ego
- Wind is where hot and cold air meets, bringing happiness and gratitude
- If someone passes away and is not mentioned anymore, that is truly when someone leaves us forever. It is better to share the stories of deceased loved ones so that they will forever live in our memory and others’ memories in the future.
The 40-episode series came recommended by friends for its beautiful sceneries, motivating & encouraging tourism to lesser-known attractions in Yunnan. Personally, the series is a refreshing take although at times the series does seem to be dragging its feet. BUT I love every episode. Have the patience to slowly journey with the characters of the series.
After finishing the series, my heart is aflutter to go on a short break to a peaceful village to while the time away, enjoying good food, take afternoon naps, take short walks to new places daily. Now excuse me while I continue to work hard to get the monies to do so. 😀
One thought on “Meet Yourself (2023) 去有风的地方: C-Drama Series Review”
I love the scenery, the costume that the village elders were wearing. I also like the way the village people enjoying cooking and eating and growing their own vegetables. The people in the movie gives a feeling of one happy family helping each other and I have enjoyed watching all the series and I have told all my friends to watch it.
Thank you so much.