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City stories : Lee Mi-jin

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Lee Mi-jin, Pilates instructor (Jagok-dong)

Your birthday comes every four years on Leap Day, February 29th.
I turn 25 this year, but it’s only my sixth birthday. Should I only blow out six candles? It’s a dilemma. Also, I was born in 1992, so my birthday overlaps with the Olympics. Every time it’s leap year, the year feels special not only because of my birthday but also because so much is going on.

How do you spend your birthday when it’s not a leap year?
I celebrate according to the lunar calendar and with my friends just the day before. To be honest, it doesn’t feel too special. I can’t exactly explain it, but it doesn’t feel like my birthday. When I was younger, it made me a bit sad, but now it doesn’t bother me.

It must be confusing for others to congratulate you.
Yes, I feel it too. Normally, people send text messages at midnight to wish you a happy birthday, right? For me, on years that don’t have the 29th less people send me texts, but on leap years, friends I haven’t talked to in a while remember me and wish me happy birthday.

How are you going to spend your birthday this year?
Unfortunately, I have a seminar in the afternoon. But for the first time, I have a boyfriend on an actual leap year with whom I can celebrate my real birthday! He’s definitely going to read this interview, so can you write that I’m expecting something big? [laughs] —Hwang Hye-young

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