A last post from Korea

As I write this I am sitting at my strangely empty desk at work, next to my bags that are stuffed with the last remaining bits (mainly clothes!) that I will take with me out of Korea. It is officially our last contracted day. We have handed over the keys to our apartment, are wrapping up final things at work and then getting on a bus to Seoul to spend the weekend with friends ❤  I will do a post on this week’s spending and a big wrap up of our financial year in Korea but that will probably only happen once we have left. But before we leave I just wanted to do one more post from Korea. It’s a bit different for this blog – it’s an extract from a book (the most wonderful, beautiful book set in South Africa pre-Apartheid) that I have just finished reading. But I thought this extract offered so many themes that speak to the values and ideas behind early retirement, financial independence, self-sufficiency and worth that I thought I should share it with you, dear Reader:

[Mid-1920s on a Karoo Farm]

“In the dim pantry, their mother… notices the sorting that her fingers are busy with and it comes to her that this inessential work with the fruit is all that is left in this hour of the day to hands that once smoothed the clay, dung and blood of the very floor of this room. Her strong pale legs and feet, bared to the thigh, had tramped and mixed the mud for this room’s bricks. The food her children ate, and the clothes they wore, and the letters they learned to recognize, and the shelter over their heads, all had come at least in part, and often in large part, from her, but in the course of her lifetime this great round of work, the labour that had placed her at the core of her family, had been shared out to a hundred or more men, men she will never know, whose goods arrive in trucks in the town to be fetched by the farm – butchered beef and ground meal and packaged coffee, milled soap, loomed cloth, sewn shirts, machined boots and stamped tin. In her imagination the factories radiate from her home, busy as they are on her behalf (and that of a thousand thousand other women) with the tasks she once did.

And at the core of this system of energy and product are not her body and capable mind, not the skills, from honing a needle to building a house, that live in her, but the cash box in the farm safe. The flimsy pounds, the coins and half coins, these are at the centre now, and where is she? And if she, a woman on a working farm, knows her labour to have been usurped – sees her daughter and daughters-in-law cast about for occupation, for value in their days, sees the mothers among them turn from their own lives to fold themselves around their children and draw from them more meaning than motherhood can bear – how much less valued must be the women of the cities?”  (p. 97 – 98)

  • The Magistrate of Gower by Claire Robertson (2015)

Chat soon, dear Reader! Much love,

Xxx

 

Week 41

I GOT THE JOB!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! Ah, dear Reader, I cannot explain how wonderful this job is. It is exactly what I want to do (working in the public health sector with children and adolescents) and they are already treating me so well – even offering to keep an ear out for jobs for Husband. Have you ever?? Continue reading

Thailand in 10 Days (12 days with travel time)

We made this a VERY different trip to our Malaysian trip last year, or in fact to any trip that we have ever taken. The impetus for this was Husband’s instance that it is possible to travel to another country, not see ALL the things, and just have a wonderful, relaxing holiday instead. He also insisted that it would be possible to do all this without feeling wracked with guilt for choosing to relax and revive rather than choosing to mission to learn and see everything we possibly can. Continue reading

Week 39 & Week 40

We arrived back in Korea on Friday the 3rd and so I thought that I would just do my usual thing and join that weekend with the following week, making it a longer than usual week. But when I started doing the numbers I realized that we spent so much during that weekend that it really deserves its own write-up. Plus, I think it’s interesting to see our spending in more detail for this last month of Korea because, as I said in Month 9, it has definitely changed. This last month we have gone from “we live here” spending brains to “we’re leaving soon and so must experience everything one last time” spending brains. Continue reading

The Numbers: A Summary of Month 9

And here we are, dear Reader, NINE MONTHS into Our Brat Experiment. An entire whole baby if we had been pregnant (which gives me new found respect for pregnancy – shows in concrete terms for an outsider how long it really is!!) It was also our second to last month in Korea and so we are now into the final push of saving as much as we possibly can while still having the amazing benefits Korea gives us (namely: very cheap health care, no tax and living rent free). Continue reading

Week 38

Hello, dear Reader! It has been SO long since I wrote! The main reason for this is that we have just spent 10 glorious days in Thailand ❤ (But more on this in a future post in my brat travel section). I had fully intended to this Week 38 post and the end of the month post before we left, as well as give you a heads up that things would be quiet on here for a while… but then a wonderful and terrifying thing occurred: I got a job interview 😀 Continue reading