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,