It’s Time to Make Time – A Poem

everyone seems
so busy
all the time
making a living
making ends meet
but it seems
there is
never enough
time for
making a life
making things
creating
instead of
consuming

the only way
to break free
from this
time-poor life
is by making time
not just money
for money cannot
buy time

it’s time to
make time
for a life
worth living
for a life
worth loving
falling in
love with
for the rest
of our lifetime


minji hur

The Magic of Pen and Paper – A Poem

the magic of
pen and paper
or typewriter
or whatever tool
you use to write
and rewrite
your life
is that
it can turn
wounds into wisdom
it can translate
pain into peace
it can tie
trauma with triumphs


minji hur

This Big City Life – A Poem

I am leaving
the hustle and bustle of
this big city life
where everything is
happening too fast
where everyone is
rushing from A to B
there is no time to
spare in between
let alone stare
into the sky
instead of screen

I am leaving
the madness of
this big city life
to go on an adventure
to spend time in nature
where I would like to
lose myself
to find myself
where I want to
stop striving
for a life of more
and
start thriving
for a life of less


minji hur

Goodbye, Big City (at least for now)

“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.” ~ Ernie Harwell

I’ve always been a city girl.

Born in Seoul, South Korea which is one of the most densely populated and fast-paced cities in the world, I grew up surrounded by high-rise buildings. Then I moved to Da Lian, a port city in China also with a large population at the age of 13, and to Sydney when I was 15. And I’ve called it home ever since. As a Sydney-sider, I have lived in different suburbs from Bondi Beach, Paddington, Pyrmont, Glebe, North Sydney, Chatswood to Five Dock (all of which are within 15min drive from the Sydney CBD). So the idea of leaving the big city life was something quite different, yet I knew it was worth pondering for many reasons, especially since I started a family.

When I first arrived in Sydney back in 2005, I was amazed by the slow and easy-going nature of its lifestyle. It was such a huge contrast to the cities like Seoul where I grew up. Unlike the Tourism Australia ads I saw on TV as a child, there were no Kangaroos jumping around everywhere. However, it did felt like a small, semi-rural town. I remember making an eye contact with people walking on the streets so naturally and say “G’day” to each other (of course, it was before the invention of smartphones which helped!). In the span of just ten years, Sydney has EXPLODED into this busy, big city full of hustle-and-bustles everywhere beyond the CBD area. With the soaring housing price and employment rates, Sydney is thriving commercially, however it is slowly but surely losing the once relaxed atmosphere and pace of life it had to offer ten years ago. Although it still is far less crowded than other major global cities in Asia Pacific like Seoul, Shanghai or Singapore, it’s well on the way to becoming one. According to the Sydney Morning Herald article, Sydney will reach a population of 6 million by 2028 at current growth rates.

To me and my young family (as well as many other families with small children I’ve spoken to), Sydney is becoming less and less pleasant due to the increasingly congested traffic, construction sites and high cost of living. For example, we were paying $900 per week in a 2-bedroom apartment in Chatswood which was fine when my partner and I were both working full-time on big salaries. The situation changed dramatically when I had stopped working as I fell pregnant with my second child in early 2017. My partner had also decided to stop working 9-5 for a big company and started his own consultancy so he could be more flexible and spend more time with the family. All of a sudden, our income halved and we could no longer afford living in a $900pw apartment, not to mention the need for a bigger place to live in for our growing family. And that was when we had to ask ourselves the question “Do we want to continue living in Sydney, where we don’t necessarily enjoy living in anymore, but have to keep working nine-to-five (or more) Monday to Friday just to be able to afford the rent for a tiny apartment? Do we want our children to grow up surrounded by fast cars and construction sites?” The answer was clearly NO.

We have realised, what we truly want is to live a life slowly, mindfully and meaningfully where we have enough time, space and money to enjoy simple things (like singing and dancing, going for bush walks, reading books, cooking and eating together, being playful and creative (both with family and work), etc. on a daily basis. And it turns out, we don’t have to live in the big city to in order to enjoy these simple things. In fact, the big city life will get in our way of finding space (both physically and mentally) to do these things. What’s more, we want to do less “big city things” including mindlessly shopping around and spending money on things we don’t need (and produce more waste), walking through the crowd of people rushing everywhere and being stuck in traffic, just to name a few. Most importantly, we don’t have to live in the city for work either, none of us has an office job. We have digital and business skills which means the majority of our work can be done online. For a long time, we have been going for weekend getaways to peaceful & quiet, semi-rural areas to “get away” from the city. Now we want to do the other way around: living in peace & quiet and going for weekend trips to the city (mainly to see family & friends) every couple of months. This makes perfect sense.

After countless conversations with my partner and nights spent on contemplating this idea, we have finally decided to make our first step towards leaving the big city by going on a six-month adventure to Tasmania – a beautiful island/state with a great mixture of nature (national parks, rainforests and stunning beaches throughout) as well as culture (thanks to MONA and many other cultural hotspots). When my partner and I first visited Tasmania in 2015, we fell in love with it and knew it was the kinda place we wanted our children to grow up in. Yes it was a holiday after all and we will never know about the place until we live in it. So we believe, six months of actually living there means we will be able to get the feel for the Tasmanian lifestyle and decide whether we want to settle there long-term. So instead of moving everything from Sydney to Hobart, we will only take the essentials and move to a fully-furnished place on a short-term lease to test the water first. According to our research so far, the short-term rental properties in Tasmania are about half of what similar properties cost in Sydney (e.g. $400-450 for a 3-bedroom place).

By reducing the cost of living by half, we will also reduce pressure on ourselves to earn enough money to make ends meet while increasing time and energy spent doing things that “matter” to us the most, as opposed to doing what “everybody else” is doing and living with herd mentality that is so epidemic in this city life bombarded by media and advertising that scream “you should buy _____ (insert whatever) because it will make you happy” and equivalent messages that constantly tell us to do and buy more things all the time. What the world needs, I believe, is less things but more time and space to work out what truly makes us happy and to do more of those. By leaving this hectic life behind, we are hoping not only to find time to spend time with each other, but also to find a sense of community and develop slow, quality and genuine relatonships with like-minded people and families.

Like any big change, there will be lots of challenges both physically and emotionally, including being away from our family and friends, getting lost in the middle of nowhere and not having the world’s fastest internet connection (although some people say the internet is faster in rural areas with NBN in place), etc. But we are ready to make a change and take this opportunity to make a positive difference in our lives as well as our children’s. We may not like the lifestyle and want to move back to the city at the end of our adventure, but it’s highly likely that we will love it and never look back… either way, it will be a great, unforgettable experience for us all.

So goodbye big city life in Sydney (at least for now), hello life in Tasmania!

p.s. I am not leaving my blog though, in fact I’ll be writing a lot more and be sure to keep you posted.

Fear of Darkness – A Poem

have you ever felt
afraid of, or at least
daunted by
darkness
that is
nothing but
the pitch black
absence of light

what if
what you actually fear
is not darkness itself
but your feelings
painfully real
that surface
and you cannot help
but face
in darkness

what if
the only way
to conquer the fear
is to look them
directly in the eyes
of these feelings

what if
the only way
to break free
is to say, loud and clear
oh hey there
it’s you again
i see you
i feel you
i release you


minji hur

Also known as…

Who am I? I ask myself.
It is a big question to ponder.

“I am a mum.” is my immediate answer to the question, as I’m occupied with my role as a mother for my two beautiful children at this very point in my life.

But am I really “just” a mum?

Nope.

I am also a partner.
I am also a sister.
I am also a daughter.
I am also a friend.
I am also a writer.
I am also a reader.
I am also a citizen.
I am also a woman.
I am also a human being.

The list can go on and on.

However, I know I am a “free spirit” capable of being whatever I choose to be – also known as – all the above.

We carry multiple titles to identify ourselves in various contexts. We often label ourselves and other people so much so that it became second nature to us.

But in reality, a lot of people struggle to answer to the big question “Who am I?”.

Self-identity is an interesting yet challenging concept to fully grasp, since it is always evolving. It can be a combination of what we do for a living and for hobbies, what we have become and what we are working towards becoming. It reflects our current values, priorities and circumstances.

Since the birth of my first child, my sense of identity has shifted tremendously and almost been consolidated to one title – a mother. And, unlike any job title, it is now permanently who I am and who I will always be, no matter how old my children are.

This is all great. But this wonderful title “mother” (or whatever it may be) often comes with many expectations placed upon us by ourselves as well as our well-meaning society. For example, a mother should be loving and nurturing at all times, a mother should stay at home with children, a mother should be there for the family 24/7, etc.

These rigid ideas and expectations on motherhood often leave many mothers feeling confused, lost and even inadequate. I certainly felt that way in the first vulnerable few months of motherhood. It took me a while to overcome the idea that I should be “more like this”, and “less like this”, in order to fit into the stereotypical idea of motherhood. After all, no two mothers are alike.

After reflecting on my self-identity and motherhood for quite some time, I had a realisation our titles and labels are “socially constructed” at the end of the day – which can be limiting when it comes to understanding and expressing the true essence/nature of our being. This was a huge paradigm shift.

In my conscious effort to give myself freedom to be whoever I choose to be, I decided to change my answer to the big question “who am I?” from “I am a mother” to “I am also known as a mother”.

Who are you also known as?