|Selfie in Changdeokgung Huwon, Seoul. The Secret Garden Palace|
He was a great house-guest: he killed a cockroach for me that was crawling on my wall. I'd had enough of them at that stage (a story for another day) and I begged him to get rid of it even though he was still sleeping and it was 6.30am! He also helped me to rearrange my apartment and to do a thorough cleaning out of my big suitcase full of winter clothes. Whenever I needed help with anything he was willing and ready. The only time he was intractable was when he was curled up in bed and ready to go to sleep!
From the minute he arrived it was mostly go-go-go. I had planned on going around Seoul with him the day he arrived but instead we headed to the train. He was exhausted from his trip but I insisted (like the good sister I am) that we should go for a walk. I didn't let him rest at all those first few days, as the very next day after he arrived we headed back up to Seoul for the Halloween shenanigans and to do some touristy things. During his trip, he saw two palaces, Changgyeonggung and Changdeokgung, went to Insadong twice, partied in Hongdae, went to a lantern festival, visited both my schools (and went to four Halloween parties) and went to Gyeongju and Japan.
|Palace time! The 3 pictures going clockwise from the top are from Changgyeong|
and going anti-clockwise from the top are from Changdeok.
Top left - "Why do you need to take my photo, again?"
|Desserts, BBQ, Jeon, Bibimbap and Kimchi galore!|
|Street food in Jochiwon.|
We had plenty to talk about and there was never a dull moment in the two weeks. I think that my favourite part of his visit was just having someone to come home to. It was the same when my cousin visited last year. My home never feels lonely when I am there alone but someone else's presence over an extended period of time, like a week or two, creates such an impact on your space. With him gone, I felt really lonely and really sad. I still do to be honest and even thinking about it makes me want to cry. You see, both he and my cousin are family. They don't just bring themselves to visit me. They bring a little bit of all the people I love most in the world with them. They bring shared experiences, shared memories and shared connections. They bring home. It's nearly a year since I felt homesick and right now I feel so incredibly homesick. Not for Ireland. I'm homesick for someone else to share my space and to make my house into a home.
So, you might think I'm mad to let my brother's visit affect me so much. You might think I'm mad to feel that over a two week period my brother could have made such an impact on my home. You might think I'm mad to have bawled in Seoul station for a good 25 minutes. Maybe it is silly but home is where the heart is and my heart is with my family. I loved having my brother here and I think that his visit has only strengthened our relationship and has allowed us to look at each other with new eyes and open hearts.
PS. Thank you Jody for visiting! I miss you tons!
PPS This post was inspired by a brilliant brother and John Denver's Take me home, Country Roads.