They say goodbye is the hardest word. Whoever thought of that one was clearly a man of great wisdom and experience, as it seems to be universally true. Helena left on Friday morning, and saying goodbye to her while she wallowed in a semi comatose hangover at 6am on Friday morning was an awful experience. I know it’s only seven weeks apart (I’m already counting down), and I should really be grateful that we’ve built something so strong that it’s indisputably worth taking beyond the expat ‘bubble’, right now eight weeks seems like the longest time and arriving in Dublin like kind of mythically far off land of pixies and high calorie beer. The countdown has begun.
This is not what I planned for Seoul. The expat relationship pre-requisite – we’ll both be going our separate ways sooner or later – simply doesn’t allow for the fact that you could meet someone who’s worth changing everything for. I didn’t know what I’d be doing after Korea – aside from the fact that it almost certainly wouldn’t be going home and settling down – but Ireland certainly wasn’t anywhere near the agenda. I guess it’s true that love changes everything.
I have a great few weeks planned before I leave, and although there’s no way it’ll be enough to take my mind off missing Helena, at least I’ll be both missing her and making the most of the time I have left in this oddly thrilling little peninsula. The peninsula, actually, will be playing much less of a role than you might expect. After festivals and theme parks this weekend, I’m heading for the volcanic island of Ullengdo next weekend, with a brief stop off at that infamous disputed territory, Dokdo. Let’s hope a war doesn’t break out.
The week after I’ll be taking the endless elevator up 101 stories and sampling some lizard in Taipei, and I have a long anticipated trip to Japan planned for my second last weekend in East Asia in mid October, where I hope to stay in an extremely claustrophobic pod, just for the experience.
It’s all go, but from now on they’ll always be a big reason why it’s time to go. It’s going to be odd, but I’ll make the most of it. ‘Fighting’ as they say in Korea! Onwards,