My brother arrived on friday, coated with sweat after carrying his enormous backpack all the way from the tube station (it's a good 10 minute walk) - his big, familiar gap-toothed grin and eternally-burnt nose beaming from the doorway.
Before he came, he told me not to change any plans, just to do whatever we were going to do anyway, and not to worry about him. I guess he didn't realise that, for me, being away from my family for so long means that having one of them over here with me is a big fat deal. I am so happy to have him here; just hanging out with me and my boyfriend, occasionally play-wrestling me to the ground, happily eating whatever we put in front of him. It almost feels like a holiday.
Yesterday, we rang home and spoke to mum and dad. They were thrilled to hear from us, and to know that we are both together and enjoying each other's company for a little while. It has really made me think about how comfortable and happy I am in the company of my immediate family, and how much I appreciate them (and miss them terribly). He is spending a year in Sweden with his girlfriend, after which - who knows? I can't believe we are both bobbing in the same easily-capsized boat, the HMS "International Relationship". Uncharted territory for us both.
It is good to have him, for now.