If you would have told me on February 25, 2020 when my husband boarded a plane for Oregon, that we would be separated by the coronavirus, I would have thought you were exaggerating. Well fast forward nearly 4 months, 119 days to be exact, I sit here writing this.
My husband is a USA/Canada dual citizen. I am a Canadian citizen. We’ve lived together in Canada for close to 15 years. Over the last few years we have been thinking about moving to the USA. He wants to be closer to his parents, and I just want a change, and let’s be honest, I want to escape the crazy Canadian winters! Last November, he was offered a job in a town near his parents and after a few weeks of discussions, deliberations and weighing our options, we decided he should accept the job.
The plan was that he would fly down towards the end of February to start his new position on March 3rd. Once he was down there we would start the process of applying for my green card which we expected would take around 1 year. In the meantime we would fly back and forth for visits.
Separated by the Coronavirus: Our Story
The year 2020 started off great. I had an exciting year of travel planned: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Norway, Denmark, and bi-monthly visits to the USA.
In January, we embarked on an amazing 4 week trip to South America, visiting Chile, Argentina, and Rio de Janeiro.
Read more: The Perfect Mendoza 4 Day Itinerary
Read more: The Best 1 Week in Chile Itinerary
When we departed in January to South America, COVID was in the news but not a huge concern in North America, yet. By the time we got back it was spreading across the world quickly and Italy had just become the hotspot.
We arrived back in Canada on February 19th. After (re) packing his suitcases and saying good-bye to family and friends here, he departed on February 25th for Oregon, USA. It was a sad and very tear-y day.
But there was light ahead! (or so we thought) We had planned to see each other at least once per month. Either he would fly up to Canada or I would fly to the USA. Our 1st 4 flights were already booked, and we eagerly awaited our 1st visit.
Then everything started happening really fast!
Canada/USA Border Closes
On Mar 15th, the province of Alberta ordered all nonessential business to shut due to COVID-19, and recommended that anyone who could work from home should do so. I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from home. However, I now found myself in my house for 24 hours a day, on my own.
Then on March 20 at midnight, the Canada/USA border closed to essential travel only. That hurt. It was another sad and very tear-y day.
We were being separated by the coronavirus and there was nothing we could do about it.
The ‘New Normal’
As he adjusted to his new life and job in Oregon, I adjusted to my new normal at home in Canada.
Everyday, we text each other as soon as we wake up, and many times throughout the day. In the evening we either talk on the phone or Facetime. I send him pics of our home and our fur baby, (Maya the cat) and of whatever I’m up to. He sends me pics of his life in Oregon; the place where he is living, pics of his work, and his parents.
All masked up!
Maya the cat!
Somewhere in Oregon!
And although we see each other during our Facetime calls and the pictures we send back and forth, it’s just not the same as having someone with you in person. Someone to smile across the dinner table at. Someone to share a bottle of wine with. Someone who is there to help you open a jar of pickles when you can’t. To take down the Christmas lights (yes, I know I’m late on that!). And someone to hug you and tell you ‘we’ll get through this’, when all the stress of COVID-19 and self-isolation gets to you. The list goes on.
We’ve each spent each of our birthday’s apart as well as our wedding anniversary.
I’ve come to accept that for now, this is our new reality, as well as for countless other couples separated by the coronavirus. I know I’m lucky to still have a job, a roof over my head, and amazing family and friends to help support me through these crazy times. But I can’t wait for the day to see my husband again and to feel the warmth of his arms around me.
Stay safe. Stay home.
UPDATE: July 29, 2020
Good news! On July 11th, after 137 days of being apart, my husband was able to fly to Calgary.
His work was flexible and allowed him to work remotely for the 14 days while he completed the mandatory 14 day self-isolation required by the Government of Canada. On July 25th the self-isolation period ended and he was able to ‘rejoin the community’ (exact words from the government!). It feels so good to have him home and by my side, although it is only temporary as he will be returning to Oregon in a few weeks, when we will be separated by the coronavirus again, and then we start the countdown all over again to the day we can reunite!
Stay safe everyone!