Kata & C

Kata & C
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They met in Ireland, formed a long-distance relationship, then re-met to travel together, only to separate once again.

“My boyfriend and I met over a year ago now, he’s American and was in Ireland staying at my friend’s Airbnb. When his visa period ran out we said goodbye, thinking that was the end of that. But it turned into a long-distance relationship and we got even closer over Skype than I ever imagined possible. 

My daughter and I flew to see him and met some of his family in Alaska last summer. It was the first time I had been anywhere other than Spain (where my family lives) or Iceland (where I’m from) for 10 years. It re-ignited my love of travel and I put my house on the market, quit my job, took my daughter out of school, and became a world schooling digital nomad. 

He works in the middle east and is away for months at a time. My new freedom of movement meant that we were able to spend an amazing couple of months traveling around Thailand & Vietnam this past winter when he was on a break from work.

After the trip, C went back to work and I went back to Ireland (I was hoping to only be back here for a few weeks) to finish emptying my house. My plan was to spend April in the south of Spain. From there I would fly to the US in May when he finished his latest tour. Big plans were forming for us to spend 3 months traveling, meeting the rest of his family.

The epidemic was already unfolding when we were together in Thailand, but it was happening in China. Apart from some flight cancellation issues, we were relatively unaffected. Then the slow-motion car crash started to play out and I watched in disbelief as it spread across the globe. 

Then Spain went into lockdown. My brother and his family hunkered down at home while the Guardia Civil patrolled the streets. My Mom’s Airbnb took hit after hit in Gibraltar and she became separated from my brother as the Gibraltar/Spain border closed to everything but essential crossings.

I adapted my plans, I would just fly directly to the US (I’m in Northern Ireland so the European travel ban didn’t apply to us). Then the inevitable happened, travel from the UK was included in the ban. 

Although I was holding onto hope that it would be lifted before May, another aspect came up. It is possible that because of the logistical complication of 2 weeks quarantine involved in shift changes, C might not be able to take his next break from work in May; it could be months before he could take his turn to change out. 

The uncertainty, the constantly changing (for the worse) dynamics and the inability to make concrete plans is really unsettling. Before our trip in Southeast Asia, we were both used to spending more time apart than together. But spending 2 months traveling together spoiled me and I have found readjusting to being apart harder than before. 

I’m not able to count down the days to when we’ll be together again. In fact, the day count grows longer and longer. There is no point in tracking flight prices for when we might fly to see each other, something I like to do when I am missing him badly. But we can spend those days talking on Skype, which really is an amazing luxury given how long-distance relationships used to look!

He helps me view things more pragmatically and grounds me when I become overwhelmed with sadness and helplessness with the torrent of heartbreaking stories and skyrocketing numbers of infections/deaths. The implications that come with it all start to break through my usual positive outlook. 

Luckily, we both get a lot of comfort in our faith, I know he is looked after and can overcome anything, and I know that the same is true for me. He is grateful to be working while he’s stuck, where he is getting paid and keeping busy. I am grateful to be stuck in my own home, even if it is the house that I had said goodbye to. Although my exciting life changes are on hold, and our time together rests in limbo, it is nothing compared to the difficulties others are going through.”

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