What We Found in 2021: Love and Friendship Abroad

If Omicron darkens the end of the year in Quebec and around the world, 2021 has kept us with a clearer picture. To give some relief, duty In this series, he delves into moments or habits that we were able to live or rediscover. The second memory: the reopening of borders, allowing family and friends to be reunited from the four corners of the globe.

The last time she saw her French aunt and cousins, Megan Foy was in late high school and living in a house with her parents in Sherbrooke. Since then, the journalism student earned half his bachelor’s degree and moved to Quebec City.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve seen them, there’s been a lot of changes, both from their side and ours. My cousin, the last time I saw her, didn’t yet know how to talk, at least not easily.” a task On December 16, while she was on her way to Sherbrooke to look for her.

“It’s a bit strange, I don’t know [où ils sont rendus]. Yesterday, my mother and I wanted to buy gifts for the children, and we asked ourselves: “Does my cousin know how to read?” It’s silly, but we don’t know where they are in life, nor do we know their passion. Do they like sports? Music ? » Related to the new Montrealer. Then you find the words for an indescribable situation: “It’s like getting to know your family again.”

A precaution against COVID-19, border closures partly explain this interval between visits, which has become as hard to predict as a dice. This wait on one side of the ocean and the other raises some concern about a reunion.

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“Will they be happy to see me, will they know what to tell me?” » asks the former resident of Sherbrooke. His fears soon dissipated, however, joy overpowered his questions. “It will allow us to start 2022 [sur de bonnes bases]. Nothing negative, really only positive, but my mascara is sure to run out. “

Promise of free debt upon him. A few days after that first call, Megan Foy delivers the news. And although she no longer wears any makeup on her eyes, the nails painted by her seven-year-old cousin audibly say with a smile: “The place was full of emotions.” To see my cousin and my cousin, to see how much they have grown, it hit me. “

“We are so grateful to have them here. Impossible [qu’ils nous offrent] birthday presents. They are here, and this is the gift,” concludes the woman in the spirit of the family.

The year of the first encounters

During the first confinement, in April 2020, Sarah Sabry did like many souls in need of company (or entertainment) and opened a Tinder account. Three pandemic waves, a dating app made it possible to access foreign profiles, a feature that Quebecers of Moroccan descent later discovered. “On a whim, I said to myself: ‘I will go and see what there is to see in Morocco.’”

A stroke of luck meets her current lover, Youssef. In April 2021, a year after their first discussions, several kisses and hugs were exchanged, but only through the web.

Not because they didn’t try to give real stuff earlier. The first flight was scheduled to take place the previous summer, then in the fall and finally in the spring. All departures are cancelled, with COVID-19 being indifferent to their budding love.

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“I had my calendar next to my desk and was counting the days,” she says. But after the second postponement, hope faded. “At the beginning of November, things got worse. In addition to a couple of missed opportunities, the lag [horaire entre nous] more [dû au changement d’heure]. So there were six hours, not five. Then we really felt the effect of distance and confinement. “

A pause was called, or, as they like to call it, a “collective decision” was made. In February, perhaps thanks to Cupid, the couple began talking again.

“The virus is not what will stop us, on the contrary, it is what brought us together. Tinder would never have given the international option without COVID-19,” explains Sarah Sabri.

Her eminent optimism finally led her to meet Youssef El Jesda in Morocco during an unforgettable trip for a few weeks, in July 2021. With such happiness, sadness of return: “Kisses across the screen no longer have the same value as before.”

But at least there are kisses, you think, eagerly awaiting the next facility to see her Moroccan lover again.

New arrivals

For American Thanksgiving, Marie-Michel Marco was able to see her sister-in-law Isla again, but not only. I also got to meet Jin and Yuna, who are little blond twins with blue eyes who were born in March 2021.

For a Quebec who lives in Hawaii with her Scottish-born husband, these births would, in normal times, have largely justified a trip to the UK, where her sister-in-law resides. “Except here, we can’t just jump on a plane and meet Isla’s kids.” So, the two families will have joined halfway, in Chicago, to celebrate the new arrivals.

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“It was very nice. We watch small videos, but they are not the same. In fact, we really got to know the kids, seeing their personalities and communicating with them. It creates much stronger bonds. “

For a couple who used to travel, being away from those around them is not unusual. “What is new is that we have always been just one plane ticket from our family. This is the difficult end,” Al-Badawi admits.

Marie-Michel Marco was also able to visit her mother in Quebec in September, just over a year after leaving the province for the American archipelago. Thus, reopening the borders will enable him to see many of his loved ones again.

Since the early months of 2022, she must be receiving some friends in addition to her mother-in-law who is based in Namibia. “We can’t wait to see if all the pieces of the puzzle work,” she said, fingers crossed.

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