#LoveIsNotTourism: 365 days separated by COVID

coppia mista - insieme - separati dal covid - Canada

365 are the days we have spent apart, a year.

Last November we said goodbye at the airport in Mumbai, the traffic made me arrive late, I was wearing a red kurta, a traditional dress because his parents would be there. A chaste goodbye, India is watching us, be aware.

"Good Luck my love!"

The first few months away were strange, a day apart, me in Mumbai and he in Toronto, after beautiful months in which I was used to seeing him arrive at the door of my apartment in Bandra. The picture of Krishna as a background to our hug, our mattress in the middle of the living room that was home to us. Now a new world to discover for him, for me the last months in India before following him.

Documents to prepare, a visa to apply for, two years of preparation for our big step:

"Enough distance! Let's live together!"

"Yes, but where!?"

"In Canada!"

We dreamed of a future as foreigners, both starting from scratch, far from our societies, invisible in our diversity. Together.

"See you in march!"

In February I return to Italy, our life in Mumbai behind us, a new chapter awaits us.

The pandemic erupted a week before my visa arrived. The world stops, the borders closed. What happened then we all know. When we had to wait, we did it, we were at home, on hold, without pretensions. In May there was talk of restarting: spring and then summer, apparent normality around me, we take our lives back. No, not all, not binational families.

The advocacy with #LoveIsNotTourism and the Canadian group Faces of Advocacy saved our lives, kept us busy, made us angry, gave us hope.

It changed us, it hurt us, we are no longer the same, I don't know about you.

At the beginning of September, Italy opens to binational families, what a joy! We start putting together documents, money, we call embassies and consulates, everything seems in order. A month to coordinate everything and at the beginning of October the news we were waiting for: Canada too will reunite families and unmarried couples. Let's pause the Italian documents and start those for Canada.

The official announcement was on the 2nd of October (as Shreyank likes to say is the birthday of Gandhi and Shreyank's first niece!).

On the 8th of October, the Canadian Government publishes the list of documents to be prepared. On the 11th of October, we send our application: days of agony, the worst of this hell of waiting.

On the 22nd of October (my birthday!) I get the best gift of all: my authorization to reunite with Shreyank!

The second wave is scary, I have to take courage, we've been waiting for this for too long, I have to leave before it's too late.

On the 3rd of November we are together. I have been dreaming of this moment for months, immigration was quick, I go out and look for his eyes.

Shreyank is late.

"What an Indian, never on time!"

He arrives running, has flowers in his hand and a touched face.

A tired, sweet, painful and awaited hug.

We carry the indelible wounds of an unjust separation. The pain does not disappear like this. We were afraid of not recognizing each other anymore, in one year we have gone through a lot together but on opposite sides of the planet.

We are together now. It is all to be built, we were brave sailors during the storm, now good wind to us! We are together, have I already said that?

The photo is of our first dinner together, we will think later about the furniture.

Thanks to all those who thought about us in this period. Thanks to my sisters, my mom and my precious friend Eleonora. I'm taking a break but will continue to support the #LoveIsNotTourism movement. Love is not tourism. There are safe ways to reunite families torn apart by the pandemic. I'm sorry I didn't have time to inform and meet everyone before leaving, I hope you understand.

In quarantine, we got bored and did this video too:

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