My boyfriend and I have been in a long-distance relationship for almost five years; the first in different cities and the other three in a different continent. Now due to the pandemic, we are together 24/7.

During these years he was a constant of “hello and goodbye,” daily conversations on WhatsApp, and planning trips for the next meeting. I always felt his affection despite being far away, but for me, it was very hard when he went to study in England and I stayed in Mexico. Seeing each other for about fifteen days each time resulted in two, four, or even six months of us being separated.

In January I quit my job, in part, intending to spend a couple of weeks with him in Sheffield. I never imagined that this trip would be transformed into a stay of more than five months due to the flight restrictions caused by the pandemic. Since March we have been together almost all the time in a small room, a single bed, and a mattress on the floor. We’ve discovered the silliest things about each other – he can’t sleep without a bottle of water by his side or I sublimate my anxiety attacks by listening to music.

Without foreseeing it, while a great majority we’ve been at a distance, we’ve now strengthened our bond by getting together. During this time I have lost personal space, but I have gained the possibility of creating a home with him, at a time when love and solidarity is the only thing that can overcome uncertainty.

I grew up, thanks to the care of three women: my mother, my aunt Blanca and my aunt Rocío, she died in mid-April due to advanced diabetes that amputated both her legs. Like many other people in this crisis, I could not say goodbye to her, but I understood that she will never stop being my aunt because she died. Her love will travel with me wherever I go.

Among the teachings of being far away was discovering that people show their love differently, like my aunt Blanca, that her way of expressing it is by avoiding worrying me. In recent years her health had weakened, she will be 86 in September, and when I return home I want to take care of her.

Making this decision has not been easy, since 2016 I have been preparing to study for a postgraduate degree abroad and this year I had almost everything ready to enter, but today thanks to the distance, I understood that no doctorate could give me the unconditional affection of my aunt and I have decided, for the moment, to decline the offer.

Sometimes breaking our bubble allows us to understand that despite being estranged, today more than ever we need our family, the family that we choose, and the one that touched us. I hope that if the world ends, it will be with greater self-knowledge, responding to the ignorance of what we are and with curiosity and not sadness.