Where are you planning to go?

I don't mean do you want to spend Easter Sunday in the dining room or living room. Nor am I talking about where you should spend your hour of daily exercise (not that a 1km radius gives you that many options.

What I'm thinking about is the first place you'll go when we're allowed free travel again. I'm assuming the lock down will be lifted gradually and there will be a period of transition. But after that. What will you do?

Someone asked me a few days ago: where would I love to go when this is all over? I think they were expecting me to say something like Hong Kong or Malaysia. These are two of my favourite places in the world, and somewhere I never get bored of.

Hong Kong (top left, bottom) and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpa, Malaysia (top right)

Instead I said Manchester. That international city in the north west of England known for chips & gravy, Oasis and United. While I used to travel back to Manchester often for two out of three of those things, the reason I really want to go back is because it feels like home.

Manchester at night, taken from the nearby Moors.

I went to university in Manchester. My mum's family lives in Manchester. I met my two main romantic partners in Manchester (my ex-husband and current boyfriend: they weren't my partners at the same time!). The family that has adopted me is in Manchester. Some of my best friends are in Manchester. I'm used to flying back once a month or so, especially during the summer. It's my time to recharge and be looked after by my future mother-in-law (her words, not mine. I had to disappoint her on this count!). Not having the time to do this has been hard. I've really noticed the effect it has had on my mental health.

My not-future-mother-in-law has been planning all my favourite things for when I get back. A barbecue in the garden. Fish & chips by the beach. Plenty of family time spent hiding from the wonderful (read: rainy) northern weather. She's even stocking up my room with Bisto and Easter eggs. I suspect she's missing me too.

I live in a gorgeous part of the world. My little village has fields with streams running through them, and views of the Alps and the Jura. I have access to a very large supermarket, as well as Asian stores. So I can see and cook lots from my small part of France. It's just human contact I'm missing. Bowling with my friends. Watching Coronation Street with my no-future-mother-in-law (I might need to come up with a shorter name for her) and listening to her running commentary. Watching my dad feed the dog from the dinner table then complain that she's begging for food.

Things like this are hard to recreate over video calls. Although I've definitely seen the dog begging for food at least once on every call so far. Some things never change!

Aaron turns 30 in October, so we're hoping to have everyone together in Manchester for a party. My family, and my adopted family. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this.

So where will you go when this is all over? Will it be foreign and exotic? Or just a mile down the road to see your nearest and dearest?

Photo credits: Dudva, Base64

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