A Shot in the Arm

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A little over a week ago, I became eligible in the state of Colorado for the COVID vaccine (Melissa, being a hospital employee was eligible earlier this year). That day, I was able to find an appointment for this past week and my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine is now complete.

As I sat in the auditorium of the hospital for the recommended fifteen minutes of observation, I just sat staring at my CDC vaccination card, a bit overwhelmed with emotion, thinking that it’s a bit like Charlie’s golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory: “And I’ve got a (white, in this case) ticket…”.

It’s a ticket to ride. A ticket to normalcy. A ticket back to Portugal.

We’ve been incredibly, perhaps overly, careful. At the outset of this nutso year last March we decided we weren’t taking any unnecessary risks. We’d planned our world travel for years and years and it comes to this, COVID lockdown, in what was to be our first year of a new life. A year of masks. A year of social distance. A year of dry, cracked hands from washing and sanitizing again and again and once again for good measure. Any trips we’ve made have been via car with a cooler of food so we didn’t have to eat out. We’ve ordered take out frequently but haven’t stepped foot in an actual restaurant in over a year. We’ve seen friends and family rarely except via FaceTime, Teams or Zoom. We are probably the only people in the country still wiping down our groceries and putting packages in quarantine before opening. OCD perhaps, but we are doing this trip we’ve planned and we didn’t want COVID to get in the way of it.

So now, with our white tickets in hand (actually in about five weeks from now) we take a step forward and out of the bubble. First to visit family on the west coast and then to prepare for our return to Europe this summer. Having been quarantined for so long it sure does feel odd, freeing and strange to step (back) out into the world, but here we come…

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