Owensboro Teenager Stuck in England for Six Months Due to COVID-19
This may be one of the sweetest love stories you'll ever hear about. And, honestly, it's a love story that COVID-19 had a major, unexpected hand in writing. The pandemic has certainly turned the world upside down and that is wildly true for an Owensboro teenager named Rosemary. Here's her incredible and absolutely adorable story.
Rosemary, who graduated recently from OHS, decided to take a post-birthday trip to England to meet Charlie, a young man she became friends with years ago via online gaming. When they originally met, quite possibly through a game of Minecraft, Rosemary was 10-years-old. Charlie was 13.
They became best friends and have maintained that friendship since. So, the two decided it was time to finally meet in person. Rosemary booked an airline ticket and flew to England in mid-March to get some long-awaited face time with Charlie. But then, as you well know, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and did so swiftly.
For a few rather disappointing (and scary) moments, Rosemary didn't think she was going to make it to England at all. She flew from Nashville to Germany, but, because the pandemic was closing down air travel across the globe, had to get special permission to fly from Germany into England. Luckily, she made it there. But, she didn't make it back out. Air travel was completely shut down. And the American teenager was officially trapped abroad.
For Rosemary's mom, Kelly Bland, that initial reaction was panic. But, for Rosemary, that panic quickly turned into possibility.
Yes! What was supposed to be a two-week visit with Charlie turned into a six month stay. While we shut down for a few weeks here in the U.S., England (and most other parts of the world) went into a more aggressive lock down mode. In fact, England didn't even start to ease restrictions until late July/early August.
So, Rosemary and Charlie got to spend lots and lots of time together. Their online relationship quickly blossomed into something much more. They spent their days getting to know each other. Rosemary got to meet his family. They explored the woods and wildlife of the Wick, a wooded area near Charlie's house. They strolled along the path through the Wick to Lidl's, a grocery store where they were able to buy food. They had to. All the restaurants were shut down. But, they made the most of every single minute. Every single possibility. They cooked, ate, laughed, lived and loved.
Yes! I said "loved." It's official. The girl and boy who once played video games online together are now young adults who are very much in love. In so many ways, COVID-19 has made 2020 a year none of us will ever forget. Rosemary and Charlie certainly won't forget it either. They wouldn't want to. It's quite possible the pandemic has changed their lives forever.
Rosemary finally got to fly home last week. She was supposed to return to the U.S. on September 21st, but a late cancellation pushed her arrival back until September 23rd. And, she made it home just in time. A resurgence in COVID cases in Europe has prompted officials in England to once again enter Stage 4 lock down. And, yes. Air travel is once again suspended and could potentially remain that way for up to six months.
Luckily, Rosemary made it back to home in the nick of time. But there's no doubt, while she is here, she left part of her heart back in England. When I talked with Rosemary Monday, Charlie was on the other line. They're chatting via Skype every day, just like they did when they were 10 and 13. Earlier this year, COVID-19 brought them together in an unforeseen way. Now, at least for the time being, it's keeping them apart.
The planes may not be in the air, but for Rosemary and Charlie love certainly is. Until they're reunited in person again, that ocean between them is just a game of Minecraft away.