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As The End Of The Pandemic Becomes Real, Here's What People Are Dreaming About


Recently, we asked listeners to share what they're most excited about once life can resume to something closer to normal. And after more than a year of life on pause, it turns out some of those things aren't all that fancy - things like starting high school or bumping into old friends again. Here are some of our listeners' hopes and dreams for the days to come.

DANIELA CAPISTRANO: My name's Daniela Capistrano (ph). I'm in New Orleans, and I'm 39 years old.

MARIA PATINO GUTIERREZ: My name is Maria Patino Gutierrez (ph). I am 30 years old, and I live in Commerce, Calif.

CAPISTRANO: I've always been somebody where my love language has been touch, so it's been devastating during this pandemic to have limited to no physical contact with my chosen family. I don't have blood family support, so chosen family means everything. And I know that after the pandemic, I'm definitely going to be participating in cuddle parties with my friends.

PATINO GUTIERREZ: I do have a toddler, and I'm currently expecting. And I just would love for my kids to be able to, you know, spend time with their grandparents, with other kids.

CAPISTRANO: I am right now going through the process of preparing to be a parent for the first time with my partner. Our baby is due in May.

PATINO GUTIERREZ: Of course, I'm looking forward to my kids being able to get to know each other, playing with other kids, you know, learning how to share.

CAPISTRANO: By the time that my son is born in May, I know that my partner and I are really hoping that we have been vaccinated. I'm hoping that by the time he's able to walk, the world is a different place for him. I want to be able to take him to the park when he's old enough to walk and run around and be around his friends.

HILARY HAIGHT: My name is Hilary Haight (ph). I'm from Towanda, Penn., and I am 61 years old.

SHERRY COX: My name is Sherry Cox (ph), and I am 65 years old, and I am living in Tallahassee, Fla.

HAIGHT: I think more than anything, I would just like to see people's faces and see them smile. I'm looking forward to live performances, even if it's just a high school play. The movie theater - I really, really miss the movie theater.

COX: A theater, to an auditorium, to a cinema - I miss films so much. I miss theater even more. I miss comics. I miss live performances. I miss that collective response and catharsis. There's something about sitting shoulder-to-shoulder amongst other people, friends and strangers.

HAIGHT: Some of the sounds and smells that I'm looking forward to experiencing once this is all over are the sounds and smells of carnivals. I'd love to see and smell the ocean waves, anything that's associated with the sand and the sun, knowing that there's all sorts of people around me.

COX: Collective laughter - I miss the smell of really overpriced popcorn. I can't believe I miss that. Sound of applause - I can't wait to hear that again.


MICHAEL ANATOLE: My name is Michael Anatole (ph). I am 56 years old, and I live in New York City.

HANNAH MORAN: My name is Hannah Moran (ph). I'm 28 years old, and I live in Erie, Penn.

ANATOLE: Oh, I think one of the things I'm just a little bit more excited about that anything else is just people. I mean, you know, that has just been gone entirely.

MORAN: I just want to experience those little things that I took for granted pre-pandemic that, you know, they don't seem so special when they're your norm. But then when you don't have them for over a year, they really do feel special.

ANATOLE: Well, I think one of the things that gives New York its energy is actually just the fact that there's just so many people here, the whole kind of, you know, magic that you would actually, you know, know that New York is famous for. So I'm just, like, thinking to myself that, you know, on a summer day just walking along, you know, maybe Central Park West, I'll probably smile the first time I hear one of the drummers at the Columbus Circle train again.

MORAN: I want to go to an old-fashioned diner and order a great big breakfast and a milkshake from a menu that I could hold in my hands and flip through and choose from.

ANATOLE: Being able to walk down to Rockefeller Plaza and smelling the chestnuts roasting. I mean, it sounds kind of corny - but going over to see the big tree, even when I was a kid; just the vendors with pretzels and the hotdogs.


JOHNNY THOMAS: My name is Johnny Thomas (ph). I live in Manor, Texas, and I'm 15 years old. I haven't really had any teenage years because of the pandemic, and I was really looking forward to not getting into too much trouble, but I'm looking forward to going to parties, doing things that would get me fired from a job when I'm older. I had to make the transition from middle school to high school completely virtually, and I haven't even stepped foot in high school yet. When I finally get to high school, I'm looking forward to going to school dances, basketball games, any schooling event, sitting down with my friends, having lots of fun and making genuine memories instead of from the computer screen. I'm looking forward to having real memories that I can look back on. So when I close my eyes and imagine an immediately post-COVID world, I see myself in a hospital, lots of beeping monitors, people in scrubs and white coats rushing around because I want to grow up and learn to be an obstetrician so that I can help people.


CHANG: Those are the voices of Johnny Thomas, Michael Anatole, Hannah Moran, Sherry Cox, Hilary Haight, Maria Patino Gutierrez and Daniela Capistrano.

Thank you so much for sharing the sights and smells on your horizon.

(SOUNDBITE OF CITY OF THE SUN'S "I'M WITH POLLY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.