Life is on hold for engaged couple separated by ‘invisible wall’

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BLAINE, Wash. -- Most of us are separated from people we love right now, but for one engaged couple, an invisible wall keeps them apart at the U.S.-Canada border - and the closure was just extended, again.

It’s not just about not being able to hug each other either. Twenty-six-year-old Ryan Hamilton and 25-year-old Savannah Koop's life together is on hold, and the path forward depends on which border agent you ask.

Once a week, the two meet at the border, sitting on the side of parallel roads.

Ryan lives in Bellingham. Savannah lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

They got engaged March 1. The border closed 20 days later, while Savannah was self-quarantined.

Ryan says he felt helpless.

“For me, like, wanting to take care of Savannah and make sure she is safe and, like, we can have our future together. There was literally nothing I could do about any of it, except just watch in horror as my whole life just kinda falls apart," he says.

Savannah says the waiting is the hardest part.

“It’s not necessarily the fact that we are distance apart it’s that we don’t know when we can actually do life together," she says.

And while they navigate what is next, the rules at the border as to what is allowed in these uncharted waters are a little murky for the couple.

Savannah says you hear two different answers from border patrol, depending on which side of the border you ask.

They were set to be married May 8 and say that while they would love to embrace each other, it isn't worth it.

“We don’t really play around with the rules, just because we would very much like to be in either country living together and having a life, and we don’t want to get banned from one place," Ryan says.

Savannah says you have to think long-term, because you don’t want to ruin your chances of actually being together when this is all over.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just extended the border closure through June 21.

So while they had hoped to be living together by now, Ryan and Savannah are left with twice the expenses and equally as much uncertainty.

Savannah says planning anything at this point is a waste of time.

"I ran out of letters in the alphabet, like, Plan B, Plan C ... we have surpassed Z, or as we would say here zed," Savannah says,

So there’s nothing left to do but meet at their spot, separated by an invisible line.

“It’s just like a glass wall between us, but there’s nothing we can do about it for the time being.”

Just to say goodbye again, Ryan says someone has to walk away first.

“There’s no standing there and being, like, ok see you later… and then waiting. You literally have to just pull yourself away.”

Ryan and Savannah say while they have not set a new date yet, they will be married before 2021. What that will look like is still very much up in the air. They say they just want to have their families involved in some capacity.

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