Nurse surprises her relatives in Northern Ireland after spending two years in Australia


These are the heartwarming moments a young woman was able to hug her family again after the pandemic kept them thousands of miles apart for two years.

Nurse Hannah Patterson, 25, moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2019, and made the tough decision to isolate there after the Coronavirus hit in March 2020.

After two months with zero face-to-face contact, Hannah was finally able to return in secret and surprise her loving relatives.

Footage shows screams, hugs and tears of joy as Hannah is reunited with her mother and father, her sisters, and her five-month-old niece, who she was meeting for the first time.

Hannah pictured with one of her nephews

Her family was surprised she came so soon (picturd with one of her nephews)

Her family was surprised she came so soon (picturd with one of her nephews)

Hannah Patterson, 25, (above) returned home to her family in Northern Ireland for the first time in two years. She surprised her parents, sisters, nieces and nephews (one pictured above) with her return 

Hannah hugs her sister (left) after surprising her at the desk of the house

Hannah hugs her sister (left) after surprising her at the desk of the house

Hannah hugs her sister (left) after surprising her at the desk of the house

Hannah was looking forward to meeting her baby niece after not being able to make it to her birth

Hannah was looking forward to meeting her baby niece after not being able to make it to her birth

Hannah was looking forward to meeting her baby niece after not being able to make it to her birth

Hannah, from County Tyrone, Ireland, said: ‘I moved to Australia in September 2019 on a working holiday visa to work as a nurse in Sydney, Australia.

‘In March 2020, during the first lockdown in Sydney, I went to work on a farm for three months, which then gave me another year’s visa.

‘I decided going home wasn’t the best idea for me at that time as the situation at the time in Northern Ireland was much worse than what we were experiencing in Sydney. 

As she was coming up on her second year in Sydney in June 2021, Hannah decided to go home to Ireland instead of staying a third year in Australia. 

She said: ‘We experienced the start of another surge in COVID-19 cases in Australia and, at this stage, I had to make the decision to either stay there and enter my third year or leave and go home without the chance of being able to come back anytime soon.

‘I chose to come home. Two years is a long time without seeing family and I had missed really important events in my family’s lives at home already.’

She told her family she was coming home but didn’t tell them it would be so soon. It was a hard kept secret, but so worth it.

‘I had told my family I was going to come home soon, but none of them knew it would be that soon. I arrived back home on June 30 and surprised everyone. It was a hard kept secret from a family who I speak to literally every day!’

Hannah and her mother hugged for the first time in two years

Hannah and her mother hugged for the first time in two years

Hannah and her mother hugged for the first time in two years

Her mother was overcome with emotions when she saw her daughter

Her mother was overcome with emotions when she saw her daughter

Hannah’s mother was emotional when she laid eyes on her daughter for the first time in two years

Hannah's father was in disbelief after seeing his daughter in the flesh after so long

Hannah's father was in disbelief after seeing his daughter in the flesh after so long

Hannah’s father was in disbelief after seeing his daughter in the flesh after so long

Her father wrapped her in a bear hug and welcomed her home

Her father wrapped her in a bear hug and welcomed her home

Her father wrapped her in a bear hug and welcomed her home

A moment she was looking forward to was finally meeting her niece.

‘Meeting my youngest niece was definitely special. Me and my sister are super close and missing the birth of my niece was so, so hard for me and for my family too.

‘We FaceTimed every week, but getting to finally hold her and know she was real was incredible.’

Hannah reflected on what it was like to see her family members for the first time in two years. 

She added: ‘It was so surreal and something I dreamed about for months. I’m blessed with such a loving tight-knit family and to finally hug them again was unreal.’ 

She told her family she was going to come home but didn't tell them it would be so soon. It was a 'hard kept secret,' but she managed to surprise them (pictured with her sister (right))

She told her family she was going to come home but didn't tell them it would be so soon. It was a 'hard kept secret,' but she managed to surprise them (pictured with her sister (right))

She told her family she was going to come home but didn’t tell them it would be so soon. It was a ‘hard kept secret,’ but she managed to surprise them (pictured with her sister (right))

Although Hannah was quite excited to return home, she didn’t regret her two years in Australia.  

‘I had the best two years in Australia. It was the best place for me to be at that stage during the pandemic. It gave me the chance to travel more, meet new people and make memories for life.

‘It also makes you appreciate what you have at home so much more. You take for granted being able to jump in the car and go visit your family, hug your nieces and nephews and have a cup of tea with your mum and dad.

‘I definitely appreciate the small things now a lot more. I’m grateful for my time away but home is definitely where the heart is.

‘I think a lot of people will be able to resonate with this story as I’m sure there are so many people that have been away from their family for long periods of time due to COVID-19.’  



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