Johan’s home, now what?

First of all, we would like to acknowledge and thank the outpouring of love and support we have received the past couple of days from folks all over. It’s been pleasantly overwhelming and much appreciated and it’s in moments like these that our bonds become stronger. We can’t thank you enough. If we haven’t gotten back to you personally, we will very soon. It’s been a physically, and emotionally draining week.

BTW, some of you have inquired about Jogo. Yes, he is away from us but doing really well (emotionally, mentally, and physically). He’s been busy wrapping up his online high school classes. LouCity has taken excellent care of him; we are in constant communication with their staff and they have been nothing short of amazing. Sure, we are not worry-free by any means but he is well-taken care of and “within” a driving distance should he need us. The time to see him again will come soon but that will have to wait…especially now. Anyway, here is where the Gómez’s are now on this Palm Sunday…

Late last night, Johan safely arrived to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) international airport after multiple stops in Europe and the US. He left Porto on Friday and made it home on Sunday (looong trip). As excited as we were to welcome him, we needed to take extreme safety measures to ensure his well-being and of those around him. Kudos to my sister-in-law who is a nurse by profession and led the way in the protocol to follow upon his arrival at the airport. The key to a successful “welcome” at the airport was preparation.

The preparation

We were always very optimistic that the flight would turn out a success. However, that was only part of the trip. There were a lot of unknowns as soon as he landed in DFW and we needed to be ready for the worst-case scenarios. We had to be certain that once he made it out to the terminal and/or home, his (and ours too) safety would be paramount.

  1. Attire: We prepared a new set of clothing (including different shoes) for Johan so that he’d change into that right away at the airport. Short of taking a shower at the airport, the point of doing that was to isolate and seal all his personal belongings ASAP (including his carry-on bag). This included providing a brand new set of gloves and mask. Johan’s only request was “just don’t make me look like a clown with your selection of clothing”. I’m not sure we achieved that but at least he was safe.
  2. Cars: We also prepared two cars to take to the airport, one car would be used by him to drive himself back from the airport and use for the next 14 days while the other would transport the rest of us safely back home.
  3. Medical attention: We found a medical facility that would see him upon his arrival to DFW. Given his flight arrival hours and his uncertain symptoms, we arranged a virtual visit for him in addition to any medical attention he would receive at the airport.
  4. His bedroom: We permanently moved Joana downstairs. Johan would remain in his room upstairs at least for 14 days regardless of his symptoms (or any state mandates). If need be, he would have access to the entire second floor gradually. Needless to say, Joana was ecstatic to move rooms closer to us.
  5. Supplies: We stocked up his room with supplies that we thought he’d need for the next 14 days including some food/water, medical and personal hygiene. That also included disposable silverware to avoid the possibility of infection. BTW, Johan and his pet turtle “Buddy” will have a lot of good conversations in the coming days. Chumchat with Buddy next?
  6. New home rules: It’s hard to tell Joana that she won’t be able to be close to Johan for the next 14 days so we basically told her that we are all in separate quarantines. Johan stays upstairs and we stay downstairs. New house rules effective immediately. Only one person delivers food to Johan: Mom.
  7. Family: We had “surprise” plans to go visit family next weekend. Those plans will now take second priority.

With all the precautions above, the time came for him to land in DFW and we made our trek out to the airport.

The arrival:

Johan was exhausted from a flight that literally lasted 36 hours. The initial welcome was somewhat strange. In fact, what I’m about to describe is very unorthodox and in some ways comical. Pick up the bits and pieces that are useful especially if you need to travel soon.

Johan right after his 36 hour trek with quarantine paperwork he was handed at the airport

First of all, even though all of us made the trip to the airport, I was the only one who got off the car(s) to “welcome” him at the terminal. Yes, as soon as I saw him, I wanted to hug him but that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, the welcome consisted of a set of delineated instructions for him to follow before going home. Apparently, he had been given a similar set of instructions (6 pages) after landing by DFW airport personnel. See below:

State of Texas Mandatory Terms of Self-quarantine (page 1/6)

I took three 13 gallon trash bags with me to the terminal. Since we asked him to change clothing at the airport, the first empty bag was to put his current garment. The second empty bag was to put his carry-on bag. The third bag had a slew of clean/new things. Clean clothes, shoes, new mask, gloves, car keys, money, etc. (a la Chapo Guzman).

Johan after changing clothes at the DFW airport 040420

Transportation:

Johan had some initial concerns about driving back home because he was so tired, jet-lagged, it was late at night, cold, dark; and let’s be honest, he doesn’t really drive in Porto. However, it was imperative that he drove home by himself. We led the way home at a speed of 50 mph and since it’s a ghost town out there, 25 minutes after we took off from terminal E’s garage, we were home. As soon as he arrived home, he put away the trash bags in the garage and everything was ready for his medical consultation.

Adhering to social distancing in a cold, empty parking garage

Medical consultation and feast back home

He proceeded to his room and his medical consultation lasted about 30 minutes. He was only asked a few questions regarding his trip. In Atlanta, he was medically screened meticulously because of his trip origination (and layovers); he was asked about his whereabouts for the last 2 weeks. However, since he was experiencing no symptoms, they said there was no need to test him at this point. They emphasized that we need to monitor him closely for the next 5 days.

As soon as that finished, he took a prolonged, relaxing (accompanied by Drake’s music) bath. After that, we then had “food” (dinner/breakfast) ready. He had requested a home-cooked meal so Claudia went all out and made him Mexican street tacos. He devoured 10 delicious ones. As he wrapped up the food up in his room, we finished watching Season 4 of “Money Heist/La Casa de Papel” and went to sleep right after that. We were all very exhausted but happy, really happy.

Condiments not pictured here

This morning we all woke up very late to face day #1 of our quarantine. So far, we are all symptom-free but it’s only been a few hours post exposure. We had a healthy and delicious omelette each.

First breakfast: Omelette

As we are getting ready for our “Palm Sunday” virtual service, I remembered that my sister (avid church goer), who has always shown an unconditional support for the boys, had interviewed Johan just the day before he left Porto. At the time, she didn’t really know that Johan would be traveling back home. We sometimes limit that type of information to try to shield family members from stressing out about our uncertain football related adventures (Jogo also found out last minute…thank you Mike). J/K

The pre-flight interview:

Below, you will find an interview that my sister Blanca, journalist by profession, did with Johan. Kudos to her, who worries sick about our boys, when honestly she has bigger fish to fry. Credit where where credit is due; she is the master-mind of this website. We love you sis. BTW, happy birthday tomorrow. You are a special kiddo. I don’t tell you that enough. As for the short interview below, beware, the interview is in Spanish.

Johan’s interview prior to his trek across the pond

The promise

In our culture, it’s very customary to make promises (mandas); they a type of religious offerings. When making a manda, an individual calls on a saint to bring his or her case to God so that he can intervene and solve a problem. Mine was a bit different but I did make a promise to myself that if Johan made it home safely, I would shave my head, so that’s coming up later today…..thanks again for all the love an support; we hope you continue to find value in reading us. Until next time #theGomezway

3 thoughts on “Johan’s home, now what?”

  1. So to whoever is seeing this it’s Joana and I just want to say that I am over the top happy that my brother is finally home. Yes I would LOVE to hug him but I know that I can’t. You may just be upstairs but I still miss you bro. I will be counting down the days. 14 more days kid and i might ACTUALLY have a chance to hug you. LOL. I love you and I miss you. Enjoy your time when your alone cause you know that when your out of quarantine that won’t last long. Te quiero mas que todas las estrellas en el universo hasta la I N F I N I D A D.

    Liked by 1 person

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