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  • Writer's picture Jana

As Garin Contracts Covid in Portugal, we do our Best to Keep Calm and Carry on.

The morning we were leaving Lagos, Garin tested positive for Covid. He had not been feeling 100% for a few days, but a home test, a few days prior, had come back negative, so we thought he had a cold. His symptoms had gotten worse by the morning we were departing so we tested him again and he was positive. In retrospect, we think he may have contracted it on our small group tour to Sintra and Cascais, the week before on our last day in Lisbon. This was the only prolonged exposure we had to other people in a closed space (the driver unfortunately wasn't wearing a mask when he should have been). But who knows, and how he contracted it doesn't change the fact that he did, sadly. We were shocked and very upset, needless to say. With no choice but to carry on, we masked up and left Lagos, as scheduled, on Tuesday in the late morning.

After a five and a half hour long drive, we arrived in Porto. In an effort to cut down time, we only made one stop to eat our picnic lunch on a rest stop bench.

Yesterday, Catherine, Graham, Miles and I spent some time out of the apartment, but not too far away. We came and went, so that they wouldn't be trapped inside all day, which for many reasons seemed to be the best plan. We checked on Garin throughout the day, both in person and by text, while he rested at home, watched some movies on his computer, and generally took it easy. Thankfully, he is improving each day.

Although Garin is fully vaccinated and boosted, his booster shot was in the late winter or early spring. The other kids and I were boosted shortly before this trip (me with my second booster), so we are hoping this will serve us well and that we will stay healthy. Thus far, all of us have continued to feel well and remain symptom free, thank God!

This is certainly not a scenario I planned for, while traveling. My family and I have managed to stay well, and Covid-free, for over two years, as Covid raged. And now, on our long-awaited trip, poor Garin comes down with it. It feels very unfair for him and for all of us. However, travel is filled with unexpected circumstances that you must deal with as they arise. That is exactly what we are doing. We are all wearing masks when we are in the house (which is spacious, gorgeous, and has many windows, which we keep open day and night). Quite simply, we are dealing with this unexpected disappointment the best we can.

Garin tests positive for Covid. I will admit that I had a brief meltdown as I tried to cope with the news and figure out how we would manage the rest of the trip. But I couldn't feel sorry for myself for very long, being a a foreign country, with four kids counting on me, I had to pull myself together and carry on.

The care ride from Lagos to Porto was long, but we made it! It was not easy, admittedly, with Garin not feeling well and everyone on edge, but everyone did their best. When we finally arrived, we had a steep walk down a narrow road (not passable with a car) to our house, but with a lot of teamwork, we made it.

Here is our stunning Airbnb, which has turned out to be a real haven, given the circumstances.

After we got settled in, the kids and I headed out to take a little walk around our neighborhood and get a bite of dinner at a restaurant near our Airbnb. We brought Garin back some dinner as he rested at home.

Cathrine and I went our for "provisions" (fresh fruit and delicious pastries) yesterday morning.

We bring Garin his meals and medications (which have were recommended by the pharmacy in Lagos and have been helping his symptoms quite a bit) on a tray in his room. His continues to plan our outings, even though he can't join in and has been an incredible trooper through all of this. We miss him terribly when we go out and have to visit interesting places without him, but even so, he always asks if we enjoyed what he planned for us. What an angel!

Yesterday morning (our first full day in Porto) we visited the Portuguese Center for Photography, which is one of the most fascinating and gorgeous museums I have ever visited (as an avid photographer). Just a two minute walk from our apartment (and free), we spent a few hours there. It is housed in an old prison with a storied past. Given my passion for photography, I was enthralled. There were exhibits from a variety of Portuguese photographers, as well as an exhibit devoted to the history of the building itself, and finally, an entire floor devoted just to camera equipment of every type, dating back to the mid 1800s.

Afterward, we wandered into our favorite sardine shop around the corner just to take a gander at the beautiful tins and then back to Miles favorite cod cake store, that we first visited in Lisbon, both just a stone's throw from our apartment.

In the afternoon we headed out by car to meet with some of my family (from my dad's side), who live in Porto. I have a lot of family here that I have not seen in over 20 years. This was one of the reasons we were so devastated about Garin's positive Covid test. Everyone was eager to meet my children and vice versa. Luckily we found a lovely outdoor place to meet yesterday, so at least Catherine, Graham, Miles and I were able to go. We met at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Serravles, with the most expansive and glorious gardens (not to mention adorable farm animals as well), that allowed us to walk around for hours and visit in the fresh air.

This is just a small group of us yesterday. There are many more family members to see and visit, so we are looking forward to Garin feeling better so he can join us.

It was Pedro's 80th birthday yesterday and although we were so disappointed to miss the family party that was planned for last night, at least we were able to meet outdoors and wish him a happy birthday. Pedro is the husband of my late cousin Sylvia, who passed away in December 2020, a few months after my mom's passing.

In closing, it has been a blessing to be here in Porto during this difficult time. We have received calls and many offers of help from family, which has been of great comfort to me.

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