“I was ready for anything that wasn’t couscous,” said Kelsey Broadmeadow Walkup, who had been stranded in Casablanca with her husband, Chuck Walkup.
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CRANSTON In the end, it was her mother’s homemade mac-n-cheese that she craved the most.
Kelsey Broadmeadow Walkup and her husband, Chuck Walkup, spent several uncertain days in Casablanca, Morocco, last week trying to get home after that country closed its borders because of the coronavirus and Americans had to wait behind French citizens and other Europeans to get flights to Paris, a way station on the journey to America.
On Thursday, they finally left Casablanca, only to spend 24 hours in a deserted Charles de Gaulle Airport waiting for their flight to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
They finally touched down on U.S. soil around 5:15 p.m. Friday, according to Kelsey.
“We were tired. We were dirty. But we were feeling fine,” she said. “I was so happy. I really didn’t think that this was actually going to be over.”
But, maybe that wasn’t the end.
“The plane was met by a group from the CDC,” Kelsey told The Providence Journal Friday in a Facebook call from her Cranston home, where she is quarantined for 14 days in accordance with rules for international travelers.
While waiting for a health screening, she couldn’t dismiss the thoughts: What if I have a fever? Would I be quarantined? Would everyone on the plane be quarantined because of me? Where would I be quarantined?
She would never get an answer to the last question because everyone checked out fine, and then they breezed through customs, picked up a rental car and headed for Rhode Island.
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“We drove out of JFK, and it was empty,” Kelsey said. “There was no one on the road.” They reached Cranston in about two-and-a-half hours. “I was so happy to be home.”
But then the couple she’s a lawyer for Liberty Mutual; he does cybersecurity for Virgin Pulse faced 14 days of self-quarantine, featuring taking their own temperatures twice a day.
“I know that there’s a lot of restrictions,” she said. “All that’s terrible and scary, but it’s so much easier to deal with when you’re home.” And, she added, “It won’t last forever.”
Kelsey was homesick toward the end of the trip. She missed her dogs, Ralph and Seamus. She’d had about as much Moroccan food as she could handle. “I was ready for anything that wasn’t couscous.”
Fortunately, the couple didn’t have to worry about toilet paper.
Kelsey had started hoarding toilet paper before it was fashionable thanks to a mixup during her weekly shopping trip to BJ’s Wholesale Club before they left for Morocco three weeks ago.
“I accidentally picked it up two weeks in a row,” she said. “We are stocked.”
Like many Rhode Islanders, they get meals delivered, with a twist: the driver leaves the food by the door, rings the bell and leaves before they open the door.
Plus her parents, Joe Broadmeadow, a retired police officer, and Susan Broadmeadow, a retired nurse, had left food in Kelsey and Chuck’s house before they returned from Morocco.
What about mom’s mac-n-cheese?
“It was already here waiting when we got home,” said Kelsey. “I’m very happy being stuck at home.”
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