Tuesday, March 24, 2015
As we wait to collect luggage that failed to arrive with us yesterday in Philadelphia, a few are en route to KC, some waiting here at the international terminal for bags or arriving at domestic departures, and others are back at the hotel awaiting evening flights. An anti-climactic end to an amazing wonderful 9 days in India. Though we are at present 84 hours into our return trip to KC, this is an extremely resilient group that pushed through like well-seasoned global sojourners.
Monday, March 23, 2015
We are stuck in Philadelphia at the Wyndam hotel, courtesy of Qatar Airways. Thankfully we will be able to eat and shower then catch flights back to KC tomorrow (at different times). USair, American and Delta had no open flights until at least Wednesday but we were able to book everyone a ticket through Southwest.
As of 1230am, closing doors for departure. 2.5 hours from Philadelphia.
As of 1130am, still waiting. Serving breakfast on plane right now.
As of 1020am, we are further delayed due to equipment issues with loading bags. Pilot says 30 more minutes.
As of 1010am our time, no updates. We continue to wait to take off again for Philadelphia.
As of 9am our time, we will be on the ground for 1.5 hours, we were told. Baggage needs off-loading and wings de-iced.
What Interdisciplinary Studies travel course can say, in a 24 hour period, they've been in 4 different countries, 3 distinct weather situations, 2 different international flights both diverted and all with a group who are keeping perspective and actually kind of enjoying these unexpected complications as a whole additional adventure?
At 6,488 miles in our trip we find ourselves safely landing in Goose Bay in northeast Canada. A passenger is in need of immediate medical attention. Once the situation is under control we will continue on our (seemingly never ending) journey back to KC.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Looks like we have to spend the night in the airport and fly out on flight 733 tomorrow morning around 8am (landing after 4pm Dallas time on Monday). The Spirit air flight we will miss in Dallas is not refundable so we have to purchase new tickets. Can anyone launch a Kickstarter campaign for our tickets? ;).
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Due to thunderstorms in Doha, our plane has been rerouted to Dammam where the weather is clear. Remaining in the plane on the ground in Dammam and will return to Doha when we have fuel and a spot in line to go. We have missed our flight from Doha to Dallas so we will update here once we have rebooked. Details to follow as we know them.
Reality is starting to set in; time to go home. We are starting to pack everything and do some last minute shopping before we leave this astonishing country. During my time here I've come to realize that Americans and Indians encounter similar social issues. That in deed we are very similar to one another and can work well with one another. It was nice to be able to address difficult issues openly and have inputs from various individuals. Before this, I came with notions of what to anticipate but this experience has bypassed my expectations. I've never been received with such hospitality, not in just one place but in every place that we visited; I love that. Overall this has been such an eye-opening, life changing, educational experience. I would love to come back. I really enjoyed the people, food, culture, learning about the traditions, and humility in this country. India I hope to see you again very soon. Special thanks to Avila University along with Global Studies that allow students to have the opportunity to abroad. Thanks to them I will return back to my country with a better understanding of another culture, issues occurring across the world, and a glimpse of what the world is like outside my comfort zone. One can say that I will go back with a different perspective of the world with the intention of enlightenling other individuals. Utilizing this experience not only in my career but in my day to day life in America.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Today, we visited an NGO that served the visually impaired. Immediately, I felt at home. As the daughter of a social worker whose focus was on developmental disabilities, I was constantly in community with those who live with disabilities. To this day it still amazes me how forgotten such people are in American society. I learned today that this issue also exists in India. I also learned that most people being served by this NGO became visually impaired due to some accident later in life (typically in their 20's and 30's). This is due to the lack of public health education in India. Many men go blind after an accident with fireworks or a car accident. They were not taught about the dangers of fireworks. This has really got me thinking about the right to public health education. Learning about the lack of such a useful tool to all is something I will take with me into my nursing career and will hopefully help to shape how I interact with my future patients and fellow nurses.
How can I summarize my experience and the things I've learned? Although our stay here is short, the amount of information I have been recieving has been tremendous. I have really enjoyed my time here and I have learned a lot. The connections we have had with others has been the most impactful for me. When I came to India, I did not know what to expect, but I expected differences. There are many differences between our culture and theirs. I have learned that these differences are okay. We don't have to be the same to connect with one another and coexist. At the same time, we have many similarities, especially in regards to certain human experiences. My time here has been valuable. Spending time in this culture has taught me more than I could have ever learned from books, lectures, or videos.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Today is day 10 in India. I can't believe how fast this trip is coming to an end. I have learned so much during these days which is knowledge I will take back home with me. Yesterday the group visited some villages where the people had the most genuine smiles and were so friendly. Although they didn't have much they were so happy and such humble people in which I am so grateful to experience. Coming on this trip I really had no idea what to expect but I realized that we have more in common related to the social issues going on. The students are so passionate in creating change for their communities which radiates in each and every one of them. Being able to be part of their culture for these past days has left me with an amazing experience. I would definitely consider coming back to volunteer at some of the schools someday.
After an overnight train ride from Chennai to Madurai, a very warm, celebratory welcome to Fatima College, dialogues with students, visits to local villages, and a relaxing time for tea at St. Joseph Convent, I'll let the pictures speak until I can have students post their own reflections here.