Arts & Culture / Mosaic / January 11, 2012

The long road back to Knox

Delayed by a hurricane and running from the train station to make it on time to class ­— these are some of the experiences Knox students encounter on their days of traveling thousands of miles back to Galesburg.

Senior Supriya Kasaju, from Nepal, planned to fly out of Katmandu on Jan. 1 but her flight was canceled due to such poor visibility in fog that “you couldn’t see past two kilometers (1.2 miles).”

The delay added to the stress of many passengers in the airport and Kasaju described the aftermath as “very high-tensioned.”

“There was five lines per counter and people were going to kill each other because they were so pissed off at the airport staff and also at anyone who dared cut the line,” Kasaju said.

When she arrived in Delhi, India, delays and flight cancellations continued to cause problems for those with connecting flights.

Cause of delay: Hurricane Irene

After freshman Ayesha Ismael finally arrived in New York after flying out of airports in Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates and Dublin, Ireland, she was delayed not by a plane but by a hurricane.

“Our flight got canceled going from New York to Chicago because that was Hurricane Irene … so we had to stay for a few days before we went to Chicago. That was an experience because I had never been in an American hurricane before,” Ismael said.

Ismael said it was the first time she had been in the United States and seeing the evacuation procedures for a hurricane was “a unique way to start out.” Before flying, she was a little nervous but more excited. She was worried about losing her proper documents but it all went smoothly.

Knowing smoke stops by heart

Senior Ivy Reid travels 22 hours on rail from Lamy, N.M. to Galesburg on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

“I bring lots of snacks and I know all the smoke stops by heart,” Reid said.

She travels by train because it is cheaper than flying and more convenient. Reid said almost every time she takes the train, she makes a friend or two.

“There always seem like there are young people who are like traveling by themselves. Often times they’re moving, which is interesting,” she said.

Reid said having a long journey helps her to transition between “one crazy high-stressed world to family and to rest.”

“So I just try and reframe my mind and figure out anything I need to figure out because I have that time to meditate,” Reid said.

Better late than never

After flying out of Delhi and Abu Dhabi, Kasaju arrived in O’Hare airport in Chicago only to lose her luggage.

“And when I got there, I missed my train,” she said, with a laugh.

For her senior research project for environmental studies, she packed samples of a river in Nepal, which, while culturally important, is also very polluted, to look at its water quality.

“It’s where all the people get cremated next to. I wanted to know the effects of these cremations. What more added pollution are you getting on top of the sewage that gets thrown into the river?” Kasaju said.

She collected samples from the river and took coordinates of each sample with a GPS Knox had loaned her.

“But unfortunately that’s somewhere across the world right now. Hopefully, it’s not on the wrong flight,” Kasaju said.

After missing her train in Chicago and losing another day, she arrived on the day classes started.

“As soon as I got out of the train, I ran to GDH for class with my carry-on. But I made class on time!” Kasaju said.

Following the idiom ‘better late than never,’ a day after her interview, Kasaju received the news that she would finally be reunited with her lost luggage.

Sheena Leano

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