This post is part of a fifteen-day series covering my trip to Kolkata, India in May 2013. Some entries have been slightly edited for length or content, but they are mostly copied directly from my journal.

Air India Flight

As we fly over Iceland and the sun sets pink and orange over purple clouds, I am struck with sadness that I did not anticipate. It is Ruthie’s bedtime in Indiana, and not only am I not there, but she can’t reach me if she needs me. Until I boarded this plane, I had the physical capability of turning around and going home. Of course I wasn’t going to, but if I had wanted to or needed to, I could have stopped moving forward and reversed course and gotten myself to her.

Now I have crossed a line where I lack that control. Two weeks is not a long time, but it feels like a long time. Being unable to communicate at the touch of a phone screen contributes to my feelings, I’m sure.


I feel a little foolish for the overwhelming rush of emotion that filled me as I realized it was bedtime and I couldn’t call or text to check in, and when I land, that option won’t suddenly become available.

Aside from my feelings, the flight is going well. All of the students arrived right on time, and check in was a breeze. So was security. We are seated together in three rows near the back of the plan. The movie screens love on the backs of the seats have gotten so much bigger, even from when I last flew internationally–to France in 2008.

I finished The Year of The Flood by Margaret Atwood a bit ago. How great was it to read the lives of the women who lived at the same time as the young men of Oryx & Crake? How cool to read a book–an apocalyptic narrative, no less–that passes the Bechdel Test with such a great score (if, of course, the test was actually scored). How refreshing to return to a fictional world as rich as Atwood’s.

I also watched Silver Linings Playbook and am taking a break from Lincoln. According to the little clock on my screen, we have just under 9 hours left of a 15.5 hour flight.

We will connect to Kolkata from Delhi.

When we arrive, I hope to have the students rest and eat, and then we will meet together (probably in my room, if it’s big enough) for a meeting to go over some orientation facts and perhaps have some time for prayer. Is it too structured to ask each of the students if they’d like to prepare a short devotional for the group? I’d like to give them the chance to share with each other what they feel they hear from God or sense from God as they process the experiences of the trip. Perhaps I’ll give them the opportunity.

I should record details in this journal. Details that help me recreate a picture later, when I need one, and a way to mine my journals for future essays.

Details so far:

The seats on Air India flights are alternatively orange-red and yellow. Dinner was rice, potatoes, paneer, and chicken. I drank a cup of tea, even though I’m not much of a tea drinker. The flight is somewhat turbulent, which frightens poor Mandy, an anxious flier already. The seat has a bar across the back that hurts my rear and makes me pretty uncomfortable, but it could be worse.

It’s surely bedtime for Ruthie now. Chalupa should be giving her a bath, and perhaps she is dancing naked in the tub to a favorite Iron Maiden song, or maybe Motorhead. Maybe she didn’t ask for me tonight. Maybe she climb the plastic steps up to her bed and completes one of her “enormous leaps” to get onto the bed itself and settles under the covers to listen to a story and fall fast asleep after a busy day with Grandma Carol. Maybe she won’t ask where I am or wonder when I’m coming home, and instead she’ll simply roll over to sleep on her side with Giraffe in her arms and Chalupa in the next room watching TV.

I hope.