Lane Kunzie

Lane Kunzie snapped this photo of his host mom, Maria Jose Bermejo Lozano in Cáceres, Spain 20 minutes before leaving his study abroad home to take a bus to the airport in Madrid. Due to his time overseas being cut short, they had to quickly take an unprepared photo as they were unable to take an upcoming adventures day trip. 

We are seeing a time of many uncertainties in this world today. Many of us are being faced with difficult decisions that not only bear weight to ourselves, but their families, friends, students, employees and the list goes on and on.

We have watched from our homes the past couple months as other countries have been taking action to fight the virus known as Covid-19. First hitting China at the end of December before wrecking havoc in Italy then moving into Spain.

As we mentioned in our article last week, former Wayne graduate and current Iowa State University student Lane Kunzie has been watching the events unfold while studying abroad in Cáceres, Spain. Keeping a close eye on the realities around him, Kunzie wanted to remain optimistic, however knew the chances of his course ending abruptly were very possible.

Following the daylight savings time spring forward the weekend of March 8, Kunzie was six hours ahead of our time here in Iowa. After just completing a late night paper at his host home in Cáceres, he was suddenly awoken from a phone call from his mother, Sheila Davis.

“When my phone rang I had just laid down and started to doze off so it scared me,” Kunzie began. “When I answered she informed me of (President Donald) Trump’s announcement of the travel ban from European countries into the U.S.”

“My mom had talked to my father and it was a decision they made as parents to purchase a plane ticket for me to get me back home,” Kunzie continued.

Kunzie’s plane ticket was purchased an hour after the announcement came stating the borders would be closed for those not citizens of the United States. With the fast reaction to the announcement, they were able to save nearly two thousand dollars on the one-way flight out of Spain and back to the U.S. as ticket prices skyrocketed soon after.

As Kunzie began his day in Spain making preparations for his return home, Iowa State University notified students by email they were recalling all students in other countries that were moved to a Level 3 by the CDC. Spain was listed as a Level 2 country until the afternoon of March 12,

Leaving Cáceres at noon on March 13, Kunzie was able to travel by bus to the airport in Madrid. Many students were less fortunate as bus terminals were shut down following the newest CDC level upgrade and were forced to take taxicabs spending $500 to reach the airport destination.

Making the first flight from Madrid to London seemed to go smoothly. Upon arrival in London, Kunzie was met with a nine-hour layover where the airport enforced the rule of no passengers being allowed to remain in the airport.

“I made what could have been a bad choice to split a hotel room with four strangers,” said Kunzie. “Luckily it went well as they were also students traveling back home as well, but it could have been a bad choice.”

Once on the flight from London with the United States being the next stop, Kunzie experienced turbulence unlike anything ever experienced before.

“Everyone in the airports around me had masks on, except for me because I was unable to find one for myself, yet the way the turbulence threw me into the air, I was more scared of that than anything in that moment,” Kunzie added.

Kunzie’s flight safely landed in Chicago before taking off to Kansas City International Airport where his mother would be awaiting his arrival.

After spending 32 hours traveling, Kunzie’s feet were back on U.S. soil, but that wouldn’t last long.

“With my mom’s position in the healthcare field, she made preparations before picking me up at the airport for us to both go into self-quarantine at home for the next 14 days,” Kunzie stated. “We both wanted to ensure the safety of everyone around us and decided this was the best decision.”

Kunzie plans to spend the first days of his self-quarantine catching up on rest and adjusting his schedule back to the time zone here in Iowa. With the time difference and jet lag, sleep will be a main component in the first few days.

“I have stuff to paint, draw and sketch since I used to do that when I was younger so figured I would spend time getting back into that again,” Kunzie mentioned on how he plans to spend his time at home. “I have my laptop and will start writing again, possibly another book. I have video games to play on my PlayStation. I have things to keep me occupied.”

With the announcement coming in late on the evening of March 15 from State of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recommending all schools within the state close for four weeks, it is possible all kids in our area will be looking for ways to spend their free time. As of press time, Wayne Community Schools were already scheduled to be closed on March 16, however a community message was sent out for all parents, students and faculty to stay tuned to updates.

While Kunzie’s studies abroad ended sooner than planned, being back home to the comfort of his home has him feeling thankful.

“I’m pretty sure my entire family is feeling relieved now just having me back home safely,” said Kunzie.

“With the schools possibly closing now I would say it’s for the best because we need to care for one another and be attentive to the issues at hand rather than worrying as only an individual,” Kunzie added.

While the current statuses of our schools and businesses are rapidly evolving around the situation, we will do our best to keep our readers informed with timely information as it becomes available to us.

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