Paris will always hold onto a piece of my heart. When I was 18 years old, I had the opportunity to travel there. While I was at work yesterday afternoon, I read the news of the deadly terrorist attacks online. To be honest, I didn’t know how to react to the situation. At first, I was in complete shock! As I saw the countless stories flow onto my social media newsfeeds, I wondered if I was half asleep. I wondered if this was some kind of terrible nightmare. It was very upsetting to find out that something so tragic could happen in a beautiful city like Paris. It’s shocking that 129 innocent victims lost their lives while they were out having a meal or enjoying a concert or soccer match. The victims were all someone’s child and loved one. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to bury a child.
As I tried to take in the news, I immediately remembered the three days I was there. I wish I could’ve spent more time there. However, I’m happy I got to experience a different country and culture. I’m glad my parents convinced me to get a summer job to pay for part of the trip. I wasn’t that excited to go. I’m finally thankful for the experience 16 years later. My parents were right when they said if I didn’t go I would regret an experience of a lifetime. I was too busy worrying about an ex-boyfriend and impressing others. I didn’t care about traveling to some foreign country at the time.
Since I was on a European tour for 10 days, my days in Paris were limited. I remember when my classmates and me got to visit the popular tourist attractions like the world famous Louvre Art Museum, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. I remember riding in the fast paced Paris Metro. I got to visit Jim Morrison’s grave at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I would give anything to find my photos from the trip. I hope they’re packed away somewhere in my old room at my parent’s house. The cuisine and wine was so extravagant and tasty. Since the drinking age was 18 there, my parents had to sign a permission slip in order for me to drink alcohol. I’m glad they allowed me to taste French wine for the first time.
Despite hearing rumors about the French disliking other cultures, this was far from the truth. The French people I met were very warm, friendly and accommodating. Most even spoke up to three or four languages aside from French. In fact, there’s proof of the French being warm and kind-hearted people. If you follow the news and/or use Twitter, many offered their homes to complete strangers using a hashtag combined with porteouverte (this means open door).
All day, I’ve continued to question whether the U.S. and its allies will go to war with Syria. I continue to wonder if another 9/11 type terrorist attack is in the works. I hope not but we shall see in time. For now, I will continue being strong and hope things get better for the victim’s loved ones. My heart goes out to all of them.
Photo from Lonely Planet