My boarding time had inched close enough to the present that I began to sweat a little. It was only after I had to remove a pair of shoes from my oversized travel bag at the check-in counter that I became nervous.
“See, I told you taking out the boots would help cut enough weight,” my dad said as he grabbed the pair of shoes I removed from the large purple bag. I rolled my now 50-pound bag through that little section of the airport check-in counter. I just kept throwing in extra stuff that I thought I would need during the summer abroad without thinking about the overage charges. Nearly everything in my room was able to fit in that mobile monstrosity. I had just enough time to get rid of a perfectly good water bottle and take a deep breath before stepping into the back of the airport security line.
I let my fingers fall as they lightly tapped the computer keys on the black plastic board. I was quickly trying to finish up some work before leaving the office in the next couple of hours when the first, of some of the most horrific texts, came trickling in.
Someone from an ongoing group message I was in asked us to keep her sister and her husband in our thoughts and prayers as they were in Paris right then. She had let us know that there had been multiple terrorist attacks around the city and that there more were happening.
She quickly pushed out frantic messages in our message stream. “There are at least 30 dead and hostages have been taken. We haven’t heard from them and my parents are freaking out.”
A low gasp had emitted from under my breath as I changed my computer window to a Twitter stream of the trending hashtag, Paris. Some of my friends that were posting online hadn’t heard from their family or loved ones either, and some friends from the Palm Springs area spoke about one of their local bands also being held hostage at a concert that was taking place in the city.
We hit the ground running after we traveled by bus from Beauvais-Tillé Airport in to the heart of Paris. We snapped our pictures under the sparkling Eiffel Tower that stood proudly against the starry sky, seen all that Disneyland Paris had to offer, saw Parisian guards in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, walked through the paths at Place des Vosges and Palais du Luxembourg, and gazed up at the gargoyles and beautiful stain glass window in Notre Dame Cathedral.
Between all the running around the group that I was traveling with, we had went from being completely confused by the Parisian metro, to mastering the city that resided underneath the surface. We were submerged in a crash course lesson of everything French. I didn’t know the language before traveling to France, but after what were most likely hours spent riding the metro; we had listened to the voice overhead announcing the stops to the point where we memorized the order of some of the places, and were taught how to pronounce them perfectly. However, for a few of us (including myself), learning how to navigate our way through the metro didn’t translate as well to the above ground city of Paris. Continue reading ““S” is for Saint-Germain-des-Prés”→
It’s definitely more difficult being a vegetarian in France than it is in Italy and Spain and, by default, it’s even harder to be a vegan. According to the European Vegetarian Union, there is a law in France outlawing the serving of vegan meals at any public or private school in France. Similar laws have been proposed for kindergartens, hospitals, prisons and retirement homes.
One million French, or 1.5 perfect of the total population, in the 1990s called themselves vegetarians, and it has reportedly increased to 2 percent. With such dishes as basil salmon terrine, bisque is a smooth and creamy French potage, foie gras with mustard seeds and green onions in duck jus, french onion soup, and croque monsieur all made with heavy crème and meats, it’s no wonder there aren’t a lot f vegetarians living in France.Continue reading “The Vegetarians of Paris, France #StudyAbroad”→
The glaring spots from street lights flew past me at a momentous speed. I was barreling into the darkness with a concerned look on my face. “Had I gotten on the wrong midnight train to the Pisa airport for my flight to Paris?” I had seen no one that I was supposed to be traveling with and, I was traveling to a foreign country alone, again.
I sat there in my dimly lit coach holding my backpack tight and my purse even tighter. I felt my eyelids droop a bit and was about to fall asleep when I heard a man shuffling down the aisle and into the seat facing mine. All I could thing of was, “not again.” Continue reading “But We’re In Paris #StudyAbroad”→