It has almost been one year since I got on a plane and moved my entire life here. In other words, I sold all my things, gave up my job—and the ease of American life—to come to Paris and rough it out as a Masters Student. When I first arrived, with a lot up in the air, Paris was tragically the victim of a terrorist attack. Almost a year of juggling my MBA, a trip to NYC, papers, classes & jobs later, Paris was ineffably struck once more.

It’s a strange feeling being in a foreign country when something like this happens because it takes us by surprise. It’s only natural that something so inhumane makes us feel the very human emotions of fear and anxiety. I can only take things one-step at a time as life throws them at me; I mostly take the personal challenges first. After the second attacks in Paris, I could really feel a very somber, sad, albeit proud & determined air in the atmosphere here. Not just the people of France, but the entire world, seemed to share feelings of grief, disgust & frustration. It was amazing to see the support and the conviction that Paris would remain the City of Light. It made me feel proud and privileged to experience this great city with the people of France.

A lot of people ask me if I feel unsafe being here. The truth is that I do not. On the contrary, I generally feel safe. Yes, there are moments in life that are unsafe in any city: people can be unpredictable and people can be rude. Fortunately, however, the general public here isn’t permitted to carry guns. In my opinion, that highly reduces the risk of someone going into a restaurant, a school, a store to commit horrific and senseless acts—an experience the US, tragically, finds with frightening frequency. Of course, terrorism notwithstanding, modern life is filled with common dangers that we face every day. For me, it’s about picking one’s battles. As it is the start of the year—and we are all coming off the end of the holidays—I’m letting my battle be enjoying little things like vin chaud.

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