Le jardin de Luxembourg- Paris, France
Hello everyone!!! I hope you all had a great weekend and a fantastic start into your week!!
I have officially been in France for 3 weeks now, and I am so happy that I am slowly settling in and making new friends. As I prepared for my study abroad journey, I was so afraid of finding people who would accept me for who I am. The first few weeks in France were a bit intimating because of the language and culture barriers that threaten to push me aside and into an antisocial shell. Yet, I am happy to say that I pushed against those threats, and it is because of this that my past weekend was simply amazing as I explored Paris with a few friends from my university, Sciences Po.
Of course it is not easy at all to go up to a crowd of new people and instantly become friends, but while it is very important to have an open mind (I mean, one should always have an open mind, but it is extra important when studying abroad). It is with the beauty of an open mind that we are able to cross impossible barriers in life. Of course, it is always scary to be vulnerable and to let people see a bit of what makes us shine from the inside-out, but without this beautiful vulnerability we are missing out on life.
During my 3 weeks abroad, I have already seen different parts of the world through the eyes of new friends. Meeting new people allows us to see the world in different perspectives, to taste a bit of different cultures through new friends’ traditions, and to hear of others’ dreams and ambitious. If there are people around me, it is because they also had to go through dreams, failures, hope, and sacrifice to get to the same place- why not stop a moment in time to hear their story? How will we ever know how similar we are to others if we let social stigma and cultural assumptions determine who we approach or do not approach?
So, whether you are studying abroad or not I really encourage you all to meet new people. Who knows, your next dream may be motivated by a stranger’s story.
On a separate point, I also want to share the excitement of my weekend in Paris because it was my first trip with new friends!! I bet my mommy is so proud- she literally called every day the first week to ask if I had made friends lol!
During our time in Paris I was able to share a special moment as it was my friends’ first time seeing the Eiffel Tower. For example, met Richard Perry! Richard’s face when he saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time was priceless!! These priceless moments are the ones I live for! At times life can seem so short, and we all go through really tough times in life that make us realize how short and precious it can be. Yet, I strongly believe that it is through our dreams and aspirations that we can make life stretch out much longer than the pain we experience at times – especially when studying abroad. For example, yesterday (Monday) morning, I found out a loved one lost his battle to cancer. Oh cancer! First my grandmother and then my mother exactly one year ago and now this.. it is as if I can never get rid of it. Yet, it is through my experience with cancer, that I have really been able to see life differently, and I really hope my insight can motivate you all. Trust me when I say that I was scared to study abroad. I had planned to study abroad last fall, but my grandmother and mother were both diagnosed with cancer last September and plans fell through. Now that I had them both at my side, cancer free, I did not want to let them go and set out to France. I had always dreamt of traveling the world, but it was one of those childhood dreams that I never really thought would come true, but I told myself that I would not be stopped by the fear of letting go. Yes, saying goodbye can be hard, and loosing a loved one while one study’s on the other side of the world is even harder, but if I let heartbreaking experiences like these stop me- I will never see the world that was created just for me.
What is this great world I talk about? Well, all my life I dreamt of seeing the Eiffel Tower…
…… and this weekend I was able to lay under it and dream new dreams; this specific moment blew my mind. Had I never taken this chance, I would have never believed in myself and my dreams. I really think we should all take chances, maybe your moment of bravery is not packing your life in a suitcase to study on the other side of the world, but if it is do it! Whatever it is you have always wanted to do, but somehow thought you could never do..I encourage you to start acting on that dream. Life can be very short, and grief will always be around the corner- but in every moment we live there is also happiness. With every city I travel to, I meet new people with different stories and multiple dreams- it can be scary and there will be times when we feel as if we are dancing alone in a crowded room, but in this dance floor of life, with a smile and a little jiggle- you never know who may bump into or what amazing dream you may fall into.
So….. until next time… I encourage you all to go out in life and dance your own jiggle, meet new people, and really show to those you love how much you really do, because life can be really short sometimes. It is through our dreams that we make it stretch out, so do not stop dreaming!
Sending you all love and peace from France!! Cheers to a new day