It is really quite a surreal feeling. My whole life I had been planted firmly in America, having no knowledge of the world outside of my confinements. When the massive airbus 380 touched down in Paris, France my jaw must have gone numb because my top and bottom teeth were no where near each other. Just the idea of traveling over thousands of miles of ocean to reach a solid piece of land amazes me to this day. The air was humid and the smell of rain filled my surroundings. My first thought was, “I wonder how English must sound to the French.” Their language is so smooth and seems to flow flawlessly from word to word, while English is separated and rather blunt. As a matter of fact, I tried to speak as little English as possible because I was embarrassed as to what the French might think. It is very intimidating to walk into another country when your whole life you knew nothing but your own.
My first experience in the the city was the subway system. I thought New York City was complicated, try having all of the directions in another language. The system was so complex that my family and I must have gotten lost at least a dozen times. Our only hope was finding a local who knew a lick of English. After a while, we finally got to the house where we were scheduled to stay in for the next sixteen days. It was a marvelous two bedroom house. My favorite part was the patio that stretched out the back of the house. From there, you could over look the train tracks and the trees that surrounded it.
It was amazing to see the diversity in Paris. Sure, there were plenty of tourists, but the diversity was not in the people, but rather in the architecture. One minute you would be looking at a thousand year old structure, and the next at a building built only a year or two ago. My favorite place we visited in France was an artistic little town called Mougins where Pablo Picasso had lived. The people were kind and the streets were filled with talent. There were people all around who could draw and paint amazing works of art without hesitation. I would say I loved this place more than being on the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Whether it was art, architecture, or culture that I was standing in front of, I knew I was privileged to even be there. I took advantage of every opportunity I had to learn something new. The experiences I had in France inspired me to travel more in the future and hopefully one day see the rest of the world. I do not want to live within the confinements of one country, but rather within the confinements of the whole world.
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