I’m in Brussels, Belgium a place that’s already in the Christmas spirit even though it’s only in the middle of November. There’s little chocolate shops on every corner, people in mittens and beanies, and waffles that are only a euro. It’s a cold-weathered souls dream to be here. I’m freezing but content wearing rain boots and a long trench coat. I smell the sweet aroma of those Belgian waffles that mark our path along tight cobblestone streets that I’ve already fallen in love with. There’s chatter, and rain, and carriage rides. But amongst all of this noise, this excitement and beauty that is my new discovery of Belgium, there is an underlying tone of worry among us.
We weren’t there on Friday in Paris when the attacks happened, but we had several of our study abroad friends that were. Some hid in pubs, bars, or in restaurant bathrooms. I know many are still shaken up, understandably so, about what’s happened. They are working to make their way back to Florence right now. It could have been anywhere at anytime.
I had booked my ticket for Paris at the beginning of my semester in Italy for next weekend and have been looking forward to the trip for some time. Paris, a city of such love, dream, and hope. This city found me almost two years ago and brought me to tears. This magical city cherished by many all over the world is now suffering from pain and loss. We must remember, love, and pray for those who were there, those who we lost, and those who are hurting right now.
Being in Belgium, so close to France with now a high level of security happening, my roommate and I cannot help feeling paranoid about the recent Paris attacks. Security measures have gone up making a new energy of paranoia between the two of us who now just want to make it back to Florence safe. With home on our minds, we are so thankful to be where we are and alive.
To all suffering the Paris attacks we are sending many thoughts and prayers with you and for you. To a city loved by so many, I pray there are better days to come.