Tales From Abroad: Midnights in Paris Jul26

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Tales From Abroad: Midnights in Paris

Coming into study abroad I did not know a single person in my study abroad group. I would be spending the next four months in Oxford, England, with thirty people I had just met. The first couple weeks in Oxford were frustrating at times because everyone seemed to be forming relationships without me. Being an introvert it was stressful for me to get involved because I felt like I was intruding. About 2 weeks in, I decided to put myself out there, and I am glad I did. I ended up forming relationships with people I now consider some of my best friends. From family dinners to 3am talks to late night kebab runs, I will never forget the awesome memories I made with these people.

Some of my fondest memories are of the nights spent in Paris on our class trip to France. One evening in particular sticks out to me out of all the others on that trip. That night we were scheduled to go on a 30 person bike tour. Thirty Americans riding bikes through the streets of Paris. At night. It sounded like a disaster to me. It had been raining all day, and I definitely wasn’t looking forward to this ride. I had been complaining about it all day and even contemplated skipping it altogether. As we started the tour, the skies cleared up, and I decided to try and be optimistic. Soon, I was laughing with friends and racing through yellow traffic lights. These were the nights and memories that I would remember forever. This is what study abroad was supposed to be all about. Riding through the streets of Paris and experiencing the city with my best friends. At one point along the ride we stopped to get some ice cream. As I stood on one of the bridges, eating my overpriced ice cream, I thought about how nothing could top this moment, but I was wrong. Towards the end of our bike ride, the sun had set and the Eiffel Tower was all lit up. It was nearing 10:00, and we were riding through some trees along the Seine River. On the hour, like magic, the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle. At that moment, I was the happiest I had ever been. Riding through the trees along the Seine, seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle, and being with my favorite people in the world. So I was wrong. It wasn’t the disastrous experience I was expecting. It was a magical evening in one of the most magical cities in the world. It was a reminder to me that not all situations are going to turn out how we picture them and that a little optimism never killed anybody.

On our last week abroad, a friend asked me what moment made me the happiest. Immediately, and with no hesitation, I said riding through the trees seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that I was in Paris, but that I was in Paris with the people who had become my family.