Hello, Hola, Bonjour. In my eyes, one of the greatest ability a person can have is being multilingual. Growing up as bilingual, and traveling to English or Spanish speaking countries I’ve never had trouble with communicating to others. There was never a language barrier, when the signs weren’t English, there was always Spanish. Me and my roommate decided on the first day of meeting that we’d both travel to Paris together. Three weeks into the program and we decided to hop on a flight and spend the weekend in Paris. We went with a group of friends to celebrate a 21st birthday. Of the eight people, only one spoke fluent french, the birthday girl, and because of her it was possible to get around. As soon as I got off the plane and into the taxi with a cab driver that didn’t speak English, I felt the beginning of my first ever cultural shock. The first 12 hours upon arrival was spent with me and my roommate who were on a mission to navigate ourselves around the town and into the apartment complex of the Airbnb we’d stay in. Me and Erin spent the next couple of hours wandering around the town in search for the closest tourist site. The closest tour site was the Sacre Couer, after dragging our suitcases up the hill, being at the Sacre Couer was worth the hassle. Every street name was in French, and every person spoke French. It was very egocentric of me to think that in Paris, everyone would speak in English instead of French. At times I felt helpless, especially on my last day when I was completely alone taking french public transportation to the airport. There is so many tourist sites to see in Paris, yet I only really knew of two from the top of my head. One, the Mona Lisa, and two the Eiffel Tower.
WE DID IT ALL. From trying escargot to standing in front of the Mona Lisa. We spent the next 24 hours on a mission to complete everything off the list of “Must-Do” in Paris. Our list consisted of the Notre Dame, Sacre Couer, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre Museum, Saint-Chapell, and Latin Quarter. With a mix of street tours in between. Aside from the site seeing, we tried anything & everything french. Macaroons, Crepes, Escargot, Baguettes, etc. The highlight of my Paris trip was the visit to the Eiffel Tower. Cliche huh? here’s what makes my experience different than the person who was standing next to me. Coming from an Mexican immigrant family, with relatives and ancestors who never stepped foot in Europe, let alone PARIS it’s damn near impossible that I was there. My single immigrant mother that barely makes 20 grand a year to feed her four children, and me with two hundred american dollars to my name, made it possible. Standing in front of the Eiffel Tower I cried, cried because I carried my family’s blood to this beautiful city you only here celebrities visit. La vie est belle, if you really want it you can get it.