iHola a todos!
Wow! What an incredible week it has been! This past weekend I got the opportunity to live out my childhood dream of seeing the City of Lights and I am still in disbelief over it. From visiting the Mona Lisa to touring the Palace of Versailles, I was given a chance to learn and experience things only a few will ever get to see.
Perhaps the scariest thing that happened to my friends and me this past weekend was witnessing the ‘Yellow Vest’ demonstration in Paris. For the thirteenth weekend in a row, the protestors have been involved in violent demonstrations to raise wages and lower fuel taxes. We were at the Eiffel Tower when protesters set fire to a car near our location so there was a moment of confusion among the people there. The feeling of not knowing what was going on and fearing for your life was surreal. We pulled aside and looked up the current situation on our phones and found that much of the protest was happening at the Arc de Triomphe and only some protestors made it to the Eiffel Tower.
During the moments, what caught my attention was how normal and calm the locals around us were. It felt as though they were jaded through countless protests and riots that have happened in Paris in recent history. They were going on with their days playing in the park and going on a run as if it was just a typical day. In my opinion, I am not sure how I should feel about the situation. On one hand, the protest was a scary experience and as a foreigner, I know not to get involved. However, I am also a firm believer in not allowing fear to corner me. The rest of the trip was filled with breathtaking moments and amazing companies. I got see my namesake (the Mona Lisa), the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the Notre Dame, the Palace of Versailles, and most importantly Paris in the rain. Ironically one of my favorite movies happened to be Midnight in Paris and there was a scene towards the end of the movie where the main character is walking around Paris and he runs into a bookseller who comments that Paris is the prettiest in the rain and I couldn’t agree more.
On a different note, I am officially done with my first Spanish class and we are moving onto the second class! From here things are moving quickly and it has been getting a bit more challenging every day. However, I do not mind because so far, I am having a blast learning and speaking the language. In my photojournalism class, we were given a task to photograph ten strangers. In the beginning, it was difficult and awkward because not only did I have to photograph a stranger, I also had to speak to them in Spanish. There is a contrast between writing Spanish compositions and speaking. I can effortlessly write in Spanish but applying it to the outside world and interacting with the people is another task. Towards the end, however, I got comfortable with coming up to people and asking them. Overall I am very grateful because the assignment allowed me to step out of my comfort zone as a student and a photographer.
Here are the places I have visited this week:
- Paris, France
- Cuenca is a east-central city in Spain that was founded under the Muslim rule. It is known for its casas colgadas (hanging houses).
- Cien (100) Montaditos is a restaurant chain in Spain specializing in over 100 different kind of sandwiches! On Wednesdays and Sundays everything is one euro! I have gone to this place at least 10 times since coming here because it is delicious and affortable!
Song of the week: “La Cintura” – Alvaro Soler