This past weekend has been in my planner since the very beginning of my semester abroad…my trip to Paris! The capital of France has many names and a great deal of significance…”La Ville Lumière” (the city of light), a major fashion capital of the world, and home to some of the world’s most famous art and sweetest treats. I found all of these things to be true about this incredible city, but Paris become something even more to me during my short stay there. For me, my weekend in Paris was a weekend of gratitude and appreciation.

This weekend, in addition to many other sights, I saw the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower. These are things I have seen photos of and heard about for as long as I can remember. But never did I imagine that I would someday have the opportunity to see them for myself. In these moments, I was struck by gratitude and appreciation for this experience and the family who made it all possible.

Without my parents sacrifices and support and my grandparents generosity and encouragement, I would not have been able to see these world treasures first hand. I would not have been able to spend a weekend in Paris indulging my sweet tooth with macaroons from the famous Ladurée and Pierre Hermé and the best hot chocolate I have ever had at Angelina’s. I wouldn’t have been able to visit the Louvre (one of the world’s largest museums), the Notre Dame, the Palais Garnier (the opera house where the Phantom of the Opera was filmed), or the Arc de Triomphe.

This trip was by no means perfect. I spent seven hours in Rome Fiumicino Airport thanks to a very inconvenient flight delay and then was a bit nervous navigating the Paris metro and city’s streets after midnight in search of my hotel. But I am not thankful for this weekend because it was flawless; I am thankful because it happened. Not everyone gets to visit Paris. Not everyone gets to travel to Europe. Not everyone gets to spend an entire semester abroad. I know I am so blessed to be where I am, and I know my family is the only reason I am here.

Paris may have the unfortunate stereotype of being filled with rude and extremely wealthy people, but that’s not what I got from it. I got a big serving of thankfulness alongside my order of escargot…which I decided pescetarians are allowed to eat…or at least this one is 😉

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 And to continue with this post’s theme of gratitude…thank you for reading!

Baci, baci (kisses, kisses),