On November 13th, I was having dinner at a friend’s house in Bordeaux.
That night, my phone lit up with news that seemed unimaginable.
First, I got a BBC news alert that there were 5 dead in Paris. Then, we turned on a local French news station, and the numbers continued to rise, later totaling to 130 deaths.
I received worried texts and calls from friends and family, wondering if I was in Paris. I assured all of them I was fine, and waited anxiously for more information when all the news outlets were essentially telling me the same thing.
Paris had been attacked, and people who were living and enjoying a Friday night were now dead.
I’m not sure if I would have felt as much had I not been in France or felt so close to French people and culture.
We tend to care more when someone we know or love is close to or hurt by these tragedies. Of course, this is natural. Once something is humanized to us, we feel more.
Then, yesterday morning the same dark feeling came back.
Jean Philippe’s phone was buzzing–his sister called to tell him what happened in Nice.
Families and friends who were watching a firework show in honor of Bastille Day were murdered.
84 lives were lost.
My sister, Kelly messaged me soon after she heard the news.
She expressed her concern about me moving to France–saying she didn’t want me to get hurt. She urged me to be careful.
My reply was–how can I be careful? The victims in Nice weren’t being reckless–they were simply watching a firework show. Similarly with the victims of the Paris attack–these were people who were just enjoying their night.
I wish I could say something that would make people feel better, but this attack is horrible and I just feel sad.
My heart is aching for France and for the victims.
Every life lost had a future, and those who are still living, now must heal.