Visit to Paris offers a chance for personal growth

This is a magnet found at a street-side store. It is symbolic that we do, indeed, like Paris.

Aaron Weatherford, The Chart

This is a magnet found at a street-side store. It is symbolic that we do, indeed, like Paris.

Ian Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

France will forever hold a special place in my heart. Like a first kiss, Paris was my opening experience to the world beyond our own. Now, sitting in the comfort of my own home, on home soil, I am flabbergasted at the terror that ensues in a place I recall in such beauty.

Looking back at the days spent there I cannot help but dwell in despair. Thinking of the growth within myself, inspired in such a short period of time there in comparison to the years of self exploration here, I contemplate where things could go from here.

I remember the messages from experienced travelers prior to our departure; discussions based on negativity and worst case scenarios. I recall the outline of how Americans would be treated, and the vivid detail about the distain the rest of the world has for us.

But, before I succumb to the status quo, I recall the fundamental problem with those ideas; they were incorrect.

The experience I had was warm; the experience I had was passionate; the experience I had was cultured; the experience I had was engaging.

Immediately after arrival I understood how out of my element I truly was. You were hit in the face with the language barrier. Trying to find the restroom suddenly became lesson 6 of Rosetta Stone. Still, undeterred, the group of us pushed forward. Driven by the desire to immerse ourselves in something we literally had no idea about. 

People often ask me to define my favorite experience from the trip, something I am sure you have been accosted by; literally one of the most difficult questions to answer. Because, no matter how hard I try to narrow it down, getting to one event is simply impossible.

The real story is what happened to me while I was there. How meeting those I was able to, and how the interactions we had showed me a completely different perspective. The way that seeing art and architecture on a scale that is unimaginable makes you question your potential legacy, but, these are the details that are hard to put into entertaining words.

Through Southern, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. It may not have seemed that way prior to the journey, but following the events that transpired I say that with certainty.

Today, within the city of lights La Tour Eiffel sits stagnantly. A worldwide symbol now supremely relevant for a traumatic reason.