It’s usually around this time that I sit down to write about my weekend, show pictures of the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen. Obviously, this weekend is different.
This weekend, there were no long walks along the Seine. No strolls past the Tour Eiffel. No lighthearted, smiling wanders from quartier to quartier doing the early Christmas shopping we had planned to do.
This weekend is heavyhearted.
I wasn’t sure I would even write about it at all. But I wanted to take time to reflect on what happened here in Paris Friday night, and speak to what is most important after these tragic, horrific events.
I don’t want to go into details about what happened, who did it, or why. That’s not important to me, and I’ll leave it to people more informed and more involved than I to discuss those aspects at length. What’s important to me is the city and people I love.
For me, know that I (and Frenchman, and all his family, and my few friends here in Paris) are safe, and were nowhere near any of the attacks. We live in the 15th arrondissement and were nearby in the 7th enjoying a lovely dinner when we heard, interestingly enough from my sister in Boston. I happened to have my phone on the table – out of character for me at dinner – as we had just looked something up when I received a message asking whether we were home or out because there had been shootings in the 10th. We had no idea.
Frenchman looked at the locations and wondered if it was gang related, due to the location in a rougher neighborhood. We never thought it would become the horror that so quickly unfolded. We were finishing up our meal anyway, and decided to cancel the walk we had hoped to enjoy and go home. By the time we made it to our apartment, we turned on the TV to discover the nightmare that, by now, everyone knows was unfolding across multiple locations in Paris.
We spent the evening watching the news, torn between tears and anger and fear. I spent it responding to an overwhelming number of messages of concern across every platform there is.
And today, that’s what I want to focus on. The outpouring of love and concern from every corner was a bright, warm beacon in the middle of a very dark night. I received texts, personal emails, work emails, personal gchats, work gchats, Facebook messages, and other comments. From close family, cousins, aunts and uncles, close friends, colleagues. I received messages of love and concern from people with whom I haven’t spoken in 10 years. I cannot explain how it feels to know so many people, regardless of distance, know I am here and care to make sure I’m ok.
So, thank you. Thank you to everyone who worried and called and texted and “Liked” and commented. It means the world to me, and it made a terrible time a bit easier knowing you all were there.
I am not French. I can hardly call this home, as I’ve only just been here a month. But this weekend, we are all Parisian.