“Je suis Charlie” I am Charlie has become a trending hashtag through twitter and instagram quickly after the events in Paris unfolded. 12 people were killed and 11 people wounded as 3 men walked and fired shots at Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters. More details directly from cnn here.
My Mom woke me the news via text. I then heard quickly from my Dad asking if I had heard the news. No, I am not french I am American but if you have read earlier blog posts or know a little about me I have spent the last two years traveling back and forth between the US and Paris. Paris has become a second home to me. I waited before watching any news because I knew it would suck me in and it would be hard to turn off. Late in the evening I watched CNN as they reported from Paris. Tears continue to stream down my face last night through today as I hurt for the families of those that were wounded and killed.
I have always felt Paris to be a very safe place. Sure there are pickpockets wondering around metro stations and high touristy areas but that’s really it. If you ask an expat why they moved to Paris they will tell you a few reasons: they uses Paris as escape or a place to heal. People come to Paris looking for something that is missing. This is just from my experience and talking to other expats I have met. I first went to Paris alone in 2010 after I lost my job. It instantly drew me in from the very first day and I knew I wanted to live there. In 2013 I packed up my Chicago apartment and made the move to Paris. I boarded the plane completely terrified and didn’t know anyone in the new country I was about to call my home. The thing is Paris gave me exactly what I needed. As cheesy as it sounds I found myself in Paris. Through getting lost on the streets, language struggles, and meeting friends in a new country I was able to shed the damaged layers I had been holding onto. At the same time I was able to build a business. Paris continues to give to me and surprises me through continuing to explore the city even 5 years later.
The reason why I am telling you this is the 3 men that shot and killed 12 innocent people tried to burst my bubble. They have shaken Paris up in a way they haven’t experienced in years. But the thing is the people of Paris are uniting. The people of Paris are out on the streets supporting each other, remembering those who they have lost and spreading the love. Together Paris will remain strong. Please keep Paris in your thoughts and prayers and the two remaining suspects are found before they do any more harm.