My New Home in Paris

Last weekend, on a cold and windy afternoon, I went ice skating. I’ve only gone ice skating a few times and I’m not the best skater around, but seeing as it is winter here in Paris, I decided to go anyway. I met my friends Jess and Amaya and we rode the metro together to the Eiffel Tower, where unbeknownst to me, there is an ice skating rink on the first floor.

All was fine until I realized that to get to the first floor, we would have to climb the stairs. Stairs. If you know me at all, you know that I am absolutely terrified of heights. This is coming from the girl who has not and WILL NOT ride a roller coaster even if you bribed me with all the money in the world. So, looking up at all of the stairs that I would have to climb, I kind of panicked. Jess and Amaya gave me a pep talk though (thank you ladies! 🙂 ), and distracted me by talking the whole way up the steps. I didn’t dare look left or right, only down, concentrating on each step as we climbed farther up the Tower.

In hindsight, I knew I would make it out just fine, but as cheesy as it sounds, this was kind of a big deal for me! It was sort of like accomplishing a mini-goal I set for myself before coming here: Don’t let fear get in the way of experiencing the things I always wanted to do. So yes, I was scared of climbing a lot of stairs, but hey, I did it. The view made it worth it too.

View from the first floor
View from the first floor

One of my favorite English professors at Hope, Prof. Montano, once told my class that it was important to write about your time spent in a new place. That thought didn’t sink in until I arrived in Paris, a place that was incredibly new and foreign to me. I thought that taking pictures of everything I saw would be enough, but I was wrong.

It’s been almost a month since I have arrived in this beautiful city and now I am constantly writing. I have a journal that I carry with me everywhere I go and will write in whenever I have the chance. There is just something about writing words down that is much more satisfying than just taking a pretty picture. How else can you remember the feelings, the sensations or the emotions that you felt at a certain time and place?

I don’t write pages and pages of reflections everyday. Sometimes, I will just write down words or phrases if I see something that reminds me of something else, like home. Just yesterday, I saw a rainbow, an arc en ciel, and it remind me of those misty mornings back home in Chicago when I could walk out to my front porch and see just the tip of a rainbow peeking out from the clouds. It seems so silly, but it hit me in that moment that even though my real home is over 4,000 miles away, this is my new home. Right now. Today. Tomorrow. For the next three months.

As Lent begins this week, I am again reminded of His grace. I know that I was brought here for a reason to which I still do not know, but I hope that by the end of my journey, I will have an answer.


Thank you for reading and if you would like to know more about my semester abroad, follow me on Twitter @HopeMarisela16!

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Marisela Meraz

Hello! My name is Marisela, but everyone knows me by Mari. I am a senior at Hope majoring in English with an emphasis on writing and minoring in French. I am also part of the Theta Gamma Pi Sorority on campus. In my free time, I enjoy baking, taking photos, watching Netflix, and making music playlists for my friends. I am so excited to share my Hope experiences with you all!

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