Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Letter to The Editor

My name is Camila Trespalacios, I am 21 years old, and am from Chihuahua, Mexico. I was born in El Paso, Texas, and am enrolled at UTEP working on a double major in communication studies and French.

I arrived in Paris in September of 2014 to continue my studies at the Institut Catholique de Paris through UTEP’s study abroad program.

Paris is a magical city, full of love, landscapes, museums and beautiful views. It’s been a dream come true for me to live here. Since I was a little girl I was exposed to Paris through fairy tales, movies, poems, history books and even fashion. It will always be a cliché in the world of fantasy.

After more than a year in Paris, I have begun to better understand the French people—their irony that is difficult to grasp—and their culture, but more importantly, I have learned to love and respect them. Paris has become my new home.

In January 2015, something took place that I could have never imagined. I was here for the terrorist attacks on the magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was an abominable experience. Paris was in mourning. The world was in mourning.

After Charlie Hebdo, I never imagined something like it or worse would ever happen in Paris.

Friday, Nov. 13:

I decided not to go out and stayed at my dorm. I live in the south of Paris, a bit removed from where the attacks took place.

I received a call from my boyfriend Nataniel. Worried and worked up, the first thing he asked is if I was okay. As I learned of what had just happened, I just couldn’t believe it. I became worried for my family and friends who live in Paris and began calling them.

One of my closest friends from Tijuana was at a bar by Republique, very near to where the attacks took place. She said she had heard gunfire and felt compelled to hit the ground.

I felt very scared. I was starting to hear the sounds of ambulances, police and helicopters.

When I heard of the attacks on the Bataclan Theater, a place where I have been to with my boyfriend, panic came over me—thinking I have been there; I could have been there.

I was very worried about a Paris friend, Daphne, who was not answering her phone or messages on Facebook.

That night I was glued to my laptop. I couldn’t stop watching the news and it would tear me apart to see how the number of victims kept increasing. Every half hour the number increased—first seven, then 40, 80, 120! What is going on? I thought. It was so hard to understand.

It was sweet to see people back home worry so much about me, I never felt alone. It is incredible to see how the world can come together through social media, and the solidarity shown by the international community toward Paris was beautiful.

Thankfully, I stayed home that night.

Saturday, Nov. 14:

I was able to get a good night’s sleep and when I woke up I heard nothing. I turned on the news and everything remained the same, very few new developments. I tried calling Daphne again, but still got no response.

I decided to go out for some food and everything was quite calm. I went to buy some crepes and walk around, as I felt like unwinding a bit.

Just next to my building is a good crepes place. I have frequented it ever since I arrived in Paris and the owner is so nice, to the point I even consider him my friend. “Amiga” he calls me, but that morning he didn’t seem to be doing so good. I asked about his family and friends, if they were safe, he said yes. After some silence, he confessed this year had been very hard for them. Because they are Muslim, they have experienced a lot of discrimination.

“People don’t understand,” he said. “I’m not bad, but still me and my family have to suffer.”

I remained quiet, I felt heartbroken to see my friend that way.

A few minutes later, Daphne finally got in touch with me, she was fine and I felt relieved. She was extremely sad and terrified because of the things that are going on all around the world. It is horrible to have to live through things like these. I kept telling myself it was over now, but what is to come still scares me.

After a walk and some food, I decide to go to my boyfriend’s school where he lives. When I arrived, the tragedy was in every one of his friends’, who are all French, faces. They were all crowded in the kitchen on their floor watching the news.

I am sure Paris will endure like it did after Charlie Hebdo. France is a strong nation, if was able to get back up once, it will do it again. Today the world is in mourning, but it is as united as ever, it will not lose faith. I won’t lose faith.

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Letter to The Editor