My last blog post was titled “A Day in Nice” and I wrote about a quintessential day walking, shopping, and eating in my home away from home that I have grown to love. I didn't talk about the state of emergency or mention the bérets verts, but that's a part of my life in Nice, too. Living day to day along a blue sea is not just that. There's also the ugly part. The part that's knowing what to do in the case of terror attacks. This morning, I woke up to news of terror attacks in Brussels. One in the airport. One in the metro station. 26 dead, 130 injured. In the past, these have always been far enough away that I've felt untouched by the violence. After Paris, even after the San Bernadino shooting, my life in Minneapolis was safe. I didn't know people in the targeted cities, so nothing hit that close to home. But to hear this news break while living in Nice has given me a different perspective. The unity of Europe is increasingly evident during these events. I've never been to Belgium before, yet just in being its neighboring country, the people of France have felt the effects of these attacks. Planes were being rerouted away from the airport in Brussels, many landing in France instead. Even when Belgium, France, the entire European Union is on the highest alert, it's terrifying that this can still happen. It's not uncommon to see bérets verts (green berets) walking around Nice in broad daylight. It's even more common to see these members of the military covering French airports. France has been in a state of emergency since the Paris attacks, and I can imagine that Belgium has heightened their security even more since their capture of a suspect for those same events. I will be living and traveling in Europe for another month and a half, and I have every intention to follow through with these plans. Yes, I am scared, but I am also going to continue to take advantage of the opportunity I have to study abroad in Nice, France. I'm sickened that the lives of families across Europe have been tainted by death and fear, but I hope they don't forget the good that exists outside the bad. I, for one, am traveling to Paris this weekend. To be more specific, I will be flying to Paris. I will be letting my family know when I land safely, but more importantly, I will still be going. Brussels, we stand with you.
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<p>I am a Wisconsinite/Minnesotan traveling many miles to study in the beautifully temperate Nice, France! This diversifying experience suits me well because jam is my jam and getting lost is second nature. Bring on the language immersion!</p>