A Weekend Trip to Paris, the “City of Light”

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

I can still hear Jillian Michaels saying this in one of her workout videos as I struggled to hold a plank position in my living room. This phrase applied to almost every workout of hers that I completed. It’s this absence of comfort that makes us stronger in the long run. Little did I know that the quote would also become my mantra as I traveled by myself to Paris for the weekend.

Being abroad has reminded me of how easily we take for granted the sense of familiarity that resides in us as we go through our daily home routines. We know how to get to school, to work, and to other everyday places without taking one second to stop and think.
I guess I should have anticipated this uncomfortableness as I traveled between countries. It resides like the sense of anticipation you get before making that first descent on a rollercoaster. It acts as a reminder that I would be coming home with a renewed sense of self upon touching down on U.S. soil.

One weekend in March, I flew to Paris by myself to meet up with my roommates who had left a day early. I was wary of the language barrier I would face upon touching down, and I prayed that my basic knowledge of Spanish would at least allow me to figure out common French words. I knew I would have to figure out how to use public transportation to get to my hostel, and I relied heavily on the directions my roommates had texted me that morning.

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6 Things to Do in Amsterdam

Growing up, I had this warped view of what life is like in Amsterdam. I guess I had the media and pop culture to blame for planting the idea in my head that “anything goes” in Amsterdam. From legalized drugs to the infamous Red Light District, I was under the impression that there was absolutely nothing you couldn’t do in Amsterdam.

When I initially booked my flight to Prague, my itinerary included a layover at Charles De Gaulle in Paris, France. But of course, the combination of upstate New York winter weather and bad luck resulted in a last-minute flight cancellation, a panicked phone call with a Delta Airlines customer service rep, and a new itinerary that included a layover change from Paris to Amsterdam. “Hmm…Amsterdam,” I thought as I stepped onto Netherlands soil to board my connecting flight. “This may not be a bad place to add to the bucket list.”

The passport stamp I received upon landing at Amsterdam Schiphol airport on my way to Prague.
The passport stamp I received upon landing at Amsterdam Schiphol airport on my way to Prague.

Fast forward a month and a half to mid-March, and I boarded a 7am flight to Amsterdam with my roommate. We touched down a short hour later and headed to the nearest taxi that would take us to our hotel about 25 minutes outside of the city center.

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