It is an odd feeling to sit and think about how far I am from home. More than 4,000 miles separate my home from this foreign land. The cultural differences can be perplexing and the language barrier is a challenge—but I have been clutching my translation book and practicing my salutations at every opportunity.
It is only day two in Paris and I feel I have already managed to navigate the metro semi-confidently and dodge the pickpockets. Independence on the other side of the world has been an uplifting experience, and a positive one.
I have my qualms with the French and their culture—its just different—but they are still people, and it was made very clear to me when I was shopping in the Champs-Elysees district. I was in the Nike store buying a rain jacket to sport against the gloomy rains that are currently overtaking France, and while I was walking out I saw one of the Nike workers dribbling a soccer ball on a fake stretch of turf underneath the cleat section. A young boy was walking by with his dad watching the Nike worker kicking the ball back and forth. Without hesitation the employee softly passed the ball to the boy, he smiled and received the ball with his tiny-toddler feet. He fumbled the pass, set his feet and passed it back to the Nike worker. It was a quick moment in time, and I’m quite sure I was the only one was watching this interaction.
…It made me feel comfortable, like I wasn’t on the other side of the world. This event is a microcosm of the importance of sports, and how it impacts everyone in this world. It was nice.