Monday, May 8, 2017

Food for Thought

Bonjour!

First, I must announce that the new president of France will be Emmanuel Macron and not Marine Le Pen! You, as an American or person of another nationality, might be wondering "Why does this matter?" and to that I will answer: It matters because what is happening on the other side of the world DOES matter. Even if you are unable to see the events, even if they don't directly affect you, it matters to be aware and informed. Of course, I cannot claim to be informed of the political events of every country in the world, but it doesn't hurt to look at the world outside of our own backyards every now and then.

I was talking to a new friend that I had the privilege of meeting during my trip to the U.K. about the United States and our lack of knowledge about the world outside our borders. Of course, I can only speak for myself when I admit that before traveling to France, I had no idea which little dot on the map was really the country. Even within the U.S., I'm not sure I could label every state on a map (Trust me, I failed my 5th grade U.S. geography test.)

What I mean to point out is that traveling broadens the mind, the heart, and the soul. It allows you to become emotionally invested in the world outside of your own four walls. It is possible, even, to tap into your curiosity and empathy without purchasing that oh-so-expensive plane ticket! Find a pen-pal. Support a charity that helps in foreign aide. Recently, there was a French man named Jerome Jarre who began the hashtag: #SaveSomalia. This spread awareness about the drought and famine in the country. Good things can happen when people are aware of the need. To be aware, one must be watching, reading, and updating.

I shared in my last blog post my newest goal to go to Italy and as of today, I have booked all necessary flights, train tickets, and hostel stays to do so. I have only 35 days remaining to spend on this side of the Atlantic, and I will live each one to the fullest. A few of those days will be exam days, as I finish my semester here at UniCaen. One of the days will be spent at a French music festival. I will have a few days in Italy, a few days in Versailles, and the very last will be spent in Paris-the city that now owns my heart.

As a concluding thought, I leave you with these wise words of Mark Twain:
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

A bientot. -Albrianna Jenkins

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