Never in my wildest dreams...

Sarah Zalewski - CIDEF, Angers, France

 While waiting for the train to come in, I felt like I was living in a dream. My host mom, Dominique, her friend Freddie, and my friend Kristin were with me. The day was really long already, filled with a full day of school and me waking up to a glowing cake made of crepes and heart candles. It was my birthday.

After school, my friend Kristin and I were going to Paris for the weekend. We had so much planned and so many things to experience. As the train pulled in, I was overcome with emotion. I was sad to say good bye to my host mom and Angers for the weekend, but I could not believe I was getting on that train. As we got on, my host mom said "have fun and be safe", and then we found our seats. I glanced out the window as we were starting to leave and then we were going, going, gone and I was on my way to Paris for my birthday!

When we got there, we found our hotel and were amazed that you could see the Eiffel Tower right outside our hotel window! We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant and the whole time I kept thinking, how can people eat when they are in Paris?!! Aren't they just overcome with emotion over being here? Then I realized I was the only one. It has always been my biggest dream to go to Paris and the fact that I was there, on my birthday, is indescribable.

After dinner, we went to the Eiffel Tower and I was floored by how beautiful and so big it was. It's glowing yellow legs and it's vast size left me at a loss for words. We got in a long line to go in it and all the while I was thinking, I hope I get to go in today! We went to the second level and I got there in time to be on the Eiffel Tower for my birthday. The city of Paris was alive with noise and vibrant colors. I now understood why they call Paris the city of lights. I could not believe I was actually there. After a million photos and a thousand videos, we went back down and walked along the park in front of the Eiffel Tower. There were thousands of people there, talking, dancing, and singing. I felt like it wasn't real and that never in my wildest dreams could I be here, but I was! I have never even flown on a plane before and now here I am walking in Paris, standing next to the Eiffel Tower.

As I walked along the Eiffel Tower, I was staring at it and thinking how incredibly beautiful and amazing it was. I sat in the grass in the Mall and just soaked up the entire atmosphere. I looked at the people, the emotions, the colors, the sounds, and the beauty of the city of lights. It was the best birthday I have ever had in my life and I still had two days left in Paris! I knew in my heart that I was one of the luckiest girls in the world and that this would be a day and a trip I would never forget and be eternally grateful for. I looked up at the Eiffel Tower, smiling with a tear in my eye and made a wish. Happy Birthday to me.

Central Michigan University • 1200 S. Franklin St. • Mount Pleasant, Mich. 48859 • 989-774-4000