My brother is coming in from Iowa for Thanksgiving and bringing his pregnant girlfriend who I don’t care for. He lives in The Hawkeye State for work. I can’t remember what he does. He’s either an architectural engineer, electrical engineer, or a mermaid. Anyways, my brother is too good for that gold digger. I’d rather enter feast mode this holiday at a soup kitchen with the toothless people who live on Wilkes-Barre’s Public Square, or my former manager at the Red Lobster I served at in college, who looks like Rosie O’Donnell and has the temper of whoever abused Dave Pelzer.
Sorry, Mom and Dad.
I’m not the only one who would rather spend Thanksgiving anywhere but here. Former Model of the Week, Jordan Harris, from Clarks Summit, would rather spend the upcoming holiday in Paris — and the place was just attacked by ISIS.
The 22-year-old senior at Keystone College, a good drinking buddy of mine, is a senior Communications/Marketing major, with a minor in Digital Marketing. She’s studying abroad this semester at the Novancia School of Business. Her apartment is a 15 minute walk from where 130 people were killed in an act of ungodly terror Nov. 13.
I recently spoke with her to find out what it’s like to be in Paris following the attack, and why she’d rather spend Thanksgiving there than in NEPA.
Do you regret going to Paris?
Not at all. Studying abroad here is something that crossed my mind all throughout college. I had some friends that had done it. Then randomly, in January, my relationship with my boyfriend ended. It was the best time for me to go to the land of love and light.
Where were you when the attack happened?
Thankfully, I was spending a few days traveling, and I was in Italy. But I could have been there. It’s a short walk from my apartment, and I’m always out exploring new places and going to different shows.
Were you skeptical to return to Paris?
I was just nervous. Security was tight getting back to Paris. I was in a foreign country. I’m thousands of miles, and an ocean, away from my family. Then, when I came back, the aura of the city was dark. Nobody was on the streets.
So even then, after the act of terror and change in vibe, you have no regrets?
No regrets. The people of Paris have been so brave, and are standing together to say, ‘This is our city. This is our home. We’re not going to let anyone take that away from us. We’re not backing down.’ And we’re not. Sure they were scared, and vulnerable, and taken aback. They were attacked. But they came together. Going through this experience with the city reminds me of how strong America was after 9/11. Being here made me feel like a Parisian, like I belong. I don’t ever want to leave. I feel like this is my home now.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
I’m thankful for my new friends, from Paris and around the world. And I’m thankful to have experienced the beauty and bravery of Paris. It has been educational and empowering, and when I come back to NEPA next month, I’ll be a better, more confident, more knowledgeable, more empathetic, stronger person because of my experience in Paris. Tragedies happen. No one will leave life unscathed. But life is more than the bad things that happen and the bad people that do them. Life is about surviving and showing gratitude and thanks for being alive and around the people you love. It’s not something that we should just be reminded about after terrorists kill people or on a day like Thanksgiving.
Justin Adam Brown has been sharing his wildest adventures and life lessons for more than 5 years. Follow him on Instagram and Snapchat @justinadambrown