I had seen it before when I visited with family, but this time was different. I lived here now. This was my home, at least for the next year. On my first day in Paris for my junior year abroad, I made a point to walk to the Eiffel Tower, which was a short and scenic 20 minutes on foot from my new home. I sat on a bench and took it all in.
The tower was majestic and overwhelming. It was nothing but thousands and thousands of tons of iron, but it overlooked the city and the people below with a certain grace that only the French could muster. I spent awhile on that bench, watching Parisians walk by and watching tourists take pictures. I spent that time trying to adjust my thinking: I was not a tourist, and I wanted nothing more than to blend in and be mistaken for a French person. I was hoping someone would approach me and ask me directions or a question (the answer to which I would most likely not know) because it would confirm that I didn’t look like an outsider, that I looked like I belonged here.
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