In Paris, one could easily become overwhelmed or lost without a little planning. It has happened to me many times. A couple weekends ago, I was going to a friend’s appartment in an area I did not know. As I was running late, I forgot to write down the address of my destination before leaving. I’d been sent a message with directions, which I unfortunately could not see without wifi. So after an hour journey on the metro, I got off in the general neighborhood of the appartment. It was a gritty area in the suburb Montreuil. With a vague notion of where I needed to be, I sought help at a gas station. The clerk was so kind and patient as I searched for the French words to describe my predicament. She was genuinely concerned for me. She drew me a map and steered me the right way. As I began walking away from the counter, the man behind me offered to drive me to where I needed to be. Although I wasn’t quite ready to accept a ride from a stranger, that was uplifting.  The generosity offered to me defied the “French are cold” stereotype. The more success I have in approaching people, the more confident I become. By reaching out in moments such as this I connect with kind, helpful people. Interactions like these make me very grateful to be travelling abroad.

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