Joshua Villamizar: Miami as Text 2023

A New Beginning

“To realize one’s personal legend is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one. And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it” – Paolo Coelho

Every personal legend begins with an omen. My first omen, though short-lived was presented to me in my french language class in 7th grade. At the time, I had recently visited Paris for the first time and was curious to learn more about the french language. Little did I know this minute decision would influence the decisions I would make for years to come.

Fast forward a few years and here I am enrolled in this class that will open a new chapter in my life. For many people studying abroad is just a way of having a more competitive resume, having a fun new experience, or traveling with friends. Whilst being very reasonable reasons, to me, studying abroad meant more than just these reasons. When I heard about the opportunity to study abroad, I saw it as an opportunity to transcend as a human. Studying abroad meant abandoning everything at home for some time, it meant leaving everything behind, it meant challenging my set of beliefs and opinions, it meant developing a profound relationship with life and experiences. This opportunity would give way for the chance to mature as a person.

To finally be able to accept the reality that I’m completing my personal legend has made me feel all but anxious or nervous. In fact, my excitement and desire to already board a plane and fly over there has time feeling like it’s going slower than ever.

While I have been to Paris in the past, that visit was also over 8 years ago so my memory of what I saw and what I knew about French culture has sort of faded. However, having studied AP French though has granted me some general knowledge that I can hopefully still put to use to try to blend in with the local Parisians. Some of those things being to never reveal I’m an American, always try to speak French, and always watch for pickpocketers. While there are so many other things to know about France these are just the ones that stuck with me-especially as an American.

When I think about France, all I can think about is the arts. France is the land where every artist of their craft goes to thrive. Modern high-level cooking originated in France, Fashion design has deep roots in France, and certain art movements like Gothic art was practically born in France. Many art movements

While I do have a good amount of expectations for this class one of the most important for me is to understand why and how France became the world epicenter for human rights. I also want to learn the historical significance of the French Revolution and how it altered the course of art for eternity.

Out of all the locations we are scheduled to visit, the one that I’m most looking forward to is Normandie. After all, without the sacrifice of all those people that we are going to see, we would not be living in the same world we are living in today. For me, this place is also going to be the most impactful location visited. It’s presence is a reminder of the fact that life has two sides to it. In order for there to be light, darkness has to exist.

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