I had planned such a different post. A happy post. But today is not a happy day. This whole weekend isn’t a happy weekend. No TGIF for the world.
My colleague said to me on Friday “Oooh, it’s Friday the 13th today!” and I laughed and said “What? Do you want me to be scared now?!”. Now feel like I jinxed it.
All thoughts I had then now feel callous and silly. The news arrived late here as I am in a little Brazilian town with limited internet access. When I heard something about soccer in France and I didn’t care much – after all, the exciting games against Brazil were done right in front of my hotel.
Yesterday I woke up for a boat trip and was worried about my upset stomach. I wondered if coconut water would do it any good or make it worse. Would they have a toilet on the boat or should I take an Immodium? My wonderful little worries. I checked my emails and the news on my phone before we left and once again, the world became a different place.
I realized that my dad was meant to be in Paris and was so relieved when I got a hold of him. He was slightly cranky that his opera got canceled but was otherwise fine so I laughed for the first time. What more wonderful little worries those were! Don’t think him indifferent. I know what becomes important when you are very close to tragedy. For him it was the opera, for me it was the question of whether the supermarket would run out of Corona after September 11. We all need our routine, our little world to hold on to and worry about when the worry about the whole world is simply too much to bear.
He didn’t complain long either, but with true traveler’s spirit, didn’t hide away but paid tribute to this wonderful city by taking a stroll through the streets.
I, on the other hand, boarded a boat and started to drink Caipirinhas at 11 am, upset stomach be damned. I ate fried calamari on the beach and got a bad sunburn.
So that was that.
I tried hard to come up with something somewhat smart to write, something that would make a little sense to someone in this world that doesn’t make sense anymore. I cannot. I feel just as helpless as I felt after the attack on Charlie Hebdou. I feel as scared for the repercussions for Muslims all over the world as well as more attacks happening when nobody expects them. I am baffled by all the arguing and questions that go along with a deep, searing pain for the world and a fear that seems to settle deep in our stomachs.
All I came up with I have already said before, but maybe it is just as well to say it again: I think all we can do in times like this is to live. To travel, to explore, and to laugh. To see foreign places, speak to people we cannot understand and walk towards each other with an open heart, an open mind, and open arms. And to use that as our way to say ‘Fuck you, I won’t let you get me down!’ to whoever did this.
A boat trip may seem callous as does a lighthearted stroll through Paris. But maybe that is all there is today because some people simply won’t be able to as their hearts are broken or they are no more. I have nothing to offer them to make it any better but to live life to the fullest to not let the darkness win.
*The title is from a tattoo I saw on a coworker yesterday and thought it very fitting.
Image by CNN.com