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From Paris to Texas in a Corona Minute

My sad, mad dash home in the time of COVID-19.

by Neely Kasanoff

Photo: Instagram @hey_its_neelz

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody at NYU Paris was really concerned. But the school knew that parents were, so they gave students the option to go home.

I opened the email and scoffed, knowing that there was no way I would leave Paris by choice.

Our RAs went around the dorm asking if anyone was going to leave, and most of us said the only way we’d leave France is if they dragged us out by the feet.

Starting my freshman year of college in Paris gave me a totally different experience than that of my friends going off to universities in America. I studied French in high school and absolutely love Paris, so I saw this as a priceless chance to immerse myself in French culture while enjoying the smallness of my cohort of peers.

When the news broke that President Trump would be making an announcement regarding the U.S.’s relationship to Europe during the novel pandemic, our dorm threw a watch party to see what he had to say.

It was at 2 a.m. our time, and as soon as the words “travel ban on Europe starting in 48 hours” came out of his mouth, laptops were opened and every single person got on the phone with their families to book a flight home.

One girl paid $3,000 for her flight. Nobody processed any of what was going on; everyone immediately flew into a frenzy of packing.

I went downstairs to the storage room to grab my suitcases and on the way down passed 8 different girls crying, mostly from the stress of having to get out. My roommates had booked flights for as soon as an hour, so instead of being in charge of cleaning my room, I became in charge of cleaning 5 rooms for the people leaving before I was.

When I say that I have never experienced this level of chaos in my life, I mean it.