December 1, 2015
By Sarah Tinoco
Senior Jordan Krikie planned an overnight leisure trip to tour the City of Lights. However Krikie plans changed when the ISIS planned terrorists attacks struck Paris, France on Nov. 13.
Krikie, who is currently studying abroad in Limerick, Ireland with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), and a friend had planned to travel from Dublin, Ireland to Paris that Friday night and return Saturday evening.
It was on a bus from Beauvais–Tillé Airport in Tillé, France to Paris when a Parisian passenger stood up and announced what had happened in Paris.
Krikie and her friend arrived in Paris at around 11:45 p.m., after the explosions on the Stade de France and the shootings at bars and cafes in the 10th and 11th Arrondissements had unfolded.
“Because all the metro stations were closed and no one wanted to walk with what was going on, people rushed from the bus to the street to try and get a taxi,” Krikie said. “Parisians who were driving by were offering to drive people places to help people get off the street.”
Krikie and her friend attempted to get a taxi for 15 minutes. Once they finally got a taxi, Krikie showed the driver the address of their hostel. The driver quickly informed Krikie that the hostel was only a half a mile away from one of the attacks. The driver told Krikie that he would not go in that direction, and neither should she and her friend.
“When we first heard about the attacks we were nervous, but it wasn’t until we realized that we couldn’t get to our hostel and we were on the streets during a terror attack that I broke down. We were both terrified and wanted to get inside as fast as possible,” Krikie remembered.
Krikie and her friend scrambled to find a place to stay for the night to get off the street. They found a Hyatt Regency hotel near the bus stop in the 17th Arrondissement, where they begged security to let them in to book a room. At that point, the cost of staying in a four-star hotel in Paris did not matter to Krikie and her friend.
They barricaded themselves in the hotel room that night, calling their families, friends and the US Embassy to let them know they were safe, but very scared.
“We heard police cars driving by all night with their sirens blaring. Every time we heard a siren we would go to the window and try and see what direction it was going,” Krikie said.
At this time, the shootings and hostage situation were still underway at the Bataclan concert hall in the 11th Arrondissement.
“We watched the news all night until about 6 a.m. We got minute by minute updates as the Garda stormed the Bataclan concert hall and found 112 hostages dead,” Krikie said.
Krikie and her friend finally left their hotel room at around 11:30 a.m. the next morning to take in the sights of Paris. Everything was closed, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and police officers and soldiers with riffles stood on almost every street throughout the city, Krikie said.
“My friend and I walked to the Bataclan concert hall to pay tribute to the victims and their families. Besides news vans and the reporters talking, it was strangely quiet as the police stood and blocked the street near the theatre,” Krikie said.
Krikie returned safely to Dublin that Saturday. The following Saturday while in Dublin again, Krikie saw flowers, candles, artwork and notes laid in front of the French Embassy in the Irish capital city.
Krikie, a psychology major, has since returned to Limerick, but not without experiencing a tragic event that has altered her worldview.
“It’s an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It’s hard to completely process right now because it just happened but my chest still gets tight when I think about the attacks or I see posts about it. It’s hard to explain.”