On January 20, 2009 I walked around with my head high. With President Obama's face plastered all over the city of Lyon, anyone could guess why I was proud to be an American. The inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America was an international event. French people seemed especially content on this particular Tuesday. Farmers at the local market embraced me when they heard my American accent. One man handed me a basket of free fruit while proclaiming "Yes we can!" I felt like a celebrity that day, and rightfully so. America has impressed the world. If there was ever a stereotype of French people not liking Americans, it is surely gone now.
That evening, I tuned in to a live stream of the inauguration speech with a group of American students from my apartment building. All huddled around my tiny laptop screen, we clapped and cheered as we watched our new president take office. I must admit that before leaving for France I was disappointed about missing the inauguration from the states, but in reality I didn't miss anything. Instead, I was able to feed off the positive energy from the rest of the world and experience something exciting and new. I am looking forward to observing the reactions of the French people as new policies and changes occur in the United States.