Selmer woman was in Paris during terrorist attacks
SELMER, Tenn.– It’s been 9-days since terror struck the City of Love, and one west Tennessee woman was in Paris during the attacks. Kelsey Martin is a 19-year old nursing student at Middle Tennessee State University studying abroad in Europe. “It was unreal to know that was going on just outside,” Martin said about being in Paris that night. Martin and her roommate had traveled to Paris for the weekend. “We had a great day we had woken up early and gone to a park and walked around Paris and we sat and had a picnic in front of the Eiffel tower,” she said. She said after visiting the Mona Lisa she decided to head back to their hostel to work on homework. “We split ways and she went to go meet a friend who was studying abroad in Paris.” Martin said she received the first of many terrifying messages when she got back to the hostel. “So I get back to the hostel and i get a snap chat from one of my cousins and it says hey are you OK? And I‘m like yeah, I‘m great, I‘m in Paris dude it’s great,” she said. Martin had not heard of the attacks yet, and after talking with some of her friends and family back home, she realized what was happening just miles away. “The story was still very new so everything was being updated um so it was like saying there were gunshots there’s a hostage situation but no one really knew what was going on and I was freaking out because my roommate was still out.” Martin’s parents heard about the attacks 30 minutes after they talked with her. “You can’t go help her, you know you’re helpless to do anything,” Frank Yalda, her stepdad, said. “I thought this could have been my child…so it just doesn’t happen you know everyday,” Kelsey‘s mom Angela said. They talked with Kelsey shortly after, but Kelsey said she still hadn’t heard from her roommate. “It was really terrifying actually because I was really nervous that she was in the middle of it all and she was really close she was probably a good 15 minutes away from it,” Martin said. “I was pretty terrified that I was going to have to go home to Spain without her.” Shortly after her roommate contacted Martin and made it back safely to the hostel where the atmosphere had changed. “They were all really sad and huddled together talking quietly no one was really talking and earlier it was really loud and a warm environment and it was very sad afterwards,” Martin said. Now Martin and her roommate are both back safe in Spain where they are attending school. Her parents are grateful and say their prayers made a difference. “I think about the family that did lose a student while studying abroad….you know we are that family that they wish they were. So it does touch home because this could have been reversed it could have been our child,” Frank said. And one of Martin’s biggest takeaways is how the world is pulling together in the midst of this tragedy. “Even something so tragic can also be unifying.” Martin is heading back to Tennessee in the middle of December, and said she will focus on her nursing major at MTSU.