North Texas

Barcelona Attack Hits Home for Some North Texans

Jennifer Ellis woke up Thursday morning to a flood of text messages.

The North Texas native lives in Barcelona, but was home for the summer when a van mowed down dozens of people in the popular Las Ramblas area of the city.

The text messages were from friends who wanted to make sure Ellis was not hurt in the attack.

"It's absolutely devastating. Think of Times Square in New York City, and when you're walking down the street everyone's this close to each other, and you can't move. That's the equivalent of Las Ramblas in August. My jaw dropped and my heart was heavy," Ellis said.

Ellis moved to Spain three years ago to teach English and says she fell in love with the country's food, culture and people. Las Ramblas was a regular stop for her when friends would come visit.

"Las Ramblas is where we go to show off the city. I think of happy people, happy families, school groups. There's so many that walk down Las Ramblas," she said.

Ellis feels Thursday's attacks mark a new normal for Barcelona. The city joins Nice, Berlin and London as sites of recent deadly terrorist attacks in which a truck was used.

"It's always in the back of your mind, but you never think it will happen," she said. "Things are happening everywhere, and they're happening in a way you wouldn't expect."

Like their European neighbors, Ellis said the Spanish will be defiant and united in the face of terrorism.

"The Catalans are very proud. They're proud of their city, they're proud of where they live, and they will not let anyone take that away from them," she said.

That's why Ellis is so determined to get back to her adopted home Sunday. She wants to mourn and stand in solidarity with the very people who have made Barcelona her second home.

"I'll go back with my chin up because I don't want to live my life in fear," she said. "It's important that we all work together to get back up on our feet, get through it and support each other."

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