Charlotte Mendes and Luciana Perez-Uribe are NCSU students studying in Brussels. Mendes had just recently arrived.
"Less than 24 hours before, I had been in the airport and it was fine. Everything was so normal," Mendes said.
In interviews through Skype, the two describe the entire experience, and the aftermath as being very surreal. Both were at their homes in Brussels when the attacks at the airport and subway happened.
"It's unbelievable that places you go to everyday are bombed," Perez-Uribe said. "Just ordinary citizens got hurt. It's horrible."
For Perez-Uribe, Mendes, and the people of Brussels, those familiar sites turned to chaos after each explosion. More than 30 people were killed and hundreds were injured.
"It was a bit mind boggling that it could even happen in Brussels," Mendes said.
Now as life in the aftermath of the attack is more cautious, in Brussels and around the world, both students say they're noticing something else. They're noticing strength and support among the people in the form of tributes and memorials.
"Despite this being very scary and making you want to stay in, people are still going out and showing their empathy and it's really beautiful," said Perez-Uribe. "People are drawing messages with chalk, put candles, flowers it's just really beautiful."
These touching acts are coming as forms of comfort as they, and a city, begin to recover from tragedy.