Where is Bryan?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Paris Travel Writing Workshop Launches

Paris: Creating world-class writers for centuries...

My dad always told me that those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. I assumed this to be a subtle jab at some high school teacher he didn’t like that much. When I decided to go into academia, with visions of being a university professor, I thought that this was my chance to surprise dad and prove him wrong.

I teach journalism at the Sorbonne to French students, but I still keep one foot in the profession, and I always have. I still write and publish for outlets, even if it’s not always hard-hitting political analysis. I’m in the loop. I’d like to think I practice what I preach, and, while I may overuse idioms at times, these professional experiences have been a touchstone of my academic career.

While 2016 holds a big old question mark for my future teaching prospects, I decided to take it into my own hands. I’ll be finished my teaching at the Sorbonne in May, but the educational adventures aren’t about to end. Along with perpetual running buddy and colleague Heather Stimmler-Hall, we’ll be offering our new "Travel Writing Workshop" to educate those who always tell us, “Your life sounds so amazing.” 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Adieu 2015: It's Been Real

Dear Santa, this Christmas, I want...

Well it’s finally over. The year 2015 seemed to be the year that would never end, full of waiting, surprises, tragedy, and excitement. At least it was for me in Paris. Never has a December ever really felt like the end before, but it's all in a good way.

I’m not about to let Facebook decide what the highlights were of my year. I really think I know better than it does. And if not, then we’re all doomed.

So 2015 definitely had its share of high points. It was the year I traveled to Australia, China, Amsterdam, Budapest, and around France to places like Lille and exotic Amiens. It was the year I broke my own personal record at the Berlin Marathon, sneaking in under 3 hours and 50 minutes. It was the year I became a French citizen. It was the year when, just one week ago, I defended my PhD thesis and became a doctor at the Sorbonne. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paris: November 13

It's nuts that just two weeks after becoming French, the biggest attack against everything this nation stands far happened just blocks from my apartment. But I am safe. Those close to me are safe. It's just a bit surreal. Other people are suffering, having lost loved ones, and I can't imagine what that's like.

So I'll be brief.

General de Gaulle famously proclaimed in 1944, "Paris outraged. Paris broken. Paris martyred. But Paris liberated." Three of those things hold true today, following Friday's horrible attacks. "Liberated," however, is far from how I feel in this city at this moment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

He's French!

Where is Bryan? Recorded happily in the registry of French citizens. A young boy from Bucks County has grown up to be a naturalized Frenchman. Bring on the Champagne and baguettes, please!

My letter came last weekend in a simple little white envelope, as if it held all the weight and importance of a bank statement. France doesn’t splash out on notifying its newest citizens, but I’m not concerned. I’m part of the cool crowd at last.

I was waiting to talk about my interview in February, slightly afraid that I’d be jinxing myself. Honestly, however, I actually thought I had a lot more time to post it. But here it is, a recap of the final step on the way to French citizenship. I hope it helps anyone else out there going through the process!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Berlin Marathon: Far from My Wurst Race

The Eiffel Tower of Berlin...
The poor German guy next to me was trying to get around the slow girls in front of us. He nearly tripped over me as he made his break, and I decided to wind off him for the next few miles. It was working, too.

This was the Berlin Marathon, one of the fastest courses in the world, and I was bound to get a personal record this year. Berlin is an easy weekend trip from Paris, so with no issues of jetlag, a tummy happily full of the previous day’s Chinese and Thai food, and a few gels pinned to my shorts, I was in it to win.

Well, I would win metaphorically speaking. The Kenyan who actually won had probably already finished by the time my resolve was kicking in fully. And his insoles popped out of both shoes on the way!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Live from Paris: Rock en Seine

When you think of Paris, music festivals don't immediately come to mind. Apparently the UK is where you go to see the real deal. But Rock en Seine definitely held my attention, especially since I’ve been hearing about it for the last 7 years and always ignored it. I just thought it was kind of a smaller deal than it really was. I guess I was wrong.

Heading out to Parc Saint Cloud, west of the city, I wasn’t really sure of what I was getting myself into. I was kind of imagining a big picnic with some music and dancing. Well, I was close…

Even though I really knew only a few of the artists, and a few others by name, the many English-speaking bands were enough to get excited. There were only a handful of French bands to get through, but I managed to miss all of them (funny how that happens…).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tour Saint Jacques: Tower with a View

View from the top...

Just when I thought I had seen Paris from every angle…

For the last three years, the Tour Saint Jacques, that big flamboyant gothic belfry just down the street from City Hall, has been open to tourists during the summer. While the city offered a rare glimpse inside this prominent, but mysterious structure, I missed the boat the last two years. This year, I was not going to take any chances.

Dating back to the 15th century when it was part of a church, the Tour Saint Jacques survived the French Revolution (unlike the rest of the church) and underwent extensive renovations in the 19th century.

But I won’t ruin the tour for you. Your guide will take care of the details.