Where is Bryan?

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Real High in Amsterdam Over 42 Kilometers

The reason for it all...the bling.

So close to a personal record! The Amsterdam Marathon, despite not scoring my best time to date, was one of the more entertaining marathons I’ve ever run.

I decided way back in February to run Amsterdam this year, with some 16,000 runners taking part. After running Lyon years ago and feeling totally alone out on the course, I only want to run marathons surrounded by hordes of people. It’s a lot easier to feel motivated when you have thousands of runners chasing you from behind. 

After some spotty training that began as I was moving my life to London, I still felt ready. Amsterdam brought out the sun at Olympic Stadium on Sunday as we gathered at the starting line. As the invited and elite runners took off, a rush of energy came over me (as did the urge to pee once last time) as I took off with the other runners.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Learning London: Columbia Road Flower Market

The blooms.
I love anything from the 19th century. Who doesn’t, really? London suffers no lack of history, but World War II took its toll on the city. It’s not always easy to know when you’re revisiting history or something from the late 1970s. But I’m managing well, so far.

The Columbia Road Flower Market, I learned, is one such remnant from the 19th century. So naturally I fell in love. While clearly a draw for tourists, I have no problem visiting the weekly market, playing tourist myself. Imagine the scents of fresh flowers and black coffee mingling with the intoxicating smells of frying bacon – what could be a better Sunday morning experience?

Monday, July 18, 2016

London: First Impressions

Welcome to London Saint Pancras Station...
As the French attendant at the Gare du Nord checked our bags, she said with a raised eyebrow, “You have too much baggage, it’s two pieces per person.”

“Oh really?” I said in my most incredulous French. I had a backpack, a computer bag, two crammed pieces of luggage, and a tote filled with baguette sandwiches and pastries. It would have cost me half a year’s earnings to get that sort of baggage on RyanAir, but this was a train. Weight wasn’t as much of an issue I thought. “Well we’re moving to London so we had no choice.”

“OK, well, I’ll let you go this time, but you’ve been warned for next time,” she said.

I smiled that sort of satisfied smile that you see in movies when the hero or heroine is about to walk off into the sunset, happily ever after. “There won’t be a next time,” I said, and we walked through customs, onto the Eurostar, and all was right with the world.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cheerio Paris!


Every love affair has an end. Or at least takes a long break.

This time, it’s me and Paris. Though I never planned on creating a life in Paris, it appears that, well, I did. It’s been nearly eight years since I stepped off an Air India flight from New York – now discontinued – with two suitcases, a job, and absolutely no idea how to be an adult. 

Lessons were learned hard and fast in 2008, as I tried to get into my new apartment, only realizing that I was on the 5th floor and not the 4th, having counted the ground floor as “1” and not “0.” Rookie mistake. But many jobs and two degrees later, I find myself at the end of one spectacular journey and at the start of another.

I’ll be moving to land that is just as grey and expensive as Paris, but where, I hear, the scones and musical theater are much better.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monkeying Around in Rocamadour

Come for the medieval village. Stay for the monkeys.

Ticking off bucket list items can be frustrating, because you always find new items to add. My France list included the pilgrimage town of Rocamadour, but it ended up including an encounter with some very unique French residents.

Rocamadour, known across France for its locally produced goat cheese, has been a pilgrimage site for over a thousand years. With churches, monastic buildings, and a medieval chateau overlooking it, the town clings to the rocks overlooking the valley below. Religious or not, travelers of all walks of life will have to pick up their jaws at one point.

Next door, however, we discovered the real show. While researching things to do around Rocamadour, I found what ended up being one of the kookiest experiences in France – and I’ve been seeking out weird stuff for eight years here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Graduation Day at the Sorbonne

A diploma! Well, a fake one, but it looks good!

Defending a thesis in Paris is anticlimactic at best. When I became a full-fledged doctor in December, I celebrated with sparkling wine and cupcakes (courtesy of my pal Cat), but it lacked the pomp of my university graduation from NYU.

Granted, those ceremonies took place at Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium – I couldn’t expect the same thing from the Sorbonne. But not even a cap or gown? Come on now.

This year, however, for the first time, several schools within the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité system got together to celebrate Paris’s newest doctors. (I was channeling some major Love Actually: “And it’s the first time all the local schools have joined together, even Saint Basil’s.”) The result was a very, very good showing for the Sorbonne. I was extremely proud to be a part of it, and I consider it a worthy send-off after five years.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Louis Vuitton in Paris for Under 15 Euros

Seen from the Jardin d'Acclimation...

I had very little interest in whatever was inside of it. When I hear the words “contemporary art” in Paris, I immediately lose interest. The Fondation Louis Vuitton, despite opening in late 2014, never made it to my list of priorities. Last week though, that finally changed.

I like being efficient, so when I had to go pick up a race bib for the Bois de Boulogne 10k, it seemed like the right time to check out this fancy Frank Gehry building. It’s located in the park, not far from the pick-up spot, so I planned my route.