Wednesday

my past 2 months –

Artist: Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne
Song: “Real Love”


How do I even begin to talk about these past two months? I’ve allowed myself to become so busy with life that I forgot what it was like to blog. Then I was at a point where I couldn’t even figure out how to write about things.

But here I am, now. I can only go surface level on the past two months, because far too much has happened in my life, it’s unbelievable.

First and most importantly, I’ve started making friends. I am loving the people in my program here; they are diverse and challenge my beliefs and worldview. But they also show me love in such unconditional ways. Studying abroad creates such strong bonds between people, and I love it.

_MG_2279I went to Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj appeared as a surprise guest, so that was COOL I GUESS. Special shout out to my friend Sam Moreno for letting me borrow her Beyoncé shirt; it took a lot of persuading, but I really appreciate it.

FOOD is so important, and this crème brûlée was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten.

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Prague: one of my roommates from Tennessee came to visit! Mamie, Coley & I met him in Prague for my first weekend trip! We had an unbelievable time eating one of the best meals I’ve ever had (Czech food is BOMB.) and exploring an amazing new city that I knew absolutely no history of. I’m a very good tourist, if you ask me.Processed with VSCOcam with 5 presetWhile Cole was still in town my best friend eva came to visit me for 12 days! Still don’t know how it happened, but I’m so happy I was able to share my city with people from back home. We hit it all: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower (like 3 times) and so many other things. While he was here we decided we go to Sacré-Cœur to see the view at night, but stumbled upon a fireworks show!

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Processed with VSCOcam with 4 presetMamie also had a friend in town, and it was crazy how many UT students were in Paris!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAfter Carter, Cole and Emily left Paris another one of my roommates came in town! His best friend is studying in Belgium this semester, so he went there first, and then we met up for a trip to Amsterdam. The travel to Amsterdam was horrible, honestly. I missed my bus to Belgium and had to take a train to meet up with him.

Amsterdam was such an amazing city. I didn’t have nearly enough time there, but we were able to do a bike tour of the city (which was terrifying because I hate bikes), see the Anne Frank museum, and enjoy walking through the canals. The Anne Frank museum was such a surreal experience, and I’m thankful that I was able to be where she and her family and friends had been.

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Processed with VSCOcam with 5 presetOn Halloween I went out with my friend Emma and met a bunch of French people. It was one of my first times interacting for a long period of time with people who don’t speak English. It was terrifying, tiring and so rewarding to make it until 5 a.m. speaking French. And yes, I did say 5 a.m. I’m still not sure how I stayed up that late and I literally can never do it again.

Today I got back from Florence with Coley. We spent five days in Italy and it was phenomenal. We got to see Bologna and visit one of my friends from high school, as well as three days exploring Florence. It was one of my favorite vacations I’ve had in a while. Coley and I were able to get amazing quality time, we saw the most beautiful sights, and ate the most ridiculously delicious food that’s ever been made.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe had deep conversations and I’m feeling so rejuvenated from my time with Coley!

There’s just no way to put into words these past two months. I can’t believe how much has happened, but what will I do when this final month is over? It’s all too much for my small mind to comprehend. For now, though, I’m going to make the most of it.

- B

For comments & inquiries, please e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Follow my adventures on Instagram: @brycelandes

 

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Tuesday

finding my normal in paris –

Artist: Banks
Song: “And I Drove You Crazy”


In my last post I mentioned the struggles I’ve encountered since being abroad. Homesickness and culture shock come at me in waves. Pepper in a language barrier and essentially being with strangers and these past two weeks have been quite a roller coaster of emotions.

But it just hit me: I’ve actually been here two weeks.

And today as I woke up and walked to the Metro I noticed something else. The culture shock is becoming less harsh. The homesickness has ebbed. I feel more confident in my ability to communicate in France and I’m beginning to feel known by those around me.

I’m finding my normal.

I have a boulangerie near my school that I love to go to for a pastry or small sandwich before class. I have a list of cafes I want to eat at that I pass going to campus.

I feel confident on the Metro. I know the route from my apartment to Gare de Lyon as well as the quickest way to walk to CEA from the Hôtel de Ville stop.

The Metro may be may favorite part of Paris. It’s nice to ride with people, but it’s so much better alone. To find a seat, put on head phones and just lose yourself for 25 minutes as you just… ride.

School is intense, but I finally know my schedule. My routine. I know which days I have to run errands and which days I can walk and rest in Square Jean XXIII behind Notre-Dame.

 

I know the routes to different friends’ apartments, and it’s exhilarating.

It’s exciting because I feel like I can finally make this city my own. I’ve gotten over the initial obstacle of breaking into it, and now I get to discover and experience Paris.

My Paris.

Of course more mistakes will come–they always do–but I feel comfortable enough to face those.

This journey is only beginning.

- B

For comments & inquiries, please e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Follow my adventures on Instagram! @brycelandes

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Weekend

merci, jésus –

Artist: Hozier
Song: “In a Week”


We’re approaching week two of being in Paris. Far too much has happened to even attempt to share with the world. Friendships are beginning, though not as deeply as I would hope. The city feels more like home, but I still feel too lost for it to be familiar.

Classes began last week, and it was a harsh reminder that I am in fact here to learn. I was expecting easier classes because the staff would understand that students are in a new country hoping to experience new things and travel through Europe. I’d dare say that these courses will be more intensive than any semester at University of Tennessee.

One of my favorite classes is “French Civilization & Culture” in which we are comparing French and American cultures through a historical lens. During our second class we discussed what culture is, and how we relate to it as foreigners this semester.

A metaphor that my professor used is that our culture is like a skin, and when we are exposed to a new a culture that skin starts to shed. Our assimilation into that culture is the production of a new skin. We aren’t different at our core, but our behaviors and attitudes morph so that we are able to blend more effectively.

In many ways, I pride myself in my ability to blend into many different groups and situations. When I am alone walking the streets of Paris I am convinced that it is impossible to pick me out as an American. I don’t smile as I pass strangers, I dress the part (as best I can), and I speak French when I have to.

This all goes away as soon as I’m around other students. I become the stereotypically boisterous and obnoxious Americans. And I hate it. I feel torn between my desire to be apart of the community around me and ignore the culture and vice versa. 

This morning a week’s worth of emotions all came to the surface when I went to Hillsong Paris. I was meeting a few friends for a morning of worship and teaching. Desperately needed that, but I didn’t expect to be overwhelmingly affected.

Walking into a place where Parisians were welcoming everyone with smiles and laughter surprised me. It felt like I was back in America and for the first time since being in Paris I realized I was homesick. I missed the comfort of my culture and my normal.

I was unable to stop the tears that streamed down my face as I stood and hugged Coley and Mamie. Emotions related to homesickness, relationships, fears, happiness and everything else were unleashed as I stood in a courtyard amidst strangers.

My volatile emotions continued as worship began in both French and English. There is power in praising God in different languages. Especially around strangers. But all of these people were worshipping the same God of love and grace, and I couldn’t stop my tears.

My God has never left me. He will not forsake me. Despite all the changes I’ve experienced during these two weeks, He has remained constant. He has protected me, and lead me exactly where I’m supposed to be in each moment. He has given me boldness to share His hold on my life with others, and I cannot deny that even though I’m in Europe Jesus is pursuing me relentlessly and powerfully.

Merci, Jésus. Your grace and love are sufficient through these wildly exciting, new & scary times.

A bientôt,

- B

For comments & inquiries, e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Follow me on Instagram: @brycelandes

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Mamie in front of the Hôtel De Ville
Weekend

paris, days 2 & 3 –

Artist: Kimbra
Song: “Goldmine”


The past two days have been much better than my first day in Paris.

I’m not fully over my jet lag, but it’s much better than it was before. I also finally have money so I’m not crippled by an empty wallet.

Day 2: My first full day in Paris was Thursday. We had about a three hour break, so Mamie and I decided to explore some of the city. It just so happens that the Hôtel De Ville is just down the street from my school.

Then we noticed Notre-Dame just over the river.

crossing the river to see the cathedral

crossing the river to see the cathedral

I was adamant about seeing the cathedral and singing Bells of Notre Dame” and overall channeling my inner Quasimodo.

mamie bein' a mega-babe

mamie bein’ a mega-babe

in Square Jean XXIII behind the cathedral

in Square Jean XXIII behind the cathedral

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back of Notre-Dame

After exploring some of Notre-Dame, Mamie and I started walking back to our campus because we had to go on a bus tour of the city. On our way back we ran into some other CEA students (including my three roommates)! It was fun to start meeting some new people from the program.

We ended up going on a bus tour of Paris where we saw so many landmarks– the Louvre, La Sorbonne, the Opera House, Champs Elysées, l’Arc de Triomphe, etc.

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looking for the Phantom

On the tour we drove to a landing where you can easily see the Eiffel Tower and we were able to get out and take pictures.

Coley with the Eiffle Tower

Coley with the Eiffel Tower

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I’m loving all these old and new friends. It is wild that everyone comes from such a different walk of life, but we all came to Paris for a reason. I feel like I should’ve known these people for much longer than 4 days.

Day 3: On day three we were able to sleep in before going to campus for our oral placement exam. Mine wasn’t until 3:15 in the afternoon, so I had lots of time to spare. I needed to withdrawal money from an ATM, but I had to find one first. Of course I don’t know Paris yet, so I stopped in a pharmacy to ask for directions.

Every time I have a successful interaction with someone in French it’s a small victory. It’s pretty scary, but generally people are understanding and appreciate when you try.

I ended up walking back home from school with two of my roommates and three other CEA students. We stopped at a Chinese restaurant where our food was reheated with a microwave. It was the perfect meal though.

It was our first Friday in Paris, so we decided to go out as a group. People came to our apartment before and we hung out. We went through about four bottles of wine between eight of us. But when they are only 4 euros, who can complain?

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We went out by Bastille and it was such a blast to meet locals as well as other students in a more organic setting.

I was talking to my mom the other day and telling her that I’m already falling in love with this city. Being here feels so right in this moment. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be abroad.

The language is a scary barrier, but I feel my ability growing already in these three days. There’s no where I’d rather spend fall of 2014 than Paris.

Until next time,

- B

For comments & inquiries, e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Follow me on Instagram: @brycelandes

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Wednesday

paris, day 1 –

Artist: Ariana Grande
Song: “Intro”


Today may have been my longest day.

After leaving the Detroit Airport last night around 9:45 p.m., I finally arrived in Paris at 11:45 a.m. I had the delight of taking a taxi from Charles De Gaulle to the CEA center downtown Paris. However, I accidentally went with a private limousine service which cost five euros per kilometer.

That was just my first mistake of the day. Thankfully I was able to return back to the airport and take a regular, economic taxi to my school. Instead of costing 150 euros it only cost 45.

I was able to check into my school, and get some information about my apartment location and the orientation schedule.

From the CEA center I walked to my first orientation session.  I walked into the room and surprised my two bests, Mamie and Coley with my arrival! I loved seeing their faces of complete shock and excitement. Made the whole trip worth it!

After orientation I went back to my apartment for the first time. It is so spacious! I live with three other guys from all around America. One is from Atlanta, and the other two are from California; I am loving this diversity. One of my roommates is Taiwanese and he made our whole flat kimchi ramen with egg.

After dinner I walked about 20 minutes to Mamie’s apartment, which is in the 11th arrondisement. Mamie and Coley told me that they had a surprise for me. We boarded the metro, and I wasn’t allowed to know where we were going.

When we finally got to our exit we walked about a hundred feet and turned down a staircase, and there it was. The Eiffel Tower. I almost collapsed at the sight of it. I’m a dramatic person, but that is not an exaggeration; I couldn’t believe I was seeing such a famous landscape with my own two eyes.

Coley and Mamie told me that we would be having a picnic with red wine, chocolate, bread and berries in the park beside the tower. WHAT?

me + my coley

me + my coley

It was just the happiest time. I’m so thankful to be in this city with these two girls. They are such a comfort to have here in such a scary city.

Today’s scariest story occurred on the metro back to Mamie’s apartment. After buying my single ticket for a ride from the Eiffel Tower to Mamie’s apartment, I threw my ticket into the trash. While Mamie and I were sitting on the train (and I was resisting the urge to pee my pants), metro workers came along to check tickets. Since I threw mine away I was fined 50 EUROS and asked to leave the train!

It was absolutely crazy, and I was frustrated and exhausted and confused and ready to be in bed. But through out the whole situation I was reminded that I’m not called to control or even understand every situation. I just have to trust God and remember that He is in control.

It has been a long day. After too long of a walk I’m finally back in my apartment. I have completed my first day in Paris. It wasn’t easy, but it was an absolute blast. I was put in situations where I had to use my French, and I am so thankful for this day.

- B

For comments & inquiries, please e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Follow me on Instagram for Paris updates: @brycelandes!

 

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Monday

minor setback –

Artist: Betty Who
Song: “High Society”


Today is August 24th, 6:25 p.m. central time. I’m currently sitting in a hospital bed in Centennial Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Center.

My two best friends boarded the plane to Paris two short hours ago, and are starting semester-long, life-changing adventure. Up until yesterday morning I thought I would be on that flight with them, but all that changed yesterday morning.

I guess I should back up, and explain what happened for me to end up in a hospital for the past 36 hours.

On Wednesday afternoon, I started to get body aches, and I developed an intense fever–the type where you’re skin is on fire, but you’ve never been so cold in your life. Four days before I was supposed to leave. Perfect timing, right?

The next day, my throat became sore on top of my aches and fever. The process of packing was impossible because I would break out in a sweat at the slightest movement.

On Friday morning my mom had me go to our doctor to see if I had strep throat or just a cold. It turned out I had a virus of some sort, so we thought I just needed to let it run its course. Later that afternoon I started experiencing intense and focused chest pain. It was hard to tell if it was related to my esophagus, my heart, or my chest. It ended up going away, and I was able to see friends for the last times during a going away party. As soon as I got home the pain returned. I thought it was some form of indigestion from eating Mexican food earlier that day. 

I took Tylenol, deciding that if the pain returned in the morning something would have to be done about it. I woke up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, and my chest was still hurting. I was able to fall back asleep, but the pain woke me up earlier than I would’ve liked.

Thankfully my mom, who’s a nurse, was awake. I shared my symptoms with her and we decided to go to the emergency room just to make sure nothing was wrong.

The next hour was a complete blur.

We were the only people in the emergency room, and were immediately admitted. The nurse started hooking me up for an EKG to measure my heart’s rhythm. The test showed some irregularities akin to some sort of blockage.

In short, the word “heart attack” was thrown into the mix. My number from the troponin test (which measures the number of enzymes in a person’s blood stream related to heart failure) was around that of a minor heart attack.

I was transported to a lab where a doctor inserted a catheter into my leg artery to check better on the health of my heart. Thankfully he found that my arteries were in good health, but the troponin test still showed damage to my heart.

My cardiologist explained that I had suffered from stress cardiomyopathy, which is inflammation of the heart tissue due to a physical/emotional stress or a virus. Since I had both of those from my illness and my preparations for Paris, my body reacted with an inflamed heart.

While I was in the emergency room for the first time, my mom stopped the nurses at one point and told them I was supposed to be flying to Paris this morning. Every one of them confirmed my biggest fear: I would be unable to fly to Paris in the morning.

Naturally I burst into tears of confusion and despair. I didn’t and still don’t understand God’s timing for my heart to become sick. This weekend has been an exercise in trusting Him.

In my last post I wrote about the title of my blog. How fitting that there is a setback like this that forces me to to  fully trust and rely on God’s perfect plan. We had to cancel my flight for this morning, obviously. The airline refunded us the money from our ticket, but we haven’t been able to get in contact with the study abroad office to see if they will be ok with me arriving to France late.

All I can do is wait and trust. God always provides, and His plan is perfect. This situation is no different–it just may be harder to understand His plan.

Update: Last night I had another intense episode of chest pain, focused on my left ventricle, which is where the inflammation is most severe. Thankfully today I had no pain! I was able to move from the CCU to a regular room! 

My numbers are down, and tomorrow morning I am scheduled to have a cardiac MRI to see if there are any other problems with my heart. The cardiologist said that if there weren’t I would probably be able to go home tomorrow night!

Even in the midst of a hard and confusing time, God is good!

- B

For comments or inquiries, please e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Follow me on Instagram: @brycelandes

 

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Wednesday

an atlantic calling –

Artist: alt-j
Song: “Hunger of the Pines”


August is here. For the past month I have pushed this blog to the very back of my brain. With work and an intensive summer course, I convinced myself that investing my time in “an atlantic calling” would be too exhausting.

I’ve missed writing, sharing my passions, and growing through this medium.

As I said, August is here. It’s actually here. The month that I have been anticipating for so long crept up on me. The month that I’ve been thinking about with euphoria and dread.

August. August 24th to be exact– the day I fly from America Paris for four entire months. I begin an unbelievable adventure in 18 days; I can’t wait.

I hope to see a plethora of countries while abroad, but I can’t be sure of where all I will go. I do know that it’s important for me to continue blogging while abroad. I will experience too much not to share.

Before I leave, it’s important that I establish a foundation for this semester. In order to do that, I want to share the meaning behind the name of this blog. I realize I should have done that ages ago, when I first started writing, but now seems like the perfect time.

an atlantic calling –

There are two distinct meanings for my blog’s title, and I’d love to share both with you.

The first is a quite literal meaning. In life I feel inescapably drawn to the Atlantic Ocean. In America I love the east coast “cool” associated with the Atlantic. With metropolises like New York City and Washington DC, and beautiful states like Maine, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia, I’ve always wanted to move east.

But the Atlantic also touches Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and countless other African countries. Although Paris isn’t on the coast of the ocean, merely flying to Europe feels like an answer to my atlantic calling.

I believe this semester abroad will temporarily quench my thirst to be near the ocean, but in the long term I hope to live closer to/on the Atlantic.

The second meaning is more spiritual and references the ever-popular Hillsong United hit “Oceans.”

Before I explain, I want to share the lyrics because they are worth a read:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

The imagery of an ocean being life struck me when I first heard it. Like an ocean, life can be calm or tumultuous, exhausting yet rewarding, and bigger than it seems.

Despite all of this, God is in control of our lives 100%. Through everything, He asks us to trust His will and follow His voice. It’s easy for me to become overwhelmed by life– whether it’s school, relationships, work or a combination of them all I tend to focus on those rather than God’s voice.

An atlantic calling is a reminder for myself, and hopefully for others, to fully trust the Lord who leads me so perfectly. However life happens, I trust Him. I can only trust.

As I prepare to leave for four months I must remember this truth. It is imperative. These four months will be scary and difficult and beautiful and exciting. Through it all, my God is my leader.

I can’t wait to begin the journey with you.

- B

For comments & inquiries, please e-mail me at brycelbeyer@gmail.com

Also: Follow me on Instagram at @brycelandes!

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