EXCLUSIVE! Star reporter Lois Lane sits down with the debased Evelien Delgouffe: “My book is good… to light my coffin”

Whatever happened to that talented girl that blew us all away in 2016 by traveling the world in search of that little thing called happiness. From Toronto to Tokio people could follow her every step on her widely acclaimed blog ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless.com’ with weekly posts, updates and harvested wisdom. But after she moved to Berlin, things got quiet around Evelien Delgouffe. And now, my esteemed colleague seems to have completely disappeared from the radar.

Friday 25th of May, a true story written by Lois Lane.
Text by: Lois Lane
Written by: Lois Lane
In case you forgot who wrote this text: Lois Lane 

LOIS CLARK THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN

A tragic life story, is what people call it. Evelien’s lasts words on her blog date from November 2017 with that subversive, 5000 words too long read about Star Wars. Already then people whispered that Evelien was spiraling down to ‘coo coo ville’, potentially even leaning over to the dark side.

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One of her lasts pictures in Berlin. Clearly spiraling out of control.

Her peers in Asse, where she was born, haven’t heard from her. And also her parents have no clue where their daughter is. “That’s Evelien, she always disappears when she’s fed up with things.”

Does she still live in Berlin? Is she currently battling a heroin addiction? Did she suffer a small heart attack on her bike in Ibiza like that other promising Berlinoise Nico?

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After months of research I -Lois Lane- suddenly found a trace that had lead me from Asse (Belgium) to Gatineau (Canada) over Tooperang (Australia) and eventually Germany. Evelien is still alive. And yes, she is still living in Berlin. But it’s not where she was last seen. The upscale neighborhood where she first moved to has been replaced by one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city… Evelien Delgouffe currently lives in a crack house in Neukölln which she shares with a handful of trippy drag queens, one one-legged pirate, the songwriter of ’99 Luftballons’ and other creatures from the underground. And I don’t mean the Velvet Underground. There’s something rotten in Berlin and it’s much worse than the pop art bananas of Andy Warhol…

(FYI: I, Lois Lane, am still top banana) 

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On a Tuesday afternoon I meet Evelien in her humble abode. It took me a while to convince her to do this interview, but then she said she would do anything for a quick look at her Instagram account, since that was her favorite pastime before she hit rock bottom.

“I’ve lost 12 followers”, she grunts. “I thought I had become a legend by now… But I guess I am officially a hasbeen…”

Lois: “Could you tell us what has happened to you, Evelien?”

Evelien: “What difference does it make…”

Lois: “People want to know if you’re alright and if they can help.”

Evelien: “People huh? People can fuck right off. I’m done with people.”

She removes some pieces of cardboard from the floor to dig up a rusty tin box and opens it. As far as my knowledge goes, there seems to be something inside that looks like a crack pipe… Or possibly a shriveled baby carrot… She takes out a ready-rolled cigarette and a package of matches and places the cigarette in the left corner of her mouth. She grabs a piece of paper and lights it with a match. The paper bursts into flames, which she then uses to light her cigarette. After one second all that’s left of the piece of paper is chunks of dark grey ashes on the floor.

Later I, Lois Lane, would learn she used a page of her own book to light that cigarette.

Evelien: “I also re-use the pages sometimes to make LSD. Or whenever I’m out of toilet paper. Or when I want to cut (…)”

“You see that guy over there with the needle in his arm? That’s Yuri… He composed ’99 Luftballons’ in the late eighties on those little kids’ pianos. He was only 4 years old at that time.”

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“He thought it would become his golden ticket to showbusiness, but he never got any acclaim for it. He ended on the street. Broke and creatively sodomized. He can’t stand the song ever since and goes crazy every time he hears it.”

Lois: “Maybe we shouldn’t mention it too loud then…”

Evelien: “Don’t worry, he has ripped out his ear canal 20 years ago…”

Lois: (Gulp)

Evelien: “You’re wasting your time here Miss Lane. I’m sure there’s better stories to stick your perky nose into.”

Lois: “I am not the only one who wonders how a talented young woman like you has ended up in a crack house like this. You were a promising writer. Remember your birthday last year? You were so proud to have finished your very first book. Your debut as an author.”

Evelien: “My book… My book is good to light cigarettes… and one day my coffin.”

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Lois: “But why?” 

Evelien: “It’s not the city Lois, it’s life. Life swallows you up. You learn from your mistakes only to make them over and over again. I don’t have time to sit down with you and smell your expensive perfume. I was once like you. Always dressed to the nines, as if I came straight from the hairdresser every day. But I have quit that life a long time ago Lois. Never will I be remembered for my immaculate beauty. Forever will I be remembered for my failure and my rotting body and brain. Now get out of here and never come back.”

When I walked out of the room, Evelien called my name. I turned around and she said:

Evelien: “Lois, you have always been a better reporter than me. Please take my place. You have my blessing.”

And that’s the last I, and thus the rest of the world, heard of Evelien Delgouffe.

In case you forgot: My name is Lois Lane. The only real reporter out there. 

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Me: “That TRAMP!”

That Lois Lane is out to ruin me! Ever since I started out as a journalist in 2011 she has been trying to sabotage my career. First by sleeping with Superman and now by creating fake stories. This is nothing more than a disgusting smear campaign!

I call together a press conference!

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To my dear readers, followers, friends and family: I know I have been absent from this blog but that’s only because I have been very busy being REALLY REALLY HAPPY.

  • I am not living in a crack house with the author of ’99 Luftballons’,
  • I am not lighting cigarettes with pages of my book. (Although I did think about it once…),
  • I am still very much working as a freelance journalist/copywriter so if you want the best content, it is still ME you should contract and not that shade throwing palmtree of a Lois Lane. She’s just bitter because she got fired from ‘The Daily Planet’ after they found out she was earning money on the side as a stripper.

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This is why I declare ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless’ officially as re-opened for business. I will not promise I will blog every week like I used to, but expect more frequent updates from my side with fresh memes, gifs, puns and adventures!

Auf wienerschnitzel boys and gurls!

Stay tuned for more jaw dropping, straw missing, air sipping content to come!

XO

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A Big Blönde & Clueless Blessed Berlin Birthday Bash Baby! And something with a Book …

Yesterday was my BIRTHDAY Blonde & Clueless’ers!

I had a great time waking up early, bumping my toe against the chair, stumbling over the wire of my hair straightener almost landing my face against the door.  #Blöd&Clueless

You: “So Evvy, did you get a lot of prezzies?”

Me: “Ahm no, we’re not in Bavaria…”

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You: “I mean presents…”

Nope.

But that’s not what birthdays are about once you turn 29. It’s about enjoying the company of your loved ones, friends, having a little wine, …

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What rhymes with 29? A big ass glass o’ wine! 

But I am very excited about one present I got.

And it happens to be the present I gave to myself…

Yesterday morning I went to the print shop around the corner to print….

MY VERY OWN BOOK!

That’s right. I have written a book. My debut as an author. And probably the only one I will write since it’s my poor little life story until now.

Well partly…

Well 90%…

Or at least 40%.

I should reconsider my PR before I make this official. Some parts are rather… shocking.

Anyway back to my memoires. Knowing me a little you probably assume it’s chick lit right? NOPE! No ‘Sex And The City’ or ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’. I wish I had the brain to write such bestsellers. I would be filthy rich.

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My story turned out a little bit more complex and therefor I will never earn big ass $$$$

“No no no, positive thoughts Evvy!” What you reflect to the mirrors of the Universe, you will get back tenfold!

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So I am happy to tell you it’s THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN! Move over J.K. Rowling. I’m taking over your throne with a BANG!

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You: “So Evvy, what’s it about exact-ly?”

Well, it’s a feminist manifesto, disguised as a tragic love story.
(Oh right that reminds me: #metoo )

It’s a ball of wisdom disguised as a naïve narrative. 

It’s a BESTSELLER disguised as a BOOK! 

Ok, that last thing was maybe a little exaggerated. But I am pretty sure I have written the new Bible. This is some Ultra New Testament shit fo sho.

You: “Has it got anything to do with the blog?”

OMG yes! How did you know? I am so proud of you You-San! I taught you well. Yes, that is exactly right. The story I have told on this blog, referring to the Australia-China-Japan-France-Canada-Berlin bit, is basically the chronology. So it is very much about traveling for wisdom and a lot of references to spiritual and paragnostic pickings, the Universe, religion, philosophy, etc. But it is also a touching love story of which you don’t know the depths because I never mentioned that on the blog. Truth revealed: The blog isn’t even half the story.

Anyway, I think it’s super cool, I am very happy with it unregarded of what will happen to it now. My options being:

  • publishing it
  • handing it out for free
  • burning it
  • passing it on to my (grand)kids… Or cats
  • keeping it under my mattress…
  • … more suggestions welcome!

I want to thank my awesome friends and roommates here in Berlin for speeding up the process. My main goal to come to Berlin was to write this book. I needed to remove myself from my comfort zone and close myself off somewhere else. As in a creative bubble or fever cabin to sweat this story out. I gave myself until the end of the year to write it but I started 18th of August and finished 18th of October. Right in time for my birthday.

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My new room worked it’s magic on me. Ever since I left Prenzlauer Berg and moved to Wedding the writing process shifted into a higher gear. I want to thank Amos for letting me stay in his room and leaving his creative AMOSPHERE! Also for wishing me good luck on the writing while he was away. By the way, check out his record label Index:records he’s a real mean music maestro.

And of course my in house roomie Addison who will become world’s most famous music producer one day. You can check out his COSMIC COMPOSITIONS on Facebook, Instagram, the whole shebang. And give the pages a like when you’re there alright? Very creative house here!

I am sad I will be leaving this place tomorrow but luckily I already have a new room to move to and thus the story continues!

Well the story of my life, that is. The book is already printed and I don’t want to make any more adjustments 🙂

So for  now I say good bye. Until next time. Let me know if you would like to read my book. Any suggestions on what I should do with it next are very welcome.

By the way spanks a lot for the mad birthday wishes y’all! ❤ 

Tschüssie! 

pretzel

XO

 

Pretty darn lovable

You: “Hi Ev, you still around? Helllooooo? (echo – echo – echo)”

Me: “Yup. Rrrright here.”

wine

You: “What’s up?”

Me: “That depends. The old me would have said: ‘Yo dude, everything great. Work is gooood. Life is goooood. Errythang’s gooood.’ But lately I cannot lie to save my life. When people come up to me and ask me what’s up, they get TMI.”

You: “Transmitted Mind Illness???”

Me: “Err.. no, ‘Too Much Information’…”

I don’t know how it happened, or when, but lately I’ve been giving people the hard truth and nothing but the truth. It’s like word vomit, I cannot help it. Once I get started I can’t stop puking all the toxins out.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been experiencing rather extreme ups and extreme lows. And yes. It’s got everything to do with ….

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ROMANCE. 

I’ve been feeling down, bitter, … down, did I mention bitter? Also hurt. Ahm… (what else do I feel…) Hungry. Naah I’m always hungry…. ANYWAY: I don’t feel too good.

And usually when I don’t feel too good. I turn to a dear friend. A psychologist, who has helped me through many tough moments, who has stood by me on all my travels, I am talking about: MY BLOG ❤

You: “Then why-hy has it been so long since we’ve heard from you Ev? Why didn’t you turn to us sooner?”

Me: “Aha! I had a new blog post ready but I had to postpone it because it kind of involves a ‘go’ from the bank. So you can expect this one very soon I hope.”

Anyway. All this waiting kind of got in the way of necessary sharing sessions and that’s why I reach out to you today.

Okay, so romance.

I kind of got romantically involved with someone. As in ‘past tense’. It’s over now. Finito. Schluss.

The way it came to an end, however, was rather painful.

Usually when I’m devastated about someone, I feel weak and sad. But now… well…

diealone

Let me just start from the beginning…

I’ve known this guy for almost a year now. And it wasn’t until the beginning of this year -when I returned from Canada- I started to notice him differently. Actually he had been on my mind in Canada too, which was kind of weird cuz I never really noticed him like that before. When I first met him I thought he was…well…

amook

But that’s the thing with girls: we’re capable of changing our minds. If we don’t like a dress at first sight, we will find a way to make it work. Pair it up with some nice bracelets, some cute sandals, … If a guy sees a shirt he doesn’t like, he will never bother to see the potential.

I knew he fancied me, so all of a sudden we fancied each other AND I thought I had the cat in the bag but the moment I reached out -guess what?- he lost his interest.

You: “Whuuuuut?”

Me: “Suddenly he was all emotionally unavailable and not ready to be in a relationship and yadda yadda yadda.” #commitmentissues #bigbaby

Now, for a Libra I’m pretty stubborn. Unfortunately I don’t take no for an answer. And that’s where I went wrong. I sort of made myself believe I could be with this guy without being emotionally involved… Basically we became FWB.

You: “Friendly Whale Brothers?”

Me: “No you idio… FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS!”

Youlovedeclaration

Me: “I know, it was the worst idea ever. I am waaaaay to emotionally wired to do something like this but you never know until you try right?….Am I right…?…?”

wrongidea

Soooo to make a long story short: we had fun, the sex was ah-mazing, then I got ‘relationship muscle memory’, he spasmed out and I zoned out after he gave me quite a big uppercut when saying he will never love me and I will never have to expect a love declaration from him.

And that was that.

hermione sarcasm

We both messed up. And ever since … I’m left with an emotional hangover.

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And that’s how I decided to reach out to you today and share my story. But most imporantly:

SPELL SOME SHIT OUT FOR THE NEXT ONE IN LINE

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I’m going to put some things out there for the next guy who crosses my path or even thinks about sweeping me off my feet. This is not a manual. It’s a MAN-UP-ALL.

Why you probably can’t handle me but why you definitely should try: 

– I’m a handful
Also literally. I have curves. I am a woman and I expect to be treated that way. With respect. I’m not a shallow girl you can boss around or control. If we’re going to be in a relationship, we will treat each other as equals. I’m not the boss of you, you’re not the boss of me. (Unless it’s part of some sexual fantasy)

– I’m probably less crazy than you think
Guys tell each other horror stories about girls they date who turn out to be complete mental cases. Occasionally I hear about those too. And I can assure you: I am nowhere near that type of girl. Yes I have traumas and I carry emotional baggage and yes I can get a little goofy at times, but I’m not CRAAY-ZAAY.

thanksbrain

– Who said I want to get married and have yo babies?
You all have this evil friend who makes you nervous by saying all the wrong things, like: “Watch out with her, she’s pushing 30 she probably wants kids soon and wants to get married. Run while you still can!”
=> Dump that friend, he’s a douche.
=> I’m nowhere near ready to have kids. And I’m too cheap to get married. Let’s just take the money and invest it in a teepee in Portugal!

I am socially capable of getting along with your friends, parents and pets (I will not raise your kids tho)
Guys who have kids from previous relationships = > sorry, see previous bullet point

– I am funny and witty and smart
(But can be boring, tired and insecure too)

– I am not here to CHANGE you…
Fo fuck sake, why do guys always think girls want to change them? Or the way they live their lives? The only thing we ask is to integrate us in your current life. And relax, you don’t have to introduce us to your parents and family right away. Also don’t feel the need you got to be someone completely different. Or think you have to turn your schedule around and can’t hang out with your friends anymore. Just continue your life, let us live ours, but give us a call every two days => There is no Siamese twinship. I have a life and priorities too you know!

– …But do keep in mind I can change my mind too
After a short period of being in a relationship, I could lose interest in you. Relationships aren’t an exact science. Girls usually are quicker to start a relationship because they are willing to take the jump and try. Guys fear a relationship means ‘staying together until they die’. #WRONG! What’s wrong with taking it day by day? I’m not here to chain you. (Again: unless it’s part of some sexual fantasy).

– Get bent 
If you’re taking it up the butt. I’m taking it up the butt.

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In other words: once we’re in a relationship you will have the sole proprietorship and thus advantage of unlimited sex with me! * What a lucky SOB (son of a bitch) you would be!
(* After a dry period of 9 months or after marriage, that is. I’m catholic. And a virgin. That’s right, I reclaimed my virginity and I got the certificate to prove it)

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– Man up and take a chance on love, it could be the one thing you’re missing the most
For this final one I am going to quote a 73 year old customer from the bar who has been married for 47 years:

“You don’t have to look for the complete package with one person. A good marriage combined with good friends is all you need to live happily ever after.”

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Any questions or objections? You know where I live.

XO

PS: WHOOF I FEEL MUCHO BETTER ALREADY! THANKS FOR THE FREE PSYCH SESSION!

My ride. My fight. My life

In my last blog post I dropped the bomb on you by coming out of the closet with my resignation.

(Flashback)

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I’ve been getting some mixed reactions on that decision, but that’s okay. I still stand behind my choice. I haven’t been happier really. I have found the perfect balance between Work, Well-being and Writing. Something a lot of my colleagues are struggling with nowadays. I recognize that struggle and am happy I found my own way of balancing it out rationally.

Because, let’s be honest, I’m not going to make a decision like that and not have some kind of plan or idea of what’s next.

pla

But first things first.

At the end of 2016 I came up with a little challenge for myself.

I just got back from months of traveling and I wanted to sink my teeth in a new adventure. With the money I saved up from working at the bar I bought my first ever race bike and I decided to participate in amateur road races.

I have been hanging around in cycling environments since 2014. And riding a bike myself, has always triggered me since then.

With the help of Golazo, Energy lab and all the good advice I could collect from friend-cyclists, cycling journos and family members I kicked off.

Once I started training I realized there would be a long way ahead for me to actually participate in amateur competitions.

So I decided to participate in bigger road races first. Since they’re more focused on the experience and endurance. And less on rankings.

My training started in November, a little later than planned since I was still struggling with moving out of my apartment and stabilizing here in Antwerp after being on the road for so long.

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My first indoor mileage.

Then in December, I got the chance to go to Canada for three weeks and my schedule got postponed again.

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Neglecting my diet.

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Smoking the Christmas tree…

I was back in the saddle by January 10th. Combining trainings with working at the car show in Brussels for 10 days straight. It was a grueling attack on my limbs,

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but I had to get started since I was supposed to ride a big cycling event and I had less than 3 months to get ready.

There were times I panicked. Hyperventilated. There were times I lost faith. But at least three times a week, I was on my bike. Before shifts I rode 1 – 2 hours. And on Sundays I did long runs from 3 – 5 hours.

The big problem was, since I had never rode a racing bike before, I was scared to go outside in winter. I was scared to fall and get injured. So most of the time I was training indoors. On rollers…

Even though you build up a decent condition and muscle strength, it doesn’t help you to get balance and core stability on the road.

I knew I had to go outside asap. But I was fucking terrified of my clip-less pedals.

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I use a three-bolt clip-in system aka “the deathheads”.

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These things could proper kill you.

Apparently everyone is a little scared of them at first. It involves a little bit of a learning curve.

Of course I realized that a little too late….

Without testing them thoroughly, I immediately went for a first ride on a sunny afternoon.

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Clipped-in selfie taking. This is living on the edge!

I was riding for about 20 minutes when I had to make a stop at a busy crossroad. With the traffic lights being on red, I had made an excellent stop. I had put my left foot down, with my right foot still clipped in. As I was standing there for five minutes, waiting to lift off again, I realized there would be no way of crossing this busy road without pressing the pedestrian button. This button, however, was on the other side of the pillar. So I slowly maneuvered my way to it. While I was doing this, I started to lose my balance, tried to counter this by using my right foot, forgetting I was still clipped in and BAM!

There I was horizontally at the side of the road with my bike still attached to my feet while cars were racing by. I got back up and got away with some light bruising. I figured it was best to have that inevitable fall out of the way in order to improve myself on the road.

I continued my ride and didn’t fall after.

I figured I was ready for the next step.

I still regret the day I thought this….

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So blonde & clueless…

Next Sunday, I called up my parents to go explore some bits of the road race I was about to attend in a couple of weeks. I hand picked out some of the heaviest climbs. Since I figured I had to know them in order to ride them. We went to the ‘Muur’ or ‘Wall’ of Geraardsbergen. A steep street paved with cobblestones, climbed every year by cyclists during the Tour of Flanders.

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The Muur is about 1K long. I started off great. I was cycling up and up and up. With every turn the road got steeper and steeper. At one point it felt as if all the power was flowing out of my legs. And they just turned into stone. I panicked, because I realized I was stuck to my bike and getting out of clip-less pedals on a steep climb would be total suicide. At least for a beginner like me.

I got out with one shoe but my weight fell on the other side, wanting to find support on my right foot but that one was still clipped in.

I smacked onto the cobbles like a bag of Belgian potatoes. The horizontal cyclist, I am.

I got back up again and fell over again! Getting back in the saddle on a steep climb with clip-less pedals is total suicide number 2. At least for a beginner like me…

I was starting to think this training ride was a bad idea.

A+ for guts. D- for cleverness.

But I didn’t come here to just quit. So I rode back. To the bottom of the Wall. And tried again. On my way down I fell again. Trust me, falling over and over again really weighs on your mental state of being. I was feeling pissed off and I was starting to feel really scared and insecure of my riding skills. Also: I was trashing my bike like crazy. My steering wheel was already crooked.

As I tried again I climbed and climbed and climbed and at the point where I fell over before, I anticipated and tried to get out of my pedals faster. I figured that would be a good exercise. But same thing happened. The fall was even more spectacular this time. I didn’t even feel like getting back on my bike again. I was so displeased, I walked my way down on my stupid clown shoes and called it a day.

My parents were there waiting for me and were worried about me participating after what they had just witnessed. Since this day was a measure for nothing, we figured we might get something out of it while enjoying some traditional ‘mattentaarten‘.

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A sweet pastry, made with matten paste or cheese curd. Something Geraardsbergen is very famous for. Something that could compensate this total waste of energy.

mattentaart

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The disappointment is real.

On my way back home I felt like shit.

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What was I thinking? You can’t tame a mustang just like that.

Did Jake just randomly jump on his Ikran and fly away? Don’t think so.

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I have to make the bond (starting 00:30sec) if I want to live and tell my grandkids.

First I need to gain confidence on my bike, being outdoors. Only then I can try on the climbs clipped-in. Starting with the little hills. Then the big monuments.

I need to fucking learn how to walk before I can run.

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Then it dawned on me. One year ago I was riding bikes in Australia and China. On the left side of the road with kangaroos crossing, through busy Chinese streets with no traffic rules whatsoever. Was I scared then? No way. Why? Because I was wearing sneakers.

If this is the only thing weighing me down for this challenge, then why should I risk hurting myself, my bike or other people participating? If I’m not confident on my bike, because of those clip-ins then this race would be total mayhem for me and everyone involved. I couldn’t take that chance. I much rather have my full confidence and lose all the pulling advantage clip-less pedals offer. My strength is in my legs and mind anyway.

After feeling bad for a day or two, I regained confidence. I had no other choice. I had decided to ride an other road race the week before my big challenge. I figured it would be a good final rehearsal. The ride would be 90 K. But the furthest milage outside (the hundreds and hundreds of kilometers on my rollers not included) was 25 K!

So the day before the race I went to Linkeroever to warm up.

And did a 50 K ride in a little over 2 hours.

Turned out it was a good preparation because the next day I managed to complete the 90 K in Gent-Wevelgem. The final 40 K I had to face tough wind which really pulled down my average speed. But another participant warned me in advance and advised me to spread my strength.

Type Gerrit from Bavikhove .

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“Make sure to save your strength. The final 40 K there’s heavy wind.”

Roger that! My team mates from Cyclokorsakov were already putting the muscle in the mustard from minute one. But after 17 minutes I detached from my group and rode solo for the rest of the race. Also facing the wind solo. My neck and shoulders were cramping up so bad from battling Mother Nature. The final 10 K were killing me. I was hoping to find a fat arse to tug myself behind. But Gerrit was nowhere to be seen.

One minute out of wind can make a world of difference for your recovery.

That and many other things I learned from that first official ride.

  • Don’t grab your drinking bottle during descents, for example.
  • Nor on cobble stones.
  • Also don’t bite your tongue on cobbles or you’ll bite it right off.
  • Always warn if there’s a car coming. And make flight attendant gestures with your hands to make other points across.
  • Make sure you drink enough to avoid muscle cramps. I made sure I had a sip every 15 minutes. I had one water bottle with me and one bottle filled with some hydrate mix to provide me with the necessary salts and minerals during my workout.

At provision there’s also a chance to refill your water bottle. And at Gent-Wevelgem there were big tanks with green stuff to keep you energized too. It looked as if the Ghostbusters had put Slimer in different containers. It smelled like the eighties too.

After 4 hours and 30 minutes in the saddle I reached the finish and it felt as if the weight of the world fell of my shoulders. I was extremely pleased with my result and felt ready for my big challenge the week after.

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I knew I would have to dose my efforts in the week to come, though. Especially since I had to work and stand on my legs all day.

On Wednesday I went for a nice and easy 30 K ride.

And on Friday I did a quick recovery ride of only 45 minutes.

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On my rollers. For old time’s sake…

I was almost ready for my big adventure. Almost. I just needed to loosen up the muscles and fill my energy tank with some healthy greens.

Luckily there was a fresh juice shop right at the end of the street where the massage place is.

=> Antwerp Thai Massage, Museumstraat 8, 2000 Antwerp
=> Fruxino, Museumstraat 1, 2000 Antwerp 

I had one more day at the bar …

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And then it was off to bed! I had set my alarm clock at 5 am. I wanted to be at the start at 7 and it is advisory to eat at least 2 hours before commencing a training or a race. 5 minutes before the start I like to eat an energy bar to keep me energized until the first provision. Usually two hours in.

I had 1 cup of coffee an two shots of espresso to give me that extra energy boost. The good thing about coffee is that it makes you hyper. The bad thing is that it makes you have to pee faster. And with bib shorts, that’s not an easy thing to do. For evident reasons…

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APRIL 1st, D DAY 

I felt like a clueless soldier rowing a boat to Normandy, signing up for a suicide job.

Due to some delay on the way, some administration and a pee break at the start, I left at 8 instead of 7am. It was raining, a little bit cold, and the sky was 50 shades of grey.

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The first 30 K were psychological warfare. My goal was still a long way ahead of me and I wasn’t feeling confident I would make it. I wasn’t impressed with my legs, I was losing precious time on the climbs and the cobbles, and I realized I would be in the saddle for at least 6-8 hours. I was trying to pep talk myself into it but I missed the clue on why I was doing this.

#clueless.

At 30 K we had our first provision and there I made the click.

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At provision you can find all kinds of food displayed for you. It’s easy to overindulge. I am still experiencing which foods benefit me and which don’t, but I find gingerbread to be easy digestible and quite enjoyable too. So at the first provision I had a slice of gingerbread and a cereal bar and a sip of orange energy drink.

At 77 K we had another provision right before the Koppenberg. There, I figured I would be in need of plenty of fast sugars so I ate a slice of gingerbread, a sugar waffle and a slice of banana. I also stretched for 2 minutes since I was experiencing some mild strain in my lower back.

The sugar sure did it’s job (not on the Koppenberg, since there were too many people and everybody had to walk up) but in my fifth hour I conquered 3 climbs in a row. I was impressed. It felt as if I had pressed a hidden power button.

During my final provision at 100 K I had a light meal consisting of 1 banana and 1 orange.

I was carrying a Powerbar which would come in handy in my final hour.

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I can’t stress the importance to stay hydrated enough. You lose a lot of water during an intense workout and your muscles need this to recover. I tried to drink a sip of water with some added minerals each 15-20 minutes. As a result I stayed surprisingly fresh. Even after six hours I still wasn’t tired of riding.

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Especially since I saw some riders at the side of the road bending over, rubbing their legs, pointing at their bikes, being too stiff to pick them up. I also saw a lot of riders being carried away by ambulances with broken bones. Also on the climbs riders fell over due to their clip-less pedals.

I knew the 141 K was in reach. The finish line was pulling me in like a lasso. The last 10 K, right after the impossible Paterberg, I was racing to the finish line at 30 K/hour. I felt so energized, I just had to give my all and ride myself empty until the very end.

I was living in my head the entire time. I was seeing flashbacks of my life. Of this past year. How, EXACTLY one year ago, I was riding a bike in Beijing.

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And how, today, I was riding my own race bike during Flanders’ most beautiful road race. Over paved cobble stones where Gilbert, Van Avermaet, Boonen and Sagan would suffer (and even fall) the next day.

I was amazed about how my life keeps taking unexpected, but exciting turns. And how much it energizes me.

I couldn’t be happier with where I am today.

From the chain smoking journo I used to be. To the independent world explorer I became. And the Sporty Spice I am now. What a rollercoaster ride it has been.

And it felt great I was doing all this on my NIKES.

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These sneakers have led me over mountain tops in Australia, through rough roads in Tasmania and through intense Kung Fu training in China. The CHI is in these shoes. And that April 1st, the CHI was with me. Shifu Gao, my Kung Fu friends (Celine, Audrey and many more), Tasmanian Cannibal Helmut, Sammy and all my other Tooperang farm friends, Goedele and Nairn, my gorgeous girl Steph … all of them were there to encourage me and push me over that finish line.

I was pleased with the symbolism. It made the circle complete. It almost brought me to tears.

All because of a pair of iconic sneakers.

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First never follows. I like doing things my way. Make my own rules. Blonde/Clueless-style. I’m stubborn like cobbles.

Mac Miller

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I know there’s a lot of undiscovered potential inside of me. Inside all of us.

And I am going to explore this to the (Air) max.

On and off the bike. Who knows what other things I am capable of. It feels rewarding to discover myself in new ways. And I couldn’t be more proud of where I am today.

Once I reached the finish I was so pleased with my rodeo, I just wanted to fall into my parents’ arms and hug them. Too bad they were nowhere to be seen. I found them 45 minutes later napping in the car 5 K from the finish… emoji

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They made it up to me by taking me out for dinner immediately. I needed to refuel and it’s best to do this somewhere between 1 and 120 minutes after your workout.

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Taking this to bed.

The next day I enjoyed washing my bike and watching the Tour of Flanders for pros.

I was happy to see Gilbert win. And to have Greg as his runner-up. I also think Niki is kinda cool too. I love to hear him talk.

The Tour of Flanders had a fairy tale ending in many ways.

I’m going to enjoy the moment for the days to come, and keep on training and riding. Next goal is to get better, faster and stronger on the bike.

Time to master that clip-less pedal learning curve. Helmets and seatbelts on everybody.

Can I clip it?

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Yes I can!

Peace out

XO

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Road trippin’

That final morning in Gatineau, Canada.

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Celine’s husband: “Okay the car is purring like a kitten craving your love. Time for you guys to go on your road trip together.”

Me: “Err…I don’t see the truck…?”

Celine: “We’re not taking the truck. We’re taking my car.”

Me: “Your car?”

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Me: “WE ARE TAKING THE MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE ON OUR ROAD TRIP???”

Celine: “Well, don’t get too excited. One ice patch and we’ll be flying. The car weighs practically nothing.”

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(…)

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Me: “Well we all got to go one day…”

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It might as well be behind this beaut of a wheel! Start the engine sister sledge!

(Enter narrator’s voice)

And that’s how the two girls commenced their road trip in an inappropriate vehicle. Just like Harry and Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber. 

car

You: “Wait a second. Do you guys have like a mission or something?”

Me: “A mission?”

You: “Yeah, Harry and Lloyd took the car to Aspen to return that Samsonite briefcase to Mary. What’s your quest?”

Me: “Ok ahm…. Let me see… (whispering to Celine)…Uhu….Uhu…Oh yeah that’s great!”

“Ok, our mission is…

To find our Canadian Brad Pitt!”

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“Howdy”

We’re mixing up a little ‘Dumb and Dumber’ with a little ‘Thelma and Louise’. To give the story that extra crunch.

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(So much crunch…)

So off we go to our first destination on the itinerary:

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QUEBEC CITY!

A little history on Quebec City:

  • It is approximately 400 years old;
  • The city’s famous landmarks include the Château Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the skyline, and La Citadelle, an intact fortress that forms the centerpiece of the ramparts surrounding the old city;
  • Quebec has played a special role in French history; the modern province occupies much of the land where French settlers founded the colony of Canada (New France) in the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • The population is predominantly French-speaking and Roman Catholic, with a large Anglophone minority, augmented in recent years by immigrants from Asia;
  • It is NOT the capital of Canada;
  • They serve Russian president as a national dish =>
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aka ‘Poutine’ (pronounced as pooh-teen) made with thick beef gravy on French fried potatoes with fresh cheese curds. Instant cardiac arrest guaranteed.

The convertible offered just enough space to fit our luggage and a bag with food and drinks in the backseat. Since we had such a long drive ahead of us. We figured we might be up for some snacking.

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(Only 15 minutes on the road)

Celine: “Can I have some hot tea please, the thermos is under your seat.”

Me: “Quite certainly, young padawan.”

Celine: “Ok whatever that is, stop doing that.”

Me: “It’s Yoda. You know those personal development tapes you listen to? He’s all about mental growth and inner strength too. You’d love him.”

Celine: “Just pour me my tea, already.”

Me: “Well it’s kinda hard with you going 80 miles an hour.”

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Celine: “Watch the seats. Watch the seats!”

Me: “Alright, alright, I got it.”

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We continued down the super highway of glistening awesomeness. We slid through the icy landscapes like a knife through creamy butter. Like two smooth criminals heading towards heavenly freedom.

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Sometimes a little too smooth, when the car would start sliding from left to right.

Celine: “Okay I gotta stop for gas. There’s a Tim Horton’s, we’ll drive through for coffee.”

Me: “Jolly, a Tim Horton’s! A large French Vanilla coffee, please.”

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This drive is a beaut! And I am enjoying every single minute of it. Every single minute of the 270 minutes total.

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Celine: “I’m hungry, can you get out the leftover roast and the mustard? The knife should be in my purse somewhere.”

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In case you missed it, me taking place in the passenger’s seat of Celine’s car automatically degraded me to her co-pilot, personal assistant, snack assembler and in-flight entertainment.

It didn’t take long or we started bickering over every little thing.

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Celine: “Okay, let’s just stop at this truck stop for a minute. I need to use the wash room.”

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Me: “Yeah, I could go for a quick pee too.”

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“And maybe another French Vanilla.”

Celine: “You’re really liking that French Vanilla hey?”

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Celine: “Every time we pass a Tim Horton’s you get all excited.”

Me: “Well it’s about the most excitement I’ll have this weekend. I have a cold sore on my lip and I’m on my period. This joy ride is out of business!”
(There’s a small chance I might have used a slightly more vulgar vocabulary)

Celine: “Gee, you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

Me: “It’s probably where I got the cold sore from in the first place.”

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Celine: “You’re grose”

A couple of hours and treats later …

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… we finally arrive in QUEBEC CITY! Celine had booked us an Airbnb for the night, about 20 minutes away from the old town. We stayed with Sylvain, a middle-aged divorced guy who lived with his cat Fallah.

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There was a little Quebec kitty in Quebec city.

I called her Miss Glitterbox since I had accidentally spilt a bunch of glitter on her fur.

Sylvain has two spare bedrooms he rents out almost daily to complete strangers. There was a guy from Halifax in one room. And me and Celine shared a bed in the other. But we didn’t feel like staying in all evening.

That night Celine and I hit the old town. We decided to walk around a little bit and maybe stop for a hot coco. We decided not to have alcohol and clean our bodies from all the holiday overindulging. Well, that was a short lived resolution. First stop we made, I ordered an Italian coffee and Celine had herself a bucket of red wine.

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French Vanilla with a twist.

I was still feeling telepathic since my strange moment at the supermarket the day before our road trip. I was sitting in the backseat of the big pick up truck while Celine’s husband hopped into the store to get milk. While we were waiting I had this sudden slip of the tongue and spoke the words: “My god, I want cookies!”

Two minutes later, Thomas returned to the car and threw a bag of Gingerbread Boys on the backseat right in my lap.

Thomas: “Look you guys, I got some free cookies from the lady at the counter.”

I was so amazed by my Jedi powers, I decided to try them out on Celine tonight. While I was sitting in front of her, enjoying my Italian coffee, I wondered if my mind could set her on fire.

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Eventhough I thought it, it didn’t happen. Maybe because I didn’t really want her to burst into flames. I was just curious if I could force my mind that way…

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We finished our drinks, decided to leave the bar and walk a bit further. But the wind was so cold it felt as if Mother Nature was pricking needles into my face.

Me: “Gee, I don’t think I can walk much further. I can’t feel my face!”

Celine: “Ok let’s just go in here.”

We entered a huge echoing hallway with christmas trees lining up all the way to the back of the corridor. I knew this place. It was the chateau Frontenac! I remembered it from my Wikipedia search! It was one of the landmarks!

The place was majestic. This is where the rich and famous hang out alright!

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I felt kind of out of place wearing my Kung Fu sweatpants and custom made Blonde/Clueless long sleeve.

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Celine: “Where do you wanna sit?”

Me: “Let’s sit by the bar. Put out the vibe.”

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It was all fun and games until we looked at the menu

Me: “Wow these prices are through the roof. The cheapest thing on here is actually a glass of champagne. A little bit of the bubbly it is.”

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Unfamiliar voice: “What accent is that you’re speaking?”

I turned over and saw a dude and another dude installing themselves on the seats next to us.

Me: “It’s english. Du’uh.” (These dumbass quebecians and their poor anglo knowledge (*see history on Quebec City ↑ ))

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I thought it was the lamest pick up line I had ever heard. If these bozos think they can sit with us, they got the wrong idea.

Celine in the background: “Hahahahaha”

Err… that was clearly not including Celine. She was getting along nicely with the two gents.

Me hissing: “Don’t invite them, they could be vampires.”

Celine: “Oh shut up, it’s a good thing they still want to sit with us. Your purse is scaring people away!”

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My little Dracula coffin I bought in Toronto (<3) did get some mixed reviews…

I didn’t think of them to be all that interesting. But the other one was quite cute. After an hour of talking to them and a couple of glasses later, the barman was closing up.

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Me: “Well it was lovely meeting you. Bye bye now.”

The dudes: “Hey you girls feel like continuing this party at our place? We live just a 10 minute walk away from here.”

Me: “Oh, I don’t think..”

Celine: “Ok!”

Me: “Wait, what? I’m not going home with these two. I barely know them and I don’t really like them that much. Why do you wanna go with them? Are you in heat or something??”

(…)

Wait a hot minute!  Maybe I didn’t really set Celine on fire physically. But maybe I had lit some other fire. Some kind of desire inside of her!

Son of a bee sting, I unleashed the beast!

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Me: “Okay guys my friend is actually a little tired, she just doesn’t realize it yet. We’re going back to our Airbnb. See ya.”

The dudes: “Are you sure?”

Me:

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Celine: “Well if we don’t go home with them we can still go have drinks with them.”

Me: lloyd-napkin

Before I knew it we were in a taxi on our way to ‘Cuisine’. A funky little bar in downtown Quebec where we could dance to new wave music, play video games and apparently order some shots of Black Russian.

I was very cautious. I didn’t want to end up in a real life ‘Taken’ sequel. What if they were serial killers?

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Or rapists?

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Me to Celine: “What are we doing here? It’s not like either one of these dudes is our Brad Pitt. Heck, we weren’t even supposed to drink alcohol tonight.”

Celine: “Oh just stop being all paranoid and just enjoy the moment.”

lloyddown

I gave it another go but after an hour I got all bored and decided to play video games on the little Super Nintendo in the corner. There I was. The little geek in the corner on a Thursday night. When I was GAME OVER I decided it was time to pull Celine out of there right in time before she could take her sweater off and go loose in her tank top. Gee, what have I done to this woman! I’m never using my Jedi mind tricks again.

We said the dudes goodbye and walked away into the freezing cold. Not really knowing where we were going. It took ages to find a taxi to drive us back. When we finally did, Celine got out at a night shop on the corner of our street to get food. She bagged two bags of Cheetos with onion dip. I was glad she cheated on her diet, rather than on her husband.

The next morning I felt awful. My stomach was all queazy from all the drinks and those two guys had left a bad after taste.

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I decided to have a hot shower and freshen up for the final part of our drive: MONTREAL!

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Saying goodbye to Miss Glitterbox. That’s Sylvain in the back.

And we were back on the road. And back to our old habits.

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Celine: “Could you prepare us some lunch, please? I’m hungry.”

Me: “Sure thing, young Padawan!”

I grabbed some tuna and avocado and made some excellent hors d’oeuvres on the whim!

Me: “Too bad this drive doesn’t last as long as the one we did yesterday. I quite enjoy this road trip.”

Little did I know I had wrongly used my Jedi powers again…

(One hour later)

Me: “Gee, I expected Montreal to be a lot less rockier than this.”

rockymountains

Celine: “Yeah me too…. Get the map and find out where we at.”

Me: “Err… I think we’re on our way to Alaska.”

Celine: “Fudge! There’s a road sign that says ‘Saguenay’. We’re going all the way north.”

Wow, my connection with the Universe had become crystal clear these past few days! (see previous post: ‘A Jelly Dilemma’) First the cookies. Then the fire. Now the extended road trip.

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Me: “I’m sorry, I wished for the drive to last longer! And now we doubled the length! This is all my fault!”

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Celine: “Well…

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… at least we had a nice view.”

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That’s what I like about Celine. She’s such a positive little life force.

It took us about 4 hours to get to Montreal. Instead of the estimated 2.

Through rough roads and steep hills.

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But once we were there. It was all worth it.

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When we arrived at our Airbnb, we forgot all the trouble we had been through. It was the coziest place on earth smacked right into the middle of the Gay Village (the actual name of this area). It felt like coming home. Especially since there was a hammock in the living room! How comfy can you be??

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Quite comfy!

That night we kept it cool. We went for a nice Chinese soup and I made some more business cards to hand out to random Gay Village people.

After dinner we met up with our Kung Fu friend Audrey again who was staying at her parents’ place in Montreal.

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Say ‘Qi’!

We went for  a good night hike all the way up Mont Royal to see the crucifix.

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Montreal by night

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The Mont Royal Cross matches my purse!

By the way, some more history on Montreal:

  1. It is NOT the capital of Canada.
  2. Go look up the rest on the internet.

All together it was a wonderful night. Me and Celine didn’t get into any trouble. Instead we went to bed by midnight. And dreamt about Brad Pitt handing out blow jobs.

… With his hair dryer.

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We had a little over one more day to find our guy. So we didn’t waste any more time the next day. We went looking all over town. We walked all the way down Avenue Cathérine and made our first stop at the Dollar Store. Celine needed some food and I needed some bindis to wear on our final night out.

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We couldn’t help but notice there were a lot of sex shops on this street. Since Celine was still not fully recovered from me setting her on fire …

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we entered a bunch of XXX shops to have an innocent look around. Celine eventually bought herself a ‘finger puppet’. And I got myself some fishnet long sleeves. I figured it would be a great look with a little tank top underneath! Plus: from a business point of view it was a good move. I left some of my business cards with the lady behind the counter and she absolutely LOVED the name of this blog. She said she would check it out fo shizzle.

While we continued our way down town, we got a little hungry from all the sex shop hopping and went looking for some grub. After our tasty bowl from last night, we kinda both craved some more soup.

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And that’s how we ended up at another Asian place.

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I’m just in it for the fortune cookies

For dessert we went for some nice hot street tire.

You: “?”

It’s hot maple syrup on a fresh deck of snow. You place a popsicle stick at the end of one side and start curling it up to the other side. That’s how you eat tire!

The taste is super sweet. As maple syrup tends to be.

We heated ourselves by a little fire and head out. To a more nicer part of town.

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Stranger’s voice: “Wow that is a nice coat, young lady.”

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Lady: “No that’s a Shearling and it is very, véry nice. ”

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Me: “Oh thank you.”

Celine and I had just entered a fur boutique when we got interrupted by the lady who happened to be one of the owners.

Lady: “I gotta call somebody to come look at this, wait right here.”

Soon entered a guy. A very very hot guy. To come look at me and my coat.

Lady: “Isn’t this the nicest Shearling ever?”

The guy nodded and kept his eyes on my coat.

Me: “Well, this is a little awkward. I didn’t know it was this special. I bought it for 50 euros at a second hand store in Belgium.”

The two both started laughing.

Me: “Oh, is that too much?”

Lady: “No dear, these coats usually go for way more.”

Very very hot guy: “You could get up to 1600 Canadian dollars for this coat.”

Great Odin’s raven! I’m rich!

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Trying on some other coats that were almost as nice as my Shearling.

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All the hot fur action aside, it was already in the afternoon and we still hadn’t find our Brad Pitt. I was getting a little bit worried. So we put our two brain halfs together over dinner.

We figured he might perform in one of the strip bars around the corner as a male entertainer. When you have a body like that, you got to make some kind of living out of it…

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“Or maybe he works as a plumber? A stripper plumber!”

To a live nude bar it is!

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We got all ready for our big and final night out.

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But ended up going to a live music bar instead.

Half way through our walk through town, we changed our minds and decided to not support the local sex slave industry.

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We had some wine. Some nice live blues music. And some poutine with duck on the side! No male entertainers. But it was the best last night in Montreal I could ever wish for.

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Bar à Jojo ❤

We were in bed by midnight so we could wake up early the next day and enjoy a nice Sunday together. Also our last day together.

Over breakfast, we got the word that Value Village, a big second hand store, was doing a big sale.

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“50 per cent off??? That’s almost getting stuff for free!”

Since we had to check out of the apartment anyway, we got dressed as fast as we could and rushed out of there in no time.

Well… I did have to go to the bathroom first to get my excitement out…

And last night’s dinner.

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I don’t know if it was the poutine or the poo-theen but I poo-clogged the toilet big time.

Good advice: go easy on the toilet paper if you’re ever in Canada. They don’t have toilets like ours and it’s not enjoyable having to unclog the toilet when the owner is sleeping in the room next door, overhearing everything you do.

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“Sorry buddy”

With that out of my system. And in the poor guy’s sewer system. We stuffed the convertible like a Christmas turkey and drove it all the way to Value Village a 15 minute drive away.

Me: “Look at these joggers jogging on these icy curbs. They’re c…”

Celine: “-razy?”

Me: “Well I was gonna go with courageous. Let’s just call them COU-RAZY!”

“Hé Celine, look at how fast I’m racing to Value Village!”

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When we finally arrived we nose dove between the racks of clothes, grabbing everything we had our eye one, trying everything on for size, and dressing up for fun. I eventually found two coats, one sweater and some other things I can’t remember, for less than 30 euros total.

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This kid Billy even bought a parakeet for only 15 bucks!

But there was no way I could fit all this into my teeny-tiny backpack. If I wanted to buy all this stuff, I had to buy another suitcase to take on board with me.

The moment I thought it -and put it out there for the universe to hear- there it was….

As if it was sitting there waiting for me.

A beautiful beige brown carry-on suitcase for only 7 Canadian Dollars. I flipped it open and it was in perfectly good shape. The interior was all golden brown retro and as good as new. When I flipped it over to look at the specifications, there it was…..

SAMSONITE.

No way!

This can’t be! It was about the briefcase all along!

(Enter narrator’s voice)

And that’s how the girl brought the Samsonite suitcase back to the airport. Filled with valuable bargains. And priceless memories. 

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Thank you Celine. For everything.

XO

The END

A jelly dilemma

After the previous entry about illegal substances, we’re taking it the next step further and stay in the forbidden candy department.

You: Speed? LSD? XTC? Molly? Miley?

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Me: “Nope, jelly beans.”

You: “They don’t have drugs in them … Do they?!”

Of course not, how off the handle do you think I am? However, Celine’s son was supposed to bring some edibles to the NYE party but that plan got sabotaged.

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(Robert Downey Jr is so great in this movie ‘Tropic Thunder’. You know he struggled with a severe drug addiction at one point in his career? One day he was driving around with a trunk full of drugs like he was Raoul Duke-ing his way to Vegas. fear-and-loathing

He pulled over to have a burger at Burger King and was so disgusted by what he ordered he then tossed all of his drugs into the ocean, deciding then and there to clean up his act. Last year he was the most lucrative actor of 2016 earning 1,1 billion dollars. It’s one of the most impressing and inspiring stories.)

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“I wish I could make a glorious comeback like that.”

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Anyway. Having brought this interlude to the table…

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… It’s time we get this story going.

So no drugs for me on New Year’s so I had some yummy jelly beans instead. It was the first time I tried these sugary bullets of pure happiness. I had a hand full and threw them all behind my grinders one by one. At one point there were only two left.

The dopamines in the sugar had brought me into an elevated state of being. Like I was in a vortex, levitating like a human lotus.
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There was a voice inside my head commanding me to chose a jelly bean. My inner Morpheus. One jelly bean would bring me back to two years ago. Where I had my own house, my future to be husband, my career. And all this wandering around would just have been a wicked dream.

The other jelly bean symbolized the continuation of this adventure track. The not-knowing, the risks, the adventures, the dangers, the butterfly I have been chasing down this rabbit hole. Sliding down the big question mark. Not knowing if the stairs of this organic life will go up or down.

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Pussy going down. Or up?

It struck me but I hesitated way longer than I would have thought. There was some part inside of me that wanted it all back. For the first time.

I was conflicted.

There was a part of me that wanted to go back to my old life. Suddenly.

So I turned to my spiritual guide woman.

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Me to Celine: “Hi woman, I’m feeling all hormonal. I have these weird feelings and thoughts in my gut and gulliver.”

Celine: “Spill it.”

Me: “It’s all fresh snow in the beginning but after a while it gets slushy. I don’t know if this gypsy life will continue to benefit me?”

Celine: “Well sometimes you have to go through a little mud to get to where you want to be.”

Me: “Like a lotus?”

Celine: “Yeah like a lotus.”

Me: “Well if I only knew where I want to get…”

Celine: “Ok, here’s what you got to do. Take a piece of paper and write down the three things you want to create for yourself in 2017. No, wait, write down the ten things and pick out three that are most important to you.”

Me: “Ok…”

The three words that shot into my head were:

  1. LOVE
  2. COMFORT
  3. SECURITY

Any other day and I would have chosen:

  1. LOVE
  2. ADVENTURE
  3. CLOTHES

But these were my words of choice today. Which was very interesting… And very conservative for my taste.

I continued to scribble on the piece of paper. And came up with a bunch of stuff that I want to (continue to) create for myself in the new year.

4. CONTROL/STABILITY
I am an adrenalin junkie and I love being able to just take a chance every once and a while but it’s not how I want to spend every hour of my life. I want to live an adventurous one but still have a certain amount of control and stability to balance things out. When I feel like I don’t have control and things just slip between my fingers like sand, I get stressed.

5. A SCHEDULE
Not a fix routine or anything but I ❤ a schedule that gives me time to do stuff before and after I go to work. Sit on my bicycle, walk around in my own head, go and have a coffee somewhere. I don’t want to be caught in a rat race.

6. NO STRESS
Being able to turn off the phone and have a quiet evening. No stress. No traffic. No last minute work things that can come up.

7. MONEY
I feel good about having money and being financially independent. Money gives me freedom to do what I want.

8. FREEDOM
I love this feeling of being free, being able to go places and not have as much stuff as I used to. It feels great to have just enough and to have an overview.

9. HEALTH
Actually this one should be way up! But I guess it’s part of ‘2. COMFORT’ since I want to continue feeling comfortable in my body (not being sick, injured, etc) and also in tune with my body and mind.

10. HAPPINESS
I’m so happy, thankful and grateful for everything the universe has given me. The privilege of being a human emotional being. Being able to feel, see, smell, touch, taste, learn and grow. Also being able to let go of things and to rise with resilience.

***

It made me feel really good to write all of this stuff down. I encourage every one of you to take a paper and do the same thing. I always thought it was bad to plan stuff in advance, as if it would take away all the impulsiveness and surprise but there is plenty of room for improvisation. This just helps you to sort your priorities out and man does it feel good to have those! Otherwise you just feel like a missile being launched into outer space, not knowing where to hit so you just keep orbiting and orbiting and orbiting. Burning all this precious energy, burning up before you find out your true destination and reach it.

If I can continue to live in this mindset then 2017 will be a sweet year. Just like 2016 has been a sweet year for  me. All the traveling I did, all the challenges I faced, all the things I learned. What 2016 has definitely generated for me is getting me de-constipated.

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Figure of speech.

It feels great to have such a natural flow now. To speak my mind, to dare to show myself to others, to share bits of my life, to videotape my journey and make aftermovies and snapchat stories for you guys to see.

I write openly, live my life openly and encourage people to live their lives according to their own needs and desires. I connect to people. And they connect to me. It is a wonderful state of being.

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Speaking about connecting to people. Some freaky shit happened these past couple of days. Things I could only describe to be: big time sign posts.

It all happened when I stayed at Alain (Celine’s dad)’s place in Toronto. He’s a chef with some big catering company in the city. But he’s also a Reiki master. It’s not something he talks about. If Celine wouldn’t have casually mentioned, I wouldn’t have known. But I knew from the first time I spoke to him, that there was this kind of centeredness about him. And he’s super fit. He’s pushing 70 but still hasn’t got one grey hair on his head and still takes his backpack out to go to Mexico and Belize by himself. His place looks like it’s almost falling apart but everything is harmonized according to the principles of Feng Shui. He has these spiritual proverbs hanging on his walls and a ton of books filled with wisdom and knowledge. I couldn’t help but grab one that was on the table. It looked like some kind of astrology almanac. He saw me pick out the book and gently took it from me asking me what day I was born.

He looked and looked and looked as if he was digging through the layers of years.

Alain: “Ah, here it is. October 19 1988. Aquarius Moon. Mh.”

Me: “‘Mh’? What does ‘Mh’ mean? Is that good or..”

Alain kept his eyes on the page and replied with another grunt. He even added a pair of raised eyebrows to it. Not really clearing anything up for me.

Me: “What’s Aquarius moon??”

Alain: “Well, it’s good. It means you’re a warrior.”

Me:

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A warrior?

I went to check what else it said:

  • You are likely to be a unique and somewhat progressive individual. There may be something about you that somehow “separates” you from everybody else;
  • When an Aquarian Moon individual has a clear idea, they are unlikely to easily change it.
  • Your position as someone already ‘on the outside’ gives you the ability to interpret the world around you from an often unique point of view.
  • With the Moon here, you may also tend to operate as an outsider or lone wolf, preferring to maintain a detached view that is only possible from the outskirts.
  • Often, this born with the Moon feel very different from the environment in which they grow up. The outsider experience is felt at a very early age. Accordingly, you may be so aware of your unique qualities that you tend to instinctively keep yourself separate from others.
  • Others will find you refreshing to be around because your ability to remain calm and civil can be especially sort out. Your vision and imagination is collective rather than personal, and you may be instinctively attuned to the future, able to sense what is on the horizon through reading the mood of the status-quo.
  • This position can also suggest a degree of eccentricity, and you may be highly original in some way. If you have creative interests then this placement can give a very unorthodox way of seeing the world.
  • Aquarius is also a sign associated with radical change, and you may find that you have a need to rebel or break away from situations you perceive as being stagnant. Your need for freedom can manifest in many ways, and you are likely to best in relationship with others who understand the need to give you space.
  • As the Moon can also describe how you experience home, you may tend to move around a lot. This position can suggest a person who needs to experience constant change and fluctuation in the regular circumstances of their life. You are likely to prefer light and airy places that give you an overall view.
  • At its best, Aquarius is an egalitarian and freedom-loving sign.
  • Born with the Moon here, you are likely to have an innate need to establish space and equality in your own and others lives.
  • Your sense of objectivity is your best asset, and your ability to connect with others is based mostly on your capacity to simply see others for who they are.
  • As a civilized being, you thrive in situations that bring people and conversation together. Though at times you may feel the outsider, life will always go best for you when you find your own like-minded group.
  • Deeply original, you will have a flair for independent analysis and thinking outside the box. You can be a great friend and supportive colleague through your ability to see the human condition in all its myriad and amazing forms.  
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“FINALLY!”

This is so empowering. Most of the time I felt I was making a chaos out of my life but everything I do is just textbook ME. The constant moving from one place to another, the freedom seeking, breaking away from things that are stagnant, the thinking outside of the box, daring to be expressive and eccentric, having pure values like equality, objectivity, filtering out bad ego, … Wauw!

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“Feed me more knowledge!”

Unfortunately Alain had to scram, leaving for Ottawa to stay at Celine’s house so me and her could stay at his place and explore Toronto together.

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I stayed at his apartment for three days being in ultimate peace. Everywhere I looked I felt inspired by words surrounding me. Every book or box I opened spoke to me. Like the box of tarot cards I opened with the first card being the angel Gabriel suggesting me to keep a diary and to write shit down. The book of happiness I found in the bathroom suggesting me to keep a healthy ego and to choose transcendence over desire. The apartment was right on the corner of the Lucky Coin laundromat. I grew up in a street with a laundromat on my corner. It was all so very familiar and so interstellar. As if there were patterns everywhere.

On our last night in Toronto, right before Celine and I would leave for Ottawa and stay at her place, we had one last supper at the New Ho King, a Chinese restaurant. At the end of our meal we received a platter with fortune cookies. Each of us took a random cookie and we opened it simultaneously.

Celine’s cookie stated: “You are sympathetic to the problems of others.”

My cookie stated: “The time is right to make new friends.”

Catch the joke: we were sitting there with Celine’s friends Mel (yeah, the one with the pot) and Erin, just having had a wonderful dinner with really meaningful, funny and positive conversations. And they too had just opened a tailor made fortune cookie!

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This was all sooooo nice. And the next day, when I randomly took a newspaper in a coffee shop and bumped into my horoscope it read:

 ‘The self in exile remains the self, as a bell unstruck for years is still a bell’, writes poet Jane Hirshfield. I suspect that these words are important for you to hear as you prepare for 2017. My sense is that in the past few moths your true self has been making its way back to the heart of life after a time of wandering on the outskirts. Any day now, a long-silent bell will start ringing to herald your full return. Welcome home!”

After a 6 hour train ride, I was so happy to be reunited with Alain and Celine’s family once we arrived at Ottawa, two days before the end of the year. Even Audrey, our Kung Fu friend who’s also from Canada, came to have a sleepover. After 8 months the Kung Fu Angels were reunited.

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We had a nice dinner, watched a movie and the next morning we had breakfast and Audrey left for Montreal.

In the afternoon Alain and I had picked up the wonderful idea to go snowshoeing in the forest. We both looked at it as a way to finish the last day of the year on a high note. We had never snowshoed before. But we figured we’d manage, since we’re both backpackers and all.

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Hot date with Celine’s dad.

Funny thing: his daughters never call him ‘dad’. They always address him with his first name. But when they do, it sounds like Frau Farbissina, the right hand of Dr. Evil in Austin Powers, when she orders to send in the clones.

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“ALAIN!”

I had a first walk with Alain in the snow on Christmas day. It’s nice to pick his brain, but I also enjoy to quietly be in his presence. And just let our energy fields play like arctic wolves in the snow.

Alain: “This is awesome. I will definitely add this to my bucket list.”

Me: “Oh yeah definitely!”

… “Wait, whut? Did you say add?”

Alain: “Yeah, I think it’s better to add than to remove.”

Me:

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Mind => blown

How deep, yet so simple. Alain just made my universe explode to expansion.

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Following in big footsteps here. Also literally.

While I was still recovering from my mind being blown, Alain suddenly paused in front of me and turned towards me as if he was going to release something ponderous onto the world.

Alain: “It’s time to make a snow angel!”

He let his body fall into the snow as if he would plump down into a big bean bag. He didn’t really make the wings. The imprint looked more like a fat cherub, but the timing was very amusing.

As we made our way back through this thick, ever spreading blanket of snow, with our big snow shoes on, I had a big deja vu.

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Not that I had been here before but I definitely experienced something similar. Two years ago I rang in the New Year in Dubai. Exactly this time of year I was walking in the vast desert. Over endless hills of sand.

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Now I was doing the same in the snow. On January 2nd 2015 I went to a water amusement park and tubed down a huge water slide. January 2nd 2017 I went tubing in the snow. And I didn’t plan any of those activities, they just got handed to me by chance. Maybe by faith.

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I even visited a liminal space between life and death when I was in the UAE. Disguised as an art expo. 

I don’t know if this is all just a big coincidence or if history just has a way of repeating itself or wanting to be understood. Or predicted even. But I’m sure there is some spiritual analogy to it. Some hidden message I’m not ready to see yet. As if I can’t get in tune with the universe because of some bad reception or something. Something blocking the message.

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“Hello?”

Well since I have this newly found trust in the universe, I know I will get the message when I’m ready. But I will sleep with one eye open. I wouldn’t want to miss the rise of the aquarius moon. Or the awaited ringing of the long-silent bell.

I’m ready for my return.distanceyourselffromthenegative

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That, and I would also like to add I won’t let anyone poo, pee or even fart on me in 2017. That would be my new year’s resolution.

Just sayin’.

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Enter narrator’s voice: 

And that’s how …

You: “Evvy, wait!”

Narrator: “How rude…”

You: “Did you take the red or the blue jelly bean?”

# ‘Narrator.007’ has left this conversation #

Me: “Neither. My stomach got all queazy so I switched to chocolate chip cookies. Don’t know what their metaphor was but they sure tasted nice! Don’t forget to write down what you want to create for yourself in 2017! Make it work like a charm!”

Nama-stay real y’all! 

XO

 

Smoking the mistletoe

After our Christmas celebrations, Celine and I got ready for a three day layover in Toronto. It would just be the two of us, Thelma & Louise-ing.

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I was super stoked. Toronto is supposed to be an awesome city with a very multi-cultural community and a lot of artistic neighborhoods. Just get a load of Kensington, a very bright neighborhood. You got China Town, India Town, Greek Town, The Village, University campuses, you name it! PLUS: It’s Jim Carrey’s birth town and the backdrop of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs The World’.

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Look that’s Toronto in the back right there ❤

And Rihanna filmed her ‘Work’ video clip on the corner of Gerrard Street.

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AWESOME!

Wherever I was going I felt I was walking in a movie decor. The little houses with the little porches, the drug stores, the coffee and book shops on the corners, the big street car, … It all felt really American. And very non European. Just the way I like it.

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The three days would be simple: just enjoy our time in the city, walk around and meet up with some friends of Celine. One of her friends even ended taking us up all the way to Niagara Falls.

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All this water => filling up my bladder

But before I could see the falls I had to go through a haunted mansion. There were three levels of scariness.

  1. Vanilla scary shit
  2. Super scary shit
  3. Hardcore scary shit

I didn’t know what I was signing up for. It was Celine’s friend Ryan who bought the tickets and pushed me to get in.

Literally.

It was pitch dark and there were things moving and invisible zombies and demons yelling and whispering. I couldn’t help but walk through the maze of terror with my hands over my ears hoping for it to be over as soon as possible. I could only come up with one thing to save my life:

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But I wasn’t impressed with myself at all. What a ridiculous vampire slayer I would be.

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Anyway, for the next part of this story it’s probably good to know we arrived in Toronto on the second day of Christmas. We got to borrow Celine’s dad’s bachelor pad and on the same night we were supposed to meet up with her friend Mel who lives in an apartment uptown. She invited us over for tea and crumpets.

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All ready to hit the town!

We took the subway and the street car and a firm 30 minutes later we arrived at the apartment building. As we entered Mel’s unit it was almost as if we stepped into an oven.

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The fumes alone would get us baked.

It had seemed Mel was having her good friend Mary Jane over.

And I’m not talking about a person.

You: “A robot?”

Me: “Herbs.”

Mel: “Come on in, make yourself right at home. Care for a glass of red? I got you guys some chips, dips and sweet popcorn.”

I sat down on her couch and almost knocked over the ashtray with doobie butts.

The place reeked so much, I had a little trouble breathing regularly.

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I’m not opposed to weed or anything. I actually like being in the presence of potheads. Seeing people get high relaxes me too. And occasionally I would take a hit or two if somebody offered. Just never that much. One time I got really sick off some freaky weed and puked my guts out for 5 hours straight. I made the fatal error of getting shit faced first and high after. Not my most elegant outing in 2016.

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But I figured I would be up for some Christmas tree burning right about now.

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And whilst we’re at it smoke all of the other christmas decorations.

After all we were the second day of Christmas. And being the diligent student I am, I didn’t finish my wine but went straight for the pot.

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Me to Celine: “Let’s get Chinese eyes dude!”

I puffed the magic dragon back in China. It was the bees knees! I was curious how the stuff would taste here. And if it would taste anything like maple syrup.

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This stoner circle was the bong! It felt like such a natural thing to do. Weed is far more accepted here in Canada than it is in Europe. They’re even legalizing it in 2017. What a lovely timing to be here.

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After 30 minutes I was starting to feel a little to a lotta light headed. The room started dancing. And I had to interrupt our conversation for an important communication service:

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I don’t remember what we were talking about but I remember not participating in the conversation. I just watched Celine’s mouth opening and closing and stared at it while the wallpaper was raining down the wall.

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I think I picked up on a talk about how time doesn’t exist and how you can control your future with your mind. All this happened while carnival videos from Trinidad were playing in the background.

Mel: “Evelien, what is your take on this subject?”

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Me:

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Mel: You’re really liking that popcorn, hey? Here, why don’t you finish the rest of the production line.

On our way home I fell asleep 15 times on the tram. And we were only on there for about 7 minutes.

I was so sleepy, I just wanted to go home and cosy up to Lucy.

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“TAKE LSD?”

No kiss the dog Lucy. Our home girl.

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So baked.

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Gimme some of that sweet sweet sugar.

The next day we kept it cool and walked around the city. I had the lucid idea of going to the dollar store and buying me some DIY stuff to make business cards.

The plan was to leave them all over town in coffee shops, thrift stores and the metro station. Ya know, spam the hood. Get the word out.

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Fab people casually loving BGftBC at Reflections Vintage store

Enter narrator’s voice: 

And that’s how the girl from Belgium made a splashin’ entrance in the throbbing town of Toronto. Ready for whatever adventure’s next on her itinerary: Ottawa, Quebec and Montréal.

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(I’m on a moose)

=> Read all about my New Year’s resolutions next time on the blog. And my hot date with Celine’s dad ^^

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Peace out
Smoke mouth

XO