Everything you need to know about STAR WARS in exactly 6.000 words

(*** Caution: this post consists of 0,5% silly wordplay, 0,5% nudity and 99% spoilers)

Has it ever happened to you that you totally unexpectedly meet a person with whom you have ridiculously many things in common, almost getting the feeling as if the Universe was plotting to unite you all along. The feeling of absolute bliss and understanding, the feeling of utter completeness, the sound of angels singing and happy bells ringing.

But then, all of a sudden, a big obstacle the size of a second Death Star arises?

(…)

This is what is happening to me… I have met a SUPER DUPER GREAT person, but there is one big obstacle…

The force isn’t strong in this one.

He doesn’t like Star Wars…

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I swore I would never get involved with someone who doesn’t like this mega awesome saga but sometimes you can’t always get what you want…

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Since he doesn’t like it *kuch* (LOSER) and I am obviously very passionate about it, I want us to share this interest, even if it’s just a little and I want to see if I can train him into becoming a Jedi Geek just in time for the 14th of December.

Him: “What’s the 14th of December?”

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For him it’s just a regular day of the year. And this is exactly what needs to change in his feeble little brain because the 14th of December is the day all STAR WARS geeks (at least in Germany and the UK) are living for. It is our Christmas, New Year, Easter and birthday combined. It is the day Episode VIII: THE LAST JEDI arrives in theaters.

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You: “So why doesn’t he like Star Wars, Evvy?”

Ha! I guess he doesn’t want to jump on the mega mainstream train. Or something went terribly wrong in his childhood… BUT he likes comic books so there is a little REY of NEW HOPE that the FORCE can be AWAKENED. (See how I just made a triple Star Wars reference? Anyone?)

hermione sarcasm

Even though he might be a ‘loser’, he’s not a lost cause. I just need to use the right Jedi mind tricks to tickle his Star Wars interest. So far I came up with:

  • A gorgeously hot woman in a golden bikini

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  • Kick-ass action sequences
  • Funny droids
    droids
  • Aspirational characters like Han Solohowareyou.gif
  • A ❤ storywalkingcarpet
  • A walking carpet
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  • A general sense of understanding of life and the importance of staying on the right track => certain schools actually teach Star Wars philosophy classes!!!
  • … Ahm… Merchandised popcorn?

I will continue to explain him that if he opens his mind to this wonderful universe he will be enchanted by its depths, he will be able to connect with like minded people, he won’t feel so left out anymore in daily conversations, he won’t feel as if he is missing out and he will understand TV shows much better: Friends, That 70’s Show, Family Guy, Big Bang Theory…  They all make references to Star Wars and there’s nothing more frustrating than missing the joke.

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Also. And this applies for every not yet Star Wars fan: You can run but you can’t hide. Considering the pace with which Walt Disney is refueling the Star Wars craze (they have just announced AN OTHER trilogy) the Force will probably haunt you until the end of your days. If you can’t beat them -and believe me you can’t- then there’s only one thing left to do: TO JOIN THEM.

Ok so let’s commence the training!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away 

Every Star Wars film starts with yellow letters floating into outer space. This is called: the opening crawl.  It basically unravels a background story in a couple of seconds, opening the floor to whatever is about to happen next. It enables you, the viewer, to be sucked into the action straight away instead of having to endure 1 hour of film before you come to the good part.

I made a little opening crawl just for you. Click here!

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What’s quite extraordinary is that the very first Star Wars movie (Episode IV: ‘A New Hope’) starts somewhere in the middle of the big Star Wars narrative. Without any character or scenic introduction the yellow letters inform us that the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans from the Death Star in order to destroy the Galactic Empire and bring peace to the Galaxy where …

Him: “STOOOOOOOP!”

Me:
double indemnity

Don’t freak out. When the yellow letters rolled over the screen the first time in 1977 no one knew what the Death Star was or how the Galaxy looked like. You will get there! … But maybe I can’t jump to the plot line just yet….

Let’s go through some fundamentals first. In order to understand Star Wars you have to get an insight in its time line as it’s a little tricky with the different trilogies, episodes and spin offs.

The important thing to know is that:

Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope chronologically is the FOURTH film out of the series even though it’s the FIRST one that was ever made. Released in May 1977. 40 years ago to be precise.

Let’s jump into history-hyperspace for a quick second:

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Writing the 1970’s. President Nixon had just burnt his hands on the Watergate scandal, many people withdrew from politics altogether and turned from a hippie way of life to a pop culture–easy lifestyle. They listened to 8-track tapes of Jackson Browne, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer and Marvin Gaye and smoked even more pot than they had in the 1960s. In general, by the end of the 70’s, many young people were using their hard-fought freedom to simply do as they pleased: to wear what they wanted, to grow their hair long, to have sex, to do drugs. Their liberation, in other words, is intensely personal -especially once the ‘personal computer’ finds its way to the people, which changed lives drastically- and science fiction finds its way into cinema.

People hear about ‘this far out movie’ being released in their nearest (drive in) cinema directed by ‘this guy named George Lucas’. It is described being a ‘space opera’. The people don’t really know what to expect but the movie poster shows some crazy cool glowing sword and a girl with cinnamon spice buns as a hair do. Totally revolutionary!

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Even though the science fiction genre was -at this time- not very popular and a lot of movie distributors turned Lucas’ story down. It’s even been said that when Lucas showed the film to Spielberg and De Palma they were pretty much disappointed. Or potentially jealous? The first movie, however, was an unexpected box office success turning Star Wars into a pop culture phenomenon in no time. It captured imaginations with an irresistible force and had a huge effect on the film industry later on.

C3PO PEOPLE

Catch the joke: a robot on the cover of PEOPLE

The first ever blockbuster was born and stayed record holder until E.T. decided to phone home and win the audience’s heart over in 1982.

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Remeber when E.T. bumps into a Yoda costume during trick or treating and refers to him as ‘Home’?

Two sequels followed: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) making it into a trilogy. Throughout these three movies (respectively referred to as Episodes IV, V and VI) there are three important protagonists, played by three young performers who were instantly catapulted to superstardom.

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  • Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), => Even though she passed away in 2016, she will continue to stay Princess Leia (aka the golden bikini girl) for all eternity. She will appear in Episode VIII for the last time.
  • Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), => He is the farm boy with the light saber. The franchise hero. This guy is a god. He will also appear in Episode VIII. Potentially for the last time?
  • and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) => He is the good looking cool guy with the space ship (Millennium Falcon) and the walking carpet (Chewbacca). Thanks to Star Wars he landed the part of Indiana Jones and went on to become one of Hollywood’s finest actors. He will still play a small role in Episode VIII but more on that later as I don’t want to give away toooooo many spoilers at once.

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    Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Again E.T. is present. Not referring to the Indian guy in the back.

16 years after the very first trilogy, another trilogy was made. Again directed by -the at this point very famous- George Lucas. This trilogy, however, was not a sequel but a prequel. The prequel trilogy describes what had taken place over 32 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and primarily focuses on a young Darth Vader originally known as Anakin Skywalker (played by Jake Lloyd and later Hayden Christensen) and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor). It was the last trilogy to be distributed by 20th Century Fox.

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Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) was the first of the three.

OK brace yourself. Remember I mentioned E.T. before? Well… watch this little clip from ‘The Phantom Menace’ and prepare to have your MIND BLOWN! => This is why E.T. recognizes Yoda in Spielberg’s blockbuster. 

Two more films followed: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). These movies basically tell everything that happened until Episode IV.

Well yeah ALMOST everything, since the very recent spin-off ‘Rogue One’ (2016) also takes place before the first trilogy.

Him: “STOOOOOOOOP!!”

Me:That-70s-show-star-wars

Him:tumblr_mvatac4a9F1qaqu1ro4_250

Me: “Ok then try to replace the light sabers with something you like, for instance … Errrr… French baguettes! And let’s go over it again in a nutshell.”

 

You have the original trilogy => Where the glowing sword and the cinnamon spice buns play quite a big part. Three movies that CHANGED the life of people all over the world until this very day => 16 years later another trilogy was established to reveal the history of the first trilogy that DIDN’T CHANGE the life of people all over the world since it kinda sucked => But the brand new trilogy (VII, VIII, IX) which follows the original trilogy (IV, V, VI) brings back the sentimental feelings the original trilogy brought to this world now 40 years ago.

Bear with me darling. It’s about to get better.

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Let’s go through some fundamental lexicon:

THE SITH vs THE JEDI
Shit… AHM, I mean ‘Sith’ are basically the bad Jedi. They are overcome with hate. Jedi like Obi-Wan, Yoda and Luke Skywalker are good knights who use the metaphysical power of the Force to guard justice in the galaxy. They greet each other by saying: “May the force be with you”.

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Ok then what is THE FORCE?
As Obi-Wan states himself in 1977’s Episode IV, A New Hope: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together”.  The Force is mystical energy inside everything that can be controlled by certain people and is often said to be inspired by Taoist philosophy. Just like yin and yang, you have a light side and a dark side and they constantly interact with each other. On each side you also have masters/lords and apprentices. Darth Vader is the pupil of Lord Sidius (Emperor). Kylo Ren is the pupil of Emperor Snoke. Luke Skywalker was the pupil of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.

***

Let’s start chronologically:

What you ABSOLUTELY need to know about the first TRILOGY (these are the basics my friend):

  • The trilogy has 3 famous protagonists: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo
    These are the good guys. Well, Han Solo at first doesn’t appear to be a good guy, he is a rogue, but eventually he turns out to become a hero. He flies the ‘Millennium Falcon’, which is a space ship, together with his BFF and co-pilot Chewbacca aka Chewie aka the walking carpet. He is a 7-foot-tall Wookiee, a hairy, bipedal mammal who only makes gurgling noises. The two encounter Luke and Obi-Wan, a Jedi master, in a cantina in A New Hope and go on to join them, and later Leia, in Rebel attacks against the evil Empire. Luke has his own reasons to seek justice because his aunt and uncle -his legal guardians- were killed by the Empire.

    lukeauntdied

  • There are -of course- antagonists too 
    Darth Vader is the most famous one. But also Senator Palpatine (also known as Darth Sidious or the Emperor). They master the dark side of the Force and want to control the Galaxy.

    breathingproblem

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Senator Palpatine before and after his make over into The Emperor / Lord Sidius #plasticsurgerygonewrong

Jabba The Hutt is also an antagonist. He is the most powerful crime boss on Tatooine, who has a bounty on Han Solo’s head in ‘Episode VI: Return of the Jedi‘.

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Flattering character

  • The Death Star is the Empire’s ultimate weapon
    A huge spherical space station over 100 kilometers in diameter capable of destroying a planet with one shot of its superlaser. The Death Star is a very powerful and threatening piece of imagery throughout the saga. This space station is also populated by Imperial Storm Troopers. They are the troops of the Galactic Empire.

    Rebels_stormtroopers_bw-2400x1200-780667296424
    => The Death Star evolution:
    1. In Episode II the Death Star plans are being handed to Darth Sidious by Darth Tyranus.
    2. In Episode III the Death Star is under construction.
    3. In Episode IV the Death Star is operational but gets destroyed by the Rebel Alliance right after it blows up Aldaaran, the home planet of Princess Leia.
    4. In Episode VI a second and much bigger Death Star is being constructed but gets destroyed as well by the end of that movie.

deathstar

  • Luke Skywalker is Darth Vader’s son! 
    If there is any quote from the movie you know, it’s probably : ‘Luke, I am your father’.no
    These famous words are being spoken by Darth Vader at the end of ‘Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ and is until now known to be one of the biggest plot turns in history! Vader wants Luke to join him on the dark side to rule the Empire but Luke refuses since he’s a good guy. They get caught in a sweet light saber duel where Luke loses his hand but he finds a way to escape. One year later, after an intense training becoming a badass Jedi Knight, father and son Skywalker face each other again in the second Death Star. Luke defeats Vader and cuts off his hand in a revenge light saber match. The Emperor orders Luke to kill his father. Luke infuriates the Emperor because he refuses to do so. The Emperor tries to kill Luke but Vader intervenes and rescues his son by killing the Emperor. Vader eventually dies and Luke cremates him. The Empire is defeated. The people rejoice.
  • Luke and Leia are actually brother and sister
    luke-leia2
    Luke doesn’t find out until ‘Episode VI The Jedi Returns‘ that Leia is his twin sister. They were adopted by different families right after they were born. This causes a little bit of awkwardness since at first Luke crushes on Leia and they actually kiss in ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘. Yuk! But it was merely a trick pulled by Leia to make Han Solo jealous and eventually -after a lot of bickering- Han and Leia fall in love at the end of the third film. In ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’ (2015) we find out that Leia and Han Solo actually have a child. A son called Kylo Ren. More on him later. And YES young Padawan (*): this means Princess Leia is Darth Vader’s daughter.leia and vader

(* a Padawan is a Force-sensitive adolescent who trained in the Jedi Order to one day become a full-fledged Jedi.)

  • Other important characters are:
    R2-D2 and C-3PO.
    Built by Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO was designed as a protocol droid intended to assist in etiquette, customs and translation, boasting that he is “fluent in over six million forms of communication”. Along with his astromech droid counterpart and friend R2-D2, C-3PO provides comic relief within the narrative structure of the films. C-3PO was strongly influenced by the Maschinenmensch from Fritz Lang’s classic sci-fi film Metropolis, and played by British actor Anthony Daniels. Kenny Baker, a circus performer, got the role of R2-D2. Standing as an adult at three foot, eight inches (1.12 meters), Baker was short enough to fit into the robot and strong enough to operate the heavy machinery a child would have not been able to do.droids
    Funny fact: While the film may show an unbreakable friendship between these two droids, the actors actually couldn’t stand each other and hardly talked to each other during filming. Baker passed away in 2016 aged 81 and got replaced by Scottish actor Jimmy Vee who will make his first credited appearance in Episode VIII this December.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.
Obi-Wan-Yoda-Force-Awakens
These are Jedi Masters and Luke becomes their apprentice. Yoda is that dyslectic little green goblin on the right. Instead of saying “We must destroy the Sith” he says: “Destroy the Sith we must”. He is the most powerful of Jedi and dies at the end of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi at the blessed age of 900. Yoda plays a big part in the prequel episodes I, II, III since he is Obi-Wan’s master. Obi-Wan becomes Anakin Skywalker’s master until he turns into the evil Darth Vader. Kenobi then continues to train Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan dies in the first film of the original trilogy (Episode IV) after a duel with Vader, his former apprentice. Instead of being cut into two he vanishes into thin air. A technique evolved by Obi-Wan and Yoda.

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What you ABSOLUTELY need to know about the SECOND TRILOGY:

  • N-O-T-H-I-N-G!
    Well that’s not entirely true. Let’s just say that the only thing you need to know is that the story evolves around Anakin Skywalker and his transition from being a young kid to becoming an adult and all the challenges related to it. The Force is very strong in him and he is believed to become a very promising Jedi. HOWEVER. When his mother gets brutally murdered, he feels the pull of the dark side growing stronger in himself and his surroundings. He ends up killing a bunch of Jedi and turns into the evil Lord Darth Vader (=> TAKE A MENTAL PICTURE: ANAKIN SKYWALKER IS DARTH VADER) 

    rubbbsyffypy
    His turn to the dark side happens right after he marries Queen Amidala (also known as ‘Padmé’, played by Natalie Portman) and impregnates her. When she finds out Anakin is a baddie she slips into a critical condition. Obi-Wan confronts Vader. The two engage in a duel which results in Vader suffering the loss of his limbs, severe burns, and damage to his lungs.  => THIS IS WHY VADER WEARS HIS MASK AND SUIT AND HAS TROUBLE BREATHING. Obi-Wan leaves his longtime friend and former apprentice for dead but Sidious (The Emperor) rescues Vader and encases him in a life-support suit.

Queen Amidala dies in childbirth, and the Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia are separated; Leia is adopted by Senator Bail Organa and his wife on Aldaaran. She grows up as a Princess and later on becomes a secret member of the Rebel Alliance. C-3PO and R2-D2 are also in the custody of Bail Organa with C-3PO’s memory getting wiped in order to have the twins split-up and protected. => SO NO! C-3PO WAS NOT AWARE ANYMORE THAT LUKE AND LEIA WERE SIBLINGS WHEN HE SAW THEM KISSING

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Luke is taken in by his uncle and aunt on Tatooine but we all know what happens to them at the beginning of Episode IV …

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Roast beef anyone?

Kenobi disappears in exile on that same planet and from then on calls himself ‘Ben Kenobi’. Luke, Leia and Kenobi discover each other in Episode IV A New Hope. They bundle forces in order to restore peace in the Galaxy since Sidious and Vader succeeded in taking control of the Senate and later the galaxy forming the Galactic Empire. The two Sith oversee the construction of the first Death Star, a glimpse of the dark times to come.

I would suggest NOT to watch Episodes I, II, III but would advice to look for a re-cut instead.

Apparently Topher Grace (yep, Eric Forman from ‘That 70’s Show’) is such a big Star Wars fan he re-cut the three episodes into a 85 min film. That is the shortest Star Wars film ever made! He showed the film publicly to about 50 people, but it’s not currently available to watch in any other way, likely due to copyright issues.

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Topher Grace playing Luke Skywalker in ‘That 70’s Show’

According to Slashfilm’s Peter Sciretta, who attended the screening, “Topher was able to completely tell the main narrative of Anakin Skywalker’s road from Jedi to the Sith,” and continued by saying, “What’s better is that the character motivations are even more clear and identifiable, a real character arc not bogged down by podraces, galactic senates, Jar Jar Binks, politics or most of the needless parts of the Star Wars prequels. It not only clarifies the story, but makes the film a lot more action-packed.”

Or watch this clip where you basically learn everything you need to know about the prequels in 3 solid minutes .

And while you’re at it you might as well check this video (2015) too:

Of course this video doesn’t yet speak of the recent trilogy from which we’ve only seen ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens’.

Therefor: What you ABSOLUTELY need to know about the THIRD TRILOGY:

  • It almost didn’t exist
    Chronologically ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’ is set around 30 years after ‘Episode VI Return of the Jedi’. Lucas originally planned a sequel trilogy in the mid-1970s, but had abandoned these plans by the late 1990s. The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in late 2012 and then announced the production of a sequel trilogy. Unlike the previous two trilogies, whose films were released approximately three years apart, the sequel films are planned to be released two years apart. ‘Episode VIII The Last Jedi’ is set for release this December, with Rian Johnson as screenwriter and director. Episode IX was to be directed by ‘Jurassic World’ director Colin Trevorrow but he departed from the project. Shortly after, it was announced that Abrams would return to direct the film. It is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019.
  • It’s still very much a family affair (but maybe the last Skywalker one)
    It is very clear that STAR WARS has always been a family affair (siblings kissing, father issues, children watching their parents die, a repetitive history of orphanage and exile, …) This road continues in the recent trilogy where Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo, steps into the footsteps of his grandfather Darth Vader.
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Grand daddy issues…

Kylo Ren continues Vader’s legacy by setting up ‘The First Order’, a new collective of bad guys with the help of Supreme Leader Snoke (his mentor).

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Snoke

FUN FACT! Snoke is being played by Andy Serkis who you may know as that other ugly creature… 

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Gollum

Just like with the original trilogy there is another father-son face off in ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’, only this time resulting in the tragic death of one of Star War’s most loved characters: Han Solo. It’s all just a little bit of galactic history repeating  but of course the fans love it. It captures the original Star Wars spirit where the prequel failed to do so.

  • There is a new Death Star and a new R2-D2 in ‘The Force Awakens’
    More history repeating!
  • > Starkiller Base
    starkiller base
    Starkiller Base was a mobile, forested iceplanet that was turned into a base operated by The First Order looking very similar to the Death Star. It got destroyed at the end of ‘The Force Awakens’ by the good guys.
  • > Meet BB8
    BB8
    In ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’ the ball-shaped BB-8 droid gets introduced. In the film, the robot is the astromech of the Resistance X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Poe entrusts him with a map that must be delivered to the Resistance headquarters in order to determine the whereabouts of Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker. While Poe is captured and interrogated by the sinister First Order commander Kylo Ren, BB-8 flees across the desert of the planet Jakku and finds sanctuary with the plucky scavenger Rey. Eventually Rey, the renegade stormtrooper Finn, Han Solo and Chewbacca  bring BB-8 to Resistance leader Leia Organa, and ultimately reunite him with Poe.  => This story echoes the story of ‘Episode IV A New Hope’ where Princess Leia hides the plans to destroy the Death Star inside R2-D2 along with a holographic recording. R2-D2 flees to the planet Tatooine together with protocol droid C-3PO in order to bring the plans to Obi-Wan Kenobi but bump into Luke Skywalker first. From there on the saga begins.

    helpmeobiwan

  • Emancipation is a big thing now
    Aha! Finally something different. Luke Skywalker has always been the franchise’s hero and has now been dethroned by a woman. Not a princess, but rather a ‘female Han Solo type Jedi heroin’ named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who was left by her parents when she was a child. Much of her past and familial lineage is shrouded in mystery. And thus THE BIG QUESTION that keeps itching fans’ brains is: Who are Rey’s parents? According to director J.J. Abrams : “Rey’s parents are not in Episode VII The Force Awakens, so I can’t possibly say in this moment who they are. But I will say it is something that Rey thinks about, too.”

    Is Abrams just trying to throw fans off the scent of Rey’s real parents? The current online theories go from Rey being Luke Skywalker’s daughter to Kylo Ren’s sister, to being willed to life through an immaculate conception, to being the daughter of a new character played by Benicio del Toro, to being Obi-Wan Kenobi’s daughter, … More on that in this very interesting/entertaining read.

=> Personal note : Rey being Luke’s daughter could be the most obvious and therefor boring plot line but, nonetheless, makes the most sense. The original idea was that STAR WARS was going to be about three generations. You’d have the original trilogy, then go back to Luke’s father and find out what happened to him and if there was another seventh, eighth or ninth film, it would be about Luke’s children. However, Lucas changed his mind off and on. As announced by Lucasfilm, this recent trilogy also would mean the end of most of the existing Star Wars expanded universe, in order to give “maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience”.

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!

Who are Rey’s parents? What happened to Luke these past decades? Will Kylo Ren move to the light side of the Force? WHO IS THE LAST JEDI AND DOES THIS MEAN THE END OF THE JEDI ORDER???

What we know about ‘Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’ so far is that the action picks up immediately after the events of 2015’s ‘Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens’ which ended with the film’s heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) coming face-to-face with an elderly Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), now living a life of monastic solitude on a planet called Ahch-To.

Star-Wars-Force-Awakens-Alternate-Ending

The only information IMDB cares to share is the following:
Having taken her first steps into the larger Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.

Details about the plot are being kept under wraps, but director Rian Johnson has hinted that the film will be a war film, explaining that its tone was influenced by Second World War classics ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ and ‘Twelve O’Clock High’. “Particularly Twelve O’Clock High, a lot of that made it in there,” he said in July. “It ended up being a really personal part of it.”

Be prepared for some surprising plot twists. And potential kill offs… The Star Wars screenwriters have never been afraid of going all ‘Game Of Thrones’ and killing off main characters. Think of Obi-Wan, Yoda, Darth Vader, Han, … I can only imagine more favorite characters are likely to die. Possibly Luke Skywalker since the next trilogy (it has just been announced that Episodes X, XI and XII are coming) will move on from the Skywalker family. But then again, this is merely personal speculation.

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14 REASONS WHY Episode VIII will be another box office smashing blockbuster. THESE ARE THE FACTS: 

  1. It’s tradition: Star Wars is one of the most intergenerational movies in the history of cinema. Passed on from father/mother to son/daughter (trying not to be stereotypical here)
  2. It’s all about reconnecting to a lost childhood. #nostalgia!
  3. The movie trailer broke records. This is the first time people were actually aware of a trailer being able to do that. The clip shows Luke training Rey to use her Force powers on his rocky mountain outcrop, before telling her “I only know one truth – it’s time for the Jedi to end.” WATCH IT HERE
  4. There are too many questions that need answers ASAP. For instance: WHO IS THE LAST JEDI? Conveniently, Rian Johnson cleared this up speaking to the New York Times in September, he said the title referred to Skywalker, but added that there might be “wiggle room” for other interpretations. “Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies – everything is from a certain point of view – but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he has removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown.”
  5. It will be the last time you’ll see old school heroes Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford. *SNIF* The film will include a funeral for Han Solo, who was killed by his son Kylo Ren in ‘The Force Awakens’. Fisher will appear as Princess Leia one last time as all her scenes had been filmed by the time of her death in December 2016.
  6. These are films you just have to watch on the big screen.
  7. The Lucasfilm advertising machine promises us a mind blowing, not to miss, experience. Already interviewed in 2012 after the announcement of the new trilogy, Lucas biographer Dale Pollock already said that he had, in the 1980s, read the outlines to 12 Star Wars episodes planned by Lucas, but had been required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Pollock said: “The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.'”
  8. There are going to be more movies coming so you might as well jump on the train pronto if you don’t want to be left behind.
  9. It’s already a pretty sure thing that ‘Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’ will be a piece of brilliant work otherwise Lucasfilm would have never commit to hiring director Rian Johnson to helm a whole new trilogy (X, XI, XII) if they weren’t impressed with his work. One more reason to be excited about this latest development!
  10. RED FLAG: Something HUGE is about to happen. It is said that this 3rd trilogy will be the last one focussing on the Skywalker family. And chances are pretty real the makers won’t wait until Episode IX to begin this big shift. The red letters are a major RED FLAG!

 

This isn’t the first time the yellow logo has changed to red for a movie — both ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ had red logos. Both movies are the end of their respective trilogies, and also both considered to be the darkest. In Return, we’ve got Luke finally defeating the Emperor and the death of Darth Vader; with Revenge, we’ve got the fall of the Galactic Senate, the death of Padmé…and the death of Anakin Skywalker. Knowing that both movies featured a prominent Skywalker dying (even though they were both Anakin), this could mean Kylo Ren is going after his mother (Leia) and/or uncle (Luke) ending the Skywalker heritage?!

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  • Incoming: an evil R2-D2 !! Has R2-D2 moved over to the Dark Side??? Well, no… But after the introduction of BB-8 in ‘The Force Awakens’ there is more fresh droid blood on its way! BB-9E will make it’s introduction in ‘The Last Jedi’ as the evil version of BB-8. According to Disney he belongs to the “astromech unit of the First Order that keep their starships and machinery operational.” We don’t know much more about BB-9E except that he’s probably Kylo Ren’s sidekick.
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  • Crazy Celebrity Cameos. This is probably the main reason for fans of old UK boybands and the British monarchy to check out the movie. As it’s been said that Take That-singer Gary Barlow has been given a character of his own, while Prince Harry and Prince William will make an appearance as Stormtroopers.

    gary-barlow-joins-the-star-wars-cast-in-episode-viii-01.gif

    I Sith you not. The royal brothers payed a visit to Pinewood Studios last April and were completely fascinated as they explored the backstage area, and showed off their sibling rivalry with a playful lightsaber duel.

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    Actor John Boyega went on to confirm in a BBC Radio 4 interview that the royal brothers filmed cameos in the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The actor reportedly revealed that the Princes had non-speaking parts as Stormtroopers, although he believes their scene was cut from the movie. We will have to find out for ourselves!

    Tom-Hardy-Star-Wars-8-rumours-751344

    A big name that will definitely make an appearance as a Stormtrooper is TOM HARDY. Really following the footsteps of Daniel Craig (Hardy is said to become the new James Bond) who also played a Stormtrooper in the last Star Wars installment ‘The Force Awakens’. Find the clip hereNew major additions to the cast include Benicio Del Toro as an unnamed villain, Laura Dern as Resistance fighter Amilyn Holdo, and Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, another member of the Resistance.

    13. Look! It’s a new cuddly mascot!

    porgWhile ‘Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi’ had the Ewoks, a kind of living alien teddy-bear, ewoks
    The Last Jedi has porgs. According to LucasFilm these furry, birdlike creatures are native to the islands of Ahch-To, Luke Skywalker’s new home, so it’s possible the Jedi has befriended a few of them.

    14. Make up your own final reason why you wanna watch Episode VIII and start crossing your galaxy calendar!

    YOUR TRAINING HAS COME TO AN END. THANK YOU FOR APPLYING TO THE JEDI MASTER CLASS. WE SINCERELY HOPE YOU WILL CONTINUE TO PICK THE FRUITS OF YOUR TRAINING THROUGHOUT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

May the force be with you

kick-sparks

XO

OH RIGHT I ALMOST FORGOT! 

Since I have spent days putting this post together, doing a lot of research, reading a lot of theories, digging deeper… I came up with a personal theory on the future narrative of the saga.

Investigating the background of Kylo Ren’s name, I discovered that the expression number of the name ‘Kylo’ is 9 which basically means the following:

“Kylo are idealistic who embrace the principles of compassion and forgiveness. Kylo are visionary who is wiling to make a better world and have the ability to influence masses. Kylo are also creative and imaginative that gives them an artistic talent.”

My educated guess? Kylo Ren will eventually step over to the Light Side and will marry Rey in some reversed Anakin-Padmé story.  They will have kids of their own who will carry out the next Star Wars generation and in their turn will flirt with the Light and the Dark Side of the Force. ‘The Last Jedi’ trailer basically confirms this theory with Kylo Ren reaching out his hand to Rey.

Got any Star Wars theories of your own? Feel free to share them!

Thank you for listening, the exam will be TOMORROW.

XO

 

The S C A M

(***Attention: this could be my blondest and defo most clueless post to date.)

So these last few months I have been cooking up a plan. Like I always do.

Several weeks ago I had put up a message on Facebook stating I was looking for a fever cabin to pursue a new adventure.

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The main goal of it all was to move out of Antwerp, take my job with me, and live somewhere I could write and live at the same time. It could be Belgium, but then I started considering the bigger picture.

There were a few things that worked in my advantage:

  • My roommate gave up the lease of his apartment and went to live with his lover which meant I had to move out anyway
  • The roaming costs abroad suddenly got cancelled which means you can make phone calls to and from Europe without a financial hangover. (Well… it depends how much of course)
  • I started up my own business which basically means I can take my writing all over the world…

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The borders had been lifted and I suddenly remembered me being in Canada talking to my good friend Audrey. We had just celebrated Christmas and the New Year was a couple of days shy. I told her I wanted to live in Berlin for a couple of months.

You: “Berlin? Why Berlin?”

Me: “Dunno. Just to be there and have a change of scenery…”

You: “Why not Barcelona or Bali…or…Barcelona?”

Me: “Because I’m a non conformist, an anti establishment hippie who needs distraction and action PREFERABLY from like-minded people and ESPECIALLY from men with neck and nuckle tattoos.”

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Yes…Help me.

So: After Canada I went back to Antwerp from where I pursued a career as an independent writer and I started making serious plans to set up base in Berlin.

I went for a short visit in June.

You probably remember the TRAVELING THREESOME POSTS from Berlin, don’t cha?

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So much fun ❤

And in July I took the BIG STEP and started looking for a room to move into.

You: “WoW it’s like you moved there in a blink of an eye!”

Me: “Not so fast…”

The universe decided to test me. BIG TIME.

Reality Check

I came in contact with someone who was subletting a room in Berlin.

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We sent e-mails back and forth and I decided the time was right. I took the room, payed a deposit

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but ended up… ROYAL F U C K E D.

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The room turned out to be a scam.

It didn’t exist. Merely in my imagination and in the perfectly portrayed fairytale the so-called owner painted for me.

I lost a lot of money.

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You:  “How much?????”

Enough to pay for this giant Darth Vader head which costs…. Well if you can read the 4 digit number on the price tag you surely don’t have to visit an eye doctor …

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You:

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It was a setback. A massive one.

I couldn’t believe that ME, the so-called investigative journalist, could fall for a scam like that?

How blonde and clueless could one be??

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You: “So how did you found out it was a scam, Evvy?”

The name with which she…or he… operated is in fact an existing name and it belongs to a girl. A girl who got scammed whilst looking for a room in Munich. She had given her passport information and that’s when her identity was abused to scam other people. Including me.

Now, if you see me somewhere on the internet subletting rooms in Barcelona, Delhi or New York don’t pay me any deposit and report me to you nearest police station. Thank you.

I went through a terrible low after the scam. I lost so much money. Money I worked hard for as a fresh starter-upper. Money I won’t ever see again.

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After a few weeks time, my bank confirmed me that the account where I sent the money to was emptied and closed down. The lead had turn cold. The police couldn’t do anything either. They had to drop the case.

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I was reconsidering my entire plan. But I wanted to go to Berlin so darn bad… It had been my New Year’s resolution. And I needed to find a new place to live anyway. Either in Belgium or somewhere else.

I decided to give it one more go. I wouldn’t let my dream be crushed by one bad person.

I decided to put up a message on a housing website stating I got scammed and I was wanting to give things a second chance.

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I got quite some response to my -let’s be honest: very sad- message. People were sending me photos of their refrigerator. Telling me I was welcome to stay for dinner. Also a lot of Indian guys responded to me, telling me they would be happy to comfort me *wink wink*.

But then I got a private message from a lady. A single mother of two. Who would start looking for a new room mate in a couple of weeks but decided to let me know I would be slightly in the advantage of becoming her new roomie.

Every cloud has a silver lining. That’s fo sho. And regarding that scammer: I sincerely hope KARMA is a ball busting bitch!

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

The plan was still on. And I prepared for my big evacuation.

I made things official in the bar. They knew my final bar tending days were coming and I slowly but surely started planning and moving my stuff out of the apartment.

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= > SHIPPING OUT

My last weeks in Antwerp were my best. I shared a goodbye beer with my favorite customer, went to the Pride with my two favorite men, went for a bike ride with dad and had a vegan pizza with mom!

 

 

I had a great time saying goodbye to my friends but I needed to move on. I had decided. So I persisted.

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I am now happy to tell you I am currently living in a wonderful very much existing room in the center of Berlin.

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My lovely street in P Berg! ❤

I am meeting lots of new people, discovering new places and things every day. And I am doing a lot of writing here.

For those of you who are in need of some juicy copywriting and/or storytelling or who want to help me earn my money back, I am open for business and happy to be of service right here in my Berlin office! CONSIDER THIS AS A GOOD CAUSE HELPING THE POOR! => www.eveliendelgouffe.com !

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One of my many writing spots ❤

Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

flowersforlioba

XO

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 3 : Mauerpark and Bearpit Karaoke

Previous posts I told you I would share with you the THREE highlights of my recent THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin.

The traveling threesome being:

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(From L-R: my roommate @cedriclav, his boyfriend @michaelvdp80 and me @eveliendelgouffe)

Third and final highlight: Mauerpark! 

#genau!

So to wrap it up: after our night out in Berghain (2nd Berlin highlight) I went to a spinning class @ BECYCLE 4 hours later (1st Berlin highlight) and we had a big frühstück in Commonground. After that we went for a stroll along the Kastanienallee and found our way to : MAUERPARK

Actually meaning ‘wall park’, Mauerpark used to be the place where the Berlin Wall separated the neighborhoods Wedding (West Berlin) and Prenzlauer Berg (East Berlin) during the Cold War. Now, and especially on Sundays, this is the favorite recreational hangout for locals, tourists, basketball players, gypsies, wanderers AND TRAVELING THREESOMES… to enjoy the flea market, numerous food stands and barbecues and overall good vibes.

It was a particularly hot and sunny day and a lot of people were having a good time in the park. It was like the Glastonbury festival but without the commercial branding and mud and with much more hippies and gypsies floating around. Love and peace yo!

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I experienced a genuine Woodstock vibe, (…) or how I picture it must have looked like.

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People were smiling, dancing, eating, drinking, … and SINGING.

On strategic points singer-songwriters had put down their guitar case, wired up a microphone and started to connect to people through their very own bedroom-made music. Some had a lot of onlookers and fans straight away. Others had to put in a little extra effort… I particularly liked this girl who was mixing ‘Cater to U’ from Destiny’s Child into some crazy alternative dance tune. Her name is FriDa MallOo. Check out her soundcloud here.

But the musical highlight of our THREESOME SUNDAY STROLL was undoubtedly the BEARPIT KARAOKE.

We arrived at the park at around 3pm when we saw a flock of people installing themselves at the stone amphitheatre. We figured there would be some theater thing or a hocus pocus show for kids so we didn’t really give it much attention at first but after half an hour it was pretty clear more people were checking it out and there was a very enthusiastic crowd.

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One guy holding a mic was cheering them up. We found out his name is Joe Hatchiban, a guy from Dublin. Back in 2009 he and some friends hit upon the idea of cycling around the city with his new cargo bike, equipped with a speaker, laptop and microphone, trying to film people doing karaoke.  (=> Why does every genius idea involve a bicycle? 🙂 )

He and his portable, battery-powered boxes have been helping people to unleash their deepest feelings ever since.

Visitors from all over the globe can seize their 3 minutes of fame and take part in this afternoon’s installment of a Berlin phenomenon.

Without fear of being laughed at or harshly criticized. Bearpit singers nearly always get huge rounds of supportive applause, especially when they’re good, but also if they simply come across as nice people.

For the past 18 years millions of visitors and locals have been flocking to the open-air karaoke sessions on Sunday afternoons in the Mauerpark, which stretches along part of the former death strip between East and West Berlin.

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Here I am facing a 800 m strip of the Berlin Wall still standing in the park today as a monument, and a popular place for graffiti artists to paint and display their work.

We watched the show for hours and hours. There was such a good vibe and people were so supportive for one another, it was beyond anything I had ever experienced. It was a glimpse of a perfect world. With no rejection, superiority or judgement. This was a sweet sweet lovin sensation. A mexican papi letting his true emotions out with ‘Purple Rain’, some chick from Kansas belting out ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele, a girl in a wheelchair performing ‘Numb’ by Linkin Park. It was just so nice to see all this people connecting and supporting each other. Goosebumps and watery eyes guaranteed with the 1500 onlookers. Including us.

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Crying away behind our sunglasses.

So much history took place on this stretch of land. So much separation, discrimination, hate and repression. Death too. It was good to see Berlin is building bridges instead of walls.

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Or walls of togetherness in this case.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect THREE DAY THREESOME TRIP. I couldn’t have wished for a better way for this trip to come about. I had my cycling fun, I had my breakfast fun, I danced in my bra in the most infamous club in the world and I enjoyed a world of fun at the park on Sunday.

I’m hooked!

Ich bin ein BerLIENer!

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Thanks for reading and supporting the ❤ here @ Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless.com

And especially for you, let’s give it up for yourself for a round of BEARPIT KARAOKE with an appropriate feel good song! :

TAKE IT AWAY GIRLS AND BOYS!

XO

 

G I R L B O S S

(*** Caution: this read contains a shit load of swear words and was established after sitting behind a computer for 18 hours straight ***)

Last time I was at the dentist, I had an epiphany and a strange dream encounter with Dorian Gray, Fjodor Dostojevski and… some other dude I can’t remember. If you ALSO don’t remember, you should definitely read this first before we continue.

XXX

Last week I was back in the horizontal chair of torture. This time I didn’t have to undergo surgery. I just went in to check if there were any cavities that needed to be filled. Now, I have a lot of voids in my life that need filling, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have cavities. I go on yearly check-ups, like, every year (…). I’ve been getting the green light time after time and multiple ‘congratulations’ on my oral hygiene. I’m sure this is just a waste of time.

Dentist: “Hello there Evelien. Been on any adventures lately?”

Me: “No I’m keeping it on the low down these days doc. Ya know, saving some dough. Keepin it real ya know what I’m sayin’?” $

(I don’t actually talk gangsta to my dentist. I don’t know how it came out this wrong)

Dentist: “Let’s have a look, shall we?”

As I laid down and the bright light hit my eyes and partially blinded me, I opened wide.

I felt some scratching, some polishing and then… the most disturbing sound of all… :

A ‘hum’.

Followed by:

Dentist: “This is a little disturbing.”

Me: “wjhgjkzrh?”

Of course I couldn’t ask ‘What is?’ with this guy’s fingers still in my mouth.

Dentist: “There are four fillings that need to be re-done. But the main problem is this crack in your molar. If this turns out to be a coronal fracture, we will need to call up the lab and place a dental crown. The bad news is this doesn’t get refunded by the state. The worst news is that it will cost approximately 700 euros. Or more.”

Me: “Fuck me in the dick!”

Dentist: “Errm, not that it’s my area of expertise but I’m pretty sure that’s anatomically impossible.”

Me: “Why does shit like this always happen to me at the worst possible time?”

Phone rings.

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Dentist: “Ahm…It’s for you”

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Me: “Whodis?” $

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Voice : “Maybe now this is a good time to establish your future.”

Me: “Whut?”

Voice: “This is your wake up call.”

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Voice: “This where the road stops. It’s time you make a choice.”

 

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Me: “No more candy for me Morpheus. Can’t you see I’m in a dentist chair here? I’m already picking my teeth about how I’m gonna pay for all this. Haven’t you heard this gig is probably going to cost me hundreds of euros?”

Me (seemingly swearing out of nowhere): “Fo fuck’s sake!”

Morpheus: “Seriously. Hasn’t Kung Fu School taught you anything? Are you still doing your Qi Gong every day? You need to focus, woman. And choose a life.”

chooselife

Me: “Ha! That’s a different movie.”

Morpheus: “This is YOUR movie. I can use whatever quote that pops into your mind.”

Me: “In that case I don’t have to follow the script. I choose the white rabbit.”

whiterabbit

“Ooh, can I name it Jefferson Airplane?”

Morpheus: “Have you been getting my messages?”

Me: “You mean this confetti card?”

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Morpheus: “No you annoying c… . THIS message.”

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Me: “Oh that virus infested thing? I erased that fucker beyond thunderdome.”

Morpheus: “God damn, woman. I have been sending you valuable messages in order to start your own business.”

Me: “My own business? I don’t even own a home, how can I own my own freaking business?”

Morpheus: “You don’t need a home. All you need is an url for your webiste. And a decent internet connection. Decipher the code. Then you will unlock your future.”

Me: “But I don’t know jack about binary codes.”

Morpheus: “Follow me.”

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rabbithole

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Me: “Err….Where are we?”

Morpheus: “San Francisco. You’re on the set of a TV show.”

Me looking in the rear-view mirror: “Whoa, who’s the hottie?”

Morpheus: “That’s Britt Robertson. You have morphed into her character Sophia. She will help you start your business.”

Me: “But business in what? I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do?!”

Morpheus:

door

*Morpheus out*

Motherf*cker. Now I’m stuck in this hot body somewhere in San Francisco (…) with a killer waist line (…) an apartment of my own (…) and an online business that will turn into gold over the next seasons? Damn! I’M NEVER MOVING OUT OF THE MATRIX AGAIN!

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Me: “Okay let’s find out what this chick is up to.”

sophia

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Me: “Wait a hot minute….She sells vintage clothes over the internet….By the name NastyGal? I’ve purchased here! This is the beginning of an empire!”

But why am I here to witness this? I don’t even want to sell clothes online. If anything I would open my own coffee bar, but that shit market is saturated.”

I need to call Morpheus. He needs to bring me back to my life.

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“Come on motherf*cker pick up.”

 

Me leaving a message on his voicemail:

“Yo Morpheus, this has been a lot of fun but I need to get back to my dentist chair en pay my bill. Could you call me back please? ASAP?!”

I’m screwed! Now I’m stuck in this character, needing to continue the narrative and I don’t know what the fuck I have to do. How did she turn NastyGal into a successful company? I should show more interest in these kind of things!

So now I am not only figuring out my own mess. Now I need to figure out this chick’s life too.

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“Isn’t there like a script or something lying around here?!”

(Knock knock)

Oh great, another character intervenes. The plot thickens! Fuck it, I’m not answering the door.

(Knock knock knock)

Oh for fuck’s sake.

(Aggressively opens door) : “WHAT?!”

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“Ehm, hi Sophia…. I wondered if you wanted to share some ice cream….”

Me: “Errr, …, no, no sorry I can’t. I have a dentist appointment….err, later tonight…”

Hot guy: “A dentist appointment? With the Chinese dude downstairs?”

Me: “No… with err… doctor Morpheus… Yeah, he’s supposed to be the best in town.”

Hot guy: “That’s funny. Aren’t you walking around with a hernia sticking out of your lower abdomen because you don’t have health insurance.”

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Me: “Errrr, (this girl doesn’t have health insurance? At least I have that going for me back home!) That’s correct! But he’s a friend of my dad’s so he’s offering it for free…. It’s probably just a waste of spit anyway. My check ups are always A-OK.”

Hot guy: “Ok I will be around if you change your mind.”

Me: “Alrightie bye-bye now.”

Damn! Was this guy a hot piece of ass! I wonder if he’s my boyfriend? Should I have kissed him? No time for romantics. I need to escape this bubble right now before I get knee-deep.

8 hours later:

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Me: “FUCK! This is what 9 months of no sex does with a person. One hot guy shows up and I cave like pudding. Sorry I need to scram and find a way out of this gorgeous body.”

Hot guy: “Ahm, …”

Morpheus: “Hello you have reached Morpheus’ voicemail. For entering the Matrix dial 1. For escaping the Matrix *tuuuuuuuuuut*”

shit

I guess there’s only one thing I can do.

Suck it up…

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And check in for some retail therapy.

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After all, it seemed like the most plausible thing my character would do.

Shop manager: “Excuse me miss, you were here yesterday and forgot to pay for your sunglasses.”

Me: “What?! Are you accusing me of shoplifting?”

Shop manager: “That’s right.”

Me: “Look pal, I didn’t steal anything alright? I only just entered this body 12 hours ago. If it’s any consolation, my character is about to start an online business that will go global and make a lot of money. Once I receive my first pay check, I will pay for the so-called stolen sunglasses. I just need to get out of this Matrix and get back home so I can continue my life and Sophia can do the same.”

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“I need to get out of here.”

If Morpheus won’t help me, I will break this Matrix open myself!

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“Get out of the way! I got cappuccinos to serve and columns to write!”

15 minutes later:

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45 minutes later:

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Me: “And that’s how I ended up with my car on your curb.”

Old lady: “Damn girl, you’ve been on quite some adventure. Sounds to me your life isn’t all that bad back home. You got that column working for you. Even though it sounds like a bunch of whining about not finding a suitable mate.”

Me: “Hey!

whining column

Old lady: “Seems you’re crying over spilt milk. Just like your car, your life is waiting for you to kick start the engine. If I were you, I would find a way to make a living out of independent writing. And maybe even try the YouTuber thing. You never know where it takes you.”

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Me: “It all seems such a fuck load of work. I don’t know if I can do this all by myself. I have been refusing to start freelancing. I’m scared to take the jump and pay most of my income to taxes and shit. What if I work my ass off and not even make a decent living?”

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Me: “What in the ass, lady?!”

Old lady: “First of all: you swear too much. And second of all: you think too much. Either you take the risk. Or stay stranded forever.”

Me: “I’m afraid I will be stranded here forever.”

(phone rings)

Me: “OH MY GOD IT’S MORPHEUS. I GOTTA TAKE THIS.”

Me: “Yes….Yes….Golden Gate Bridge? Got it! But there’s one thing I got to do. Give me 35 minutes.”

30 minutes later:

sophiashane
Me: “It was really nice meeting you. Sophia is a lucky girl but I have five minutes to get to the Golden Gate Bridge and out of this Matrix. Take care!”

Hot guy: “Ahm, …”

4,5 minutes later:

I’M HEEEEEEEERE! 

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Morpheus: “Take a seat…”

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Morpheus: “… And put your stolen sunglasses on.”

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aloce

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Dentist: “And we’re all done! Good news: the coronal fracture doesn’t go completely through. I inserted a serum that will hold everything together. Best news: it’s completely free. Congratulations you just saved yourself 700 euros.”

Me: “That’s exactly the amount I need to pay for my first quarter of independence!”

Dentist: “Ahm what?”

Me: “Morpheus was right! I’ve been shown the door. Now I just gotta walk through it.”

Bitches -err- World, here I come!

XO

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(This post was powered by ‘The Matrix’, ‘Trainspotting’, Netflix TV show ‘Girlboss’, black coffee and fried rice with chicken. Oh, and some tic tacs.)

 

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.

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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.

Tsahaylu

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.

justdoit

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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The beast of competition

HI-DE-HOO!

You: “Well Ev, you’re cheery. I thought you would be having the ol’ travel blues since you got back from Canada. Plus: looking at where you were last year, you probably will be full of nostalgia.”

That is correct You-san. Facebook does punch me in the face with anniversaries of precious moments I lived last year. January 29th it was one year ago I was standing on The Bluff overviewing one of the most amazing views of my life. Yesterday it was the anniversary of the first time I drove on the left.

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And I will be confronted with many more precious memories in the weeks to come. But blue? …

I kinda like the color blue.

It also happened to be the color of the car I represented at the Car Expo in Brussels a couple of weeks ago.

As you may know, I returned from Canada on January 9th and the next day I was already attending training sessions to become a car sales(wo)man for MINI.

I applied for the job months ago and around September I found out I was hired. The company even had so much confidence in me they put me responsible for their newest model. The European premiere of the new and improved MINI COUNTRYMAN.

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I could totally see myself driving this ‘Island Blue’ baby on the left side of the road.

It kinda gave me some cold sweats knowing I would be in charge of one of the most sought after models of the event, but I was honored they confided in me.

Hell, I wouldn’t if I were them!

But there I was. Friday the 13th of January. All dressed up to sell my car to the audience for the next ten days.

Our team would work long days. Getting up early in the morning, walking and talking for at least 9 hours straight, driving home, eating and going to bed at a reasonable hour to repeat everything the next morning.

It’s like living in a bubble with very little to no time at all to do anything else.

Actually….

It’s kind of like participating in a big cycling race!

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You get together every morning for team briefing. By that time you’re already fully dressed and equipped for another day on the super hero front. You will kick ass. You will not shark around. You will get the job done. And by the end of the day there’s the sweet release of food and sleep.

Plus: there is a classification. Every day there is a team winner. Someone who did the upmost. Someone who deserves the 24 hour title of ‘Sales(wo)man of the day’. Presents are handed out. Stats are being showed.

And every time we would be reminded of one thing: to aim higher each day.

It was the first time I was engaging in something this competitive. And I was feeling something inside of me I had never thought I possessed: the beast of competition.

Even though the newspaper business was and is a very competitive business too, I never really played my cards that way. I just did my thing in the hopes it would all turn out well. Sure I was happy whenever I would have a scoop someone else didn’t have, but I easily could have lived without that adrenalin rush. It was just a nice little extra on top of the rest of the work.

But now, the tables had turned. I was eager to do a great job. To kick ass and to make me, MINI and the agency  who got me this job, proud.

Battle mode on √

The setting was great. I was in charge of the most adventurous car. I found its identity to be more than meets the eye. Still a MINI, but also spacious, well thought out of the box. I identified with this car. I figured if I would throw in a little wit, a little charm, I could sell this puppy like sweet cherry pie.

But my car was a Diesel. So I started off a little slow too. I was assured I would attain my top speed in no time and from then on be unstoppable. On my third day I was doing so great, I was convinced I would become ‘Saleswoman of the day’.

The next morning I was all ready to receive my prize. I was cheery and confident and ready for another day of ass kicking.

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“I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky”

Team leader: “Okay team, let’s look at some statistics from yesterday’s leads. As you can see, you are doing a magnificent job! We are attaining our goals and even going the extra mile. Sales team, I am extremely proud of how you’re doing. And yesterday one person in particular did a great job and deserves to be sales person of the day. That person is…”

Me: “This is it, this is my moment of glory.”

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Team Leader: “Mike!”

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I didn’t understand. Mike told me he had a bad day yesterday. And here he is, being elected to Salesman of the day…

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I was feeling so low. I knew I shouldn’t let this get to me. I’m doing a great job. If the rest won’t acknowledge that, I will just have to keep doing what I’m doing until they do.

After a brief zen meditation in the toilet…

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I decided to continue the work I was doing. Soon as the visitors arrived, I was back in the game. Dispensing all the valuable information people wanted from me in Dutch, English and French. Interacting with children and showing them some cool features.

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And then there it was. The thing that melted all my sorrows away. The cutest little baby in a pink baby carriage.

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Me: “Oh my! Aren’t you the cutest little baby in the world!” I reached out my hand to pet it on the little head, when it suddenly turned around and changed into an absolute…

chihuahua

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MONSTER!

The little bitch (it’s a dog, I’m allowed to use that word) bit me right in the index finger and kept holding it between her little, but very sharp, teeth for a good 10 seconds.

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I screamed. When the dog finally let go she was barking and making a scene as if I had just molested her. I didn’t know what to do or say, and was keeping my hand behind my back, rubbing my thumb over my index finger to find out if it was bleeding or not. I didn’t want to look at it since I already fainted once from a bleeding finger and I didn’t want it to happen again. I had a goal to attain! And Sales(wo)men of the day don’t faint!

Owner: “No, no, no you can’t do that! Not while she’s in her carriage.”

Me: “Well good God woman! You could at least have a sign or some warning attached to her stroller!”

Maybe this was the sign. Maybe, this little calamity, was my warning to not get too caught up in the act. And the chihuahuas muzzle was just a metaphor.

All day I was out of my element because of that dog.

Eventually I generated some leads but I wasn’t at my best. The next morning I wasn’t elected. But that was no surprise.

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I decided to lick my wounds and just focus on the job. After all, helping people find the car of their requirements was already pretty rewarding too. And that night we would order pizza for the entire team. So I had something to look forward to.

Our outfits were sent to the dry cleaners and everybody was just wearing jeans and sneakers to the occasion. I was wearing the black bear I scored in Canada. Read: the faux fur I bought at Value Village.

Team leader: “Woah Evelien, thats a pretty big coat.”

Me: “Yep, I’m a pimp in real life.”

pim

Bitches call me Gator

I took a slice of pepperoni pizza and considered talking to our team leader. After all, two days had passed since my little bathroom tantrum and I still hadn’t made it to Saleswoman of the day. Almost everyone of our team had already been elected. But I was staying neglected.

Me: “Say…. Team leader. Does the fact that I haven’t been ‘Saleswoman of the day’ yet, a sign that I’m behind in the classification?”

Team leader: “Not at all. You’re doing a really good job. We always try to make everybody Salesperson of the day at least once. The fact that it takes a long time with you is because we think you don’t need that reassurance as much as some other people on the team. We kinda presumed you were pretty confident about what you did.”

Me: “Yeah, totally…”

I wanted to disappear behind a pizza box. I had been such a fool. Getting carried away by my emotions.

pimps

I should have known by now to never doubt my work and what I’m capable of.

The day after, this trooper got named Saleswoman of the Day. I got a beautiful pen and an applause from my team mates. By then we were already a strong team and that was the biggest reward to me. To be part of that. And to help each other get over the finish line in one piece.

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You: “Talking of cycling, how is your so-called cycling career going?”

Me: “I thought you’d never ask!”

I am glad to announce I will be participating in quite a challenging race in less than 10 weeks to come. I have been training really hard and hope to be ready just in time.

Everybody around me has been really encouraging.

At a recent family outing -where I wasn’t present- my mother was telling her kin about my participation.

Kin: “Err..the chance she will make it till the finish line is pretty…”

My mother: “Small?”

Kin: “Non existent.”

It was only days later I found out about their little conversation.

Well let me tell you all a little something about Evelien Delgouffe:

SHE DOESN’T QUIT. 

End of story.

I am a MINI Saleswoman of the Day (Yes, you get to wear the title for the rest of your years, it’s kind of like being Miss Universe). I may appear small on the outside. But I am surprisingly powerful on the inside.

Plus! I have the advantage of a hidden engine.

You: “A hidden engine in your bike frame?!”

Me: My mind.

yoda

I have grazed skin on my ass. And my lady parts feels like punched lasagna. Don’t tell me I won’t make it until you suffer from one of these discomforts yourself.

Youdisgustedface

“Wouldn’t you be better off putting more energy in a career than shitting away precious energy for some cycling interlude?” Someone recently asked me.

My answer:

I need this.

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This is a way to re-energize me for my professional life.

Don’t forget I was near burnout by the end of 2015.

I wanna return healthy and fit.

I have been healthy and fit for some months now. From the moment I left for Australia it felt like the weight of the world fell off my shoulders. I was driving in Australia hoping one day I would be like those amateur cyclists I saw riding on the side of the road. In the hot summer sun. Free. One with the outdoors. Fit.

One year later I am training.

My bike makes me feel good about myself. Gives me the energy I need. Makes me strong. Healthy and young. Bikes keep people young, people!

But most importantly: my bike reminds me I have no limits.

I will never take “No you can’t” for an answer.

I am a believer.

It’s my default preset.

Like the ‘Mini’ who kept believing he could be a ‘Maxi’.

That’s what gets me through all my challenges. Whether it is writing stories, going on far away adventures or selling freedom on four wheels.

mini

The day after the Car Expo ended, it was officially Blue Monday. Last year I left for Australia on Blue Monday. I wanted to leave on the most depressing day of the year. This year Blue Monday was -just like my Countryman- an Island Blue Monday. Filled with good vibes and memories. The 1390 liters of maximum trunk space. And that suited me just fine…

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Always remember to live in the now. And appreciate what you’re doing now. Even if it’s planning a holiday, prepping yourself for a night out with friends, making your first home made lasagna (sorry if I ruined this for you). It’s precious memory making. SO LIVE NOW. You probably will never get these moments back.

Also: don’t be afraid to be competitive or fight for what’s important to you. Even if it’s unlikely you’ll succeed. You will never know for sure, until you try. People will always try to knock you down. Unfortunately, it’s their default preset. When they do. Just remember to:


1) Not give a fuck

2) Get back up again.

XO

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?

miley

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.

jellybeans

(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:

mindblown

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.

thelma

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

Jingle bells, the game of life smells

I did it again.

Just like your world-class villain,

I fled the country.

I wasn’t planning on jumping on a plane. I was thinking about going to the forest just a two hour drive away and rent a cottage there to do some reminiscing.

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Well, I am in a foresty area. Just not a two hour drive away but more like 3.743 miles away.

I’m currently in the land of the maple tree, the birth town of Justin Bieber and Jim Carrey, a place wear I can wear jeans on jeans and watch lumber jacks in checkered shirts all day. I’m talking ‘aboet‘:

CAN-A-DA!

… CANA-DA! …

… CA-NA-DA!

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You guys all know I took a 2016 gap year to travel and widen my horizons. Well, my break year is almost coming to an end now. Starting February 2017 I have to get back to work in some form or way. And since I have not yet got the faintest idea of what I want to do with my life, I felt I should go looking for answers once again.

Australia, China an Japan provided me with a lot of insights but I was still not clear on a couple of things. So I decided to go west this time. And visit that other part of this globe in order to make the circle round and my world trip complete. Just in time for the new year. And just in time for US citizens to flee from Trump’s presidency and shit all over the canadian heritage.

It isn’t only a good thing for me. My room mate is happy to have me out of the house for a couple of weeks. The people at the café don’t have to drink crappy cappuccinos any more and you get to read about another exciting adventure. Everybody gains!

You: “I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are glad we don’t have to read any more fake interviews with yourself.”

Me: “You’re absolutely right. It must be hard to cope with the fact I actually get interviewed and you don’t.”

Anyway. After a little more than three months of being back in Belgium, I really needed to get away again. I felt like the walls were coming at me. I felt the stress of the deadline strangling me. And worse: I was starting to lose my Kung Fu zen.

Ok, catch the joke:

I was borderline burnout when I left for Australia at the beginning of this year, right? Well, compared to where I am now, I was a freaking optimist back then! The girl that strongly believed everything happens for a reason, who believes in destiny and destination, who romanticizes everything and everyone, has suffered one too many letdowns on her quest. On top of that: her days of working as a bar maid injected her with a shot of realism and she started to throw all her beliefs overboard. Everything she fought and travelled for. She was tired of fighting against the prejudice of others. Just about ready to surrender to safe mediocrity, just so everybody would stop giving her a hard time about how to live her life.

I couldn’t let that happen. I needed to get the faith back.

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Damn right Georgie ❤

So Friday the 23rd I jumped on the plane to Toronto, Lester B. Pearson International Airport. To fly right into the arms of Celine. My Canadian room mate I met in the Kung Fu school in China and with whom I spent one of my best times with this year. She is my spirit animal and thought me not to hope, but trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in the universe. Trust in a happy end. She is incredibly centered and always has a way of dealing with life graciously.

She picked me up at the airport and stayed at her sister’s place in Guelph, Ontario to spend the day before Christmas with them. It felt great to be smothered and welcomed by such a warm family. It was as if I was being cradled like a baby. Being fed candy canes and chocolate.

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Celine’s sister: “So Celine tells me you’re a writer.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve been working as a newspaper reporter for over half a decade. I started as a showbizz journo attending all these events and red carpets. Then I got promoted. Then I got promoted again. And again and again and that’s when I decided to quit my job for a year.”

By the look of her face, it seemed as if I had just thrown an amazing turkey sandwich with a moist maker in the trash.

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I know it’s impossible for a lot of people to understand. Heck, I don’t understand myself most of the time either. All I know is: the balance was off, the formula didn’t work and now I’m looking for the right balance in order to live a happy and fulfilling life molded to my terms and needs.

And that comes with a lot of trial and error. And with a lot of doubt. I am constantly in doubt. I’m constantly doubting what I want. Even after a year of unplugging and reconnecting with myself.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for me but I feel I want way too much out of this life. I have too much attention for everything going on around me and question everything that goes on around me. I’m on life’s ass with a magnifying glass. I just wish I could shut up my brain for five seconds and just chose a life and stick with it. Be happy with a job I’m good at. Get rid of all this worrying and just find a balance. I know my previous life wasn’t bad. But it’s just not me any more. I opened too many doors to return to the exact same way it was.

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My poor aching gulliver

The kids were making gingerbread houses in the kitchen. I joined them but soon realized my building units were a little off. I refused looking at the guidelines since I was too lazy to lift the box and started making something out of it. I went for a flat roof and with the two redundant panels I made little christmas trees for the yard and the roof. I had my own little unique cottage. My own Dr. Suess dream house.

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See? You don’t always have to follow instructions. Dare to break the rules.

Gingerbread therapy was doing great for me. I was happy my stubbornness started to get back to me. But then somebody opened the door to all hell. Somebody took out the board game that would unleash mayhem on everybody!

You:

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Me: “No, The Game of Life.”

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It’s a people’s guideline to living a life without a spark of imagination. A wheel of fortune which tricks kid’s minds and teaches them all the wrong values. In all the wrong orders. Only five steps into the game it already orders you to grow up, choose between a degree or a career, get a house, get some children, cough up money for a loan, work work work work work and at the end of the game you get to decide whether you want to retire on A. Countryside acres or B. Millionaire mansion.

There is only a gazillion things wrong with this board game. For starters you cannot deny to get married or to have kids. If the game says so, you have to put two little ones and a hubby in that little plastic car with you. A blue pawn if it’s a boy. A pink one if it’s a girl.

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Forget all that gender neutral stuff. Or unmarried moms. Or free spirited people not wanting to have a full time job, an overly expensive car and all that jazz. If you don’t meet those standards then you’re dead meat. Don’t even think of having a comfortable old day either, punk.

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“Stay on the safe side of life kids, otherwise you’ll end up in the gutter!”

What bothers me the most is that kids get brought up with these overly strict and outdated christian values. It’s basically learning you how to not think for yourself and just follow a blueprint everybody else is already following and chances are likely you will stay in the game. Don’t take risks!

… It’s a totally different board game…

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And it will only get you into trouble.

Before you know it you’re stuck in a household losing every single bit of control – “I can’t buy no beach house in California, I gots mouths to feed!”-  just because you chose to be dictated a certain way.

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If you don’t want the textbook/blueprint life, don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Stay true to what you want to do with your life. Your own balance. Some will say your life elixir tastes too sweet. Or too sour. But tastes differ. And everybody should sweep in front of their own door first!

Me: “I’m getting bored of this life.”

I was just about to throw my money over to the bank when my eyes watered up to the rims of my glasses. The kitchen and living room started to fill up with smoke and spices.

Celine’s sister: “Kids, the turkey’s ready!”

Me: “Gobble gobble, let me see!”

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Isn’t she a beaut?

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Celine’s dad flipping the bird. How rude.

(Enter narrator’s voice:)

“It was a first Christmas miracle to a girl who wasn’t familiar with this way of celebrating Christmas. And the first of many to come…”

Read all about my magically mirrory Christmas Eve celebration next! Where an angel in Grinch clothing lighted my path!

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To be continued in a day or two.
I gots mouths to feed y’know.

XO

Freaks + geeks

There was a girl who talked to freaks.

You: ?

Me (hissing): “Shut up, I’m quoting some poetry here.”

*ahum*

There was a girl who talked to freaks
She understood them, and they her
One day she looked into a crystal stream
and saw in its bed a diamond
she picked it up and placed it in her hair

she did so

as she did so, she turned into a freak
it was then revealed that the other freaks,
she magically had understood,
were once human like her

You: “Mmmkay that doesn’t make sense, Ev.”

Well it’s an adaptation of a Cocorosie song which I geniusly altered to my new favorite tv show :

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You can watch it on Netflix. Or try Youtube for free!

It’s kinda like ‘That 70’s Show’ but situated in the 80’s. And it has been around for ages. It was the first acting gig for a lot of actors who became famous later on.

It’s about this achiever kid Lindsay who is a mathlete, decides not to be a geek anymore but to hang out with a bunch of burnouts instead.

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Hell I would be a burnout if I could hang with James Franco and Seth Rogan.

Squat goals!

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Errr, I mean squad goals.

Freaks and Geeks - Season 1

L-R: Seth Rogen as Ken Miller, Jason Segel as Nick Andopolis, Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir, and James Franco as Daniel Desario

I have always fancied James Franco as an actor but after seeing him on ‘Freaks and Geeks’ I desperately want to sodomize him.

You: ???

Me: Well, I hear he’s gay but he doesn’t want the world to know about it.

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Anyway. Some of the plot lines are very adaptable to my life. Apart from the fact I’m not in school anymore and I don’t smoke weed (that often): I’m a definite burnout! I’m channeling my inner punk. Heck, I even sneakily blasted ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ by the Sex Pistols through the speakers the other day.

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Well, relax. I’m not going to walk around with egg white spikes in my hair or walk the streets with a head full of acid, but I do understand the punk way of thinking.

I don’t know if it’s the trashy Berlin vibe of the café I work at, the tattoo TV shows I binge watch, Trump unpacking his personals in the Oval office or just another super moon, but I just don’t feel like following the rules too much anymore. Even dogs go to heaven, right? And there are a lot of good people who live their life according to the book who don’t.

Punk basically promotes the act of ‘thinking for yourself’. And that’s all I’ve been doing this year. Analyzing, questioning, nonconforming. Because it came naturally to me. The more I walk off the beaten path the more I feel this uninspired way of living: getting up each day, leaving for work with a worn out face, coming home with a worn out face, not enjoying anything, being an apathetic slave to society isn’t the way I want to live my life.

Example: I happen to know quite a lot of people who studied, have a degree in some higher study like business management, civil engineering, sports physics, … but deliberately serve coffee, work in a store, pick up garbage, … Every day these people get asked if they aren’t too smart for the job they do. And I think it’s exactly this narrowed way of thinking that makes our economy, our society, sick.

You don’t have to stay an engineer and reply emails all day if you discover it’s not really your trade. You made the choice to become one when you were 18. If you feel you would be better at serving coffee with crazy latte art, then why should you feel restricted to go do that? If you pour coffee and it’s the thing you love most in the world, don’t you think a bit of that love drips in the cup and makes that customer a little more happy too?

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I just really feel people are doing way too much against their will. They’re being deliberately sodomized by the system, man.

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And that’s how you create diseases, cancer and mental breakdowns.

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Life at the café is a good example of this point I’m trying to make. I experience a lot of interesting encounters behind my counter. I talk to people. Listen to them. Share stories, insights and laughs. Also pain. Some come to me to talk about their troubles. A bad day at work. A date that got blown off. A brain tumor that needs to be removed. A marriage that has gone sideways.

Now, I don’t really like being confronted with people’s problems too much but I designed my own signature way of dealing with these cases.

I don’t speak.

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I just listen. And when the waterworks come, I quietly slip a napkin under their beer card and whisper: “Go ahead. This stays between us”.

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Just let it all out K-boy

Because of the world presenting itself to me in various shapes, colors and tastes,  customers provide me with a lot of insights in life. Some bright. Some somber.

The other day I was gazing outside and reminiscing about life and asking myself some fundamental questions about my future. Our future.  And the reason why we are put on this Earth.

My boss: “There is no reason, kid. This is all there is to it. I hate to give it to you, but take it from a man who has lived.”

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Funny thing: I didn’t really feel like disagreeing with him. Even though he’s only 50 % right.

It’s a crazy thing called ‘living’. We’re all trapped together in a limited time and space zone and don’t really know what to do with our time being here. We just fill up the blanks. Make time pass quicker when we’re at work and try to press pause when we’re on holiday. The only thing we know for sure is that we’ll all die one day.

Being limited, we should all be capable to make the most out of it. But instead we fuck everything up. We destroy, overindulge, hate, fight, complain, cheat, … we let our egos get in the way.

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Also, with time being so limited, we all feel the deadline. And the need to desperately leave a mark. A footprint. We want the world to know who we are and to remember us. We don’t want to disappear in the history books a loser. We all want to be winners and be better than our neighbor. But often fail doing so.

Greed is such a disease. We should shake it.
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Tone down your expectations. Of yourself, of others, of life in general and just try to do good, enjoy the ride and pick up as many memories while doing so. It is the only way of dealing with this mortal fight.

To be kind to your kin.

And your knees.

And to live as much in the moment as possible.

Wherever you are, to really be there. Whatever you do, to really do it. I think it’s the only way to savor each day and actually come as close as you can get to something called ‘happiness’. Take it from a burnout.

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On that thought, I recently started to Snap myself into the moment.

You: “Oh great, just be more egotistical that will solve all of our problems.”

Me: “Oh please… I had some accounts before but I just never really was a fan of it until now. All of a sudden I felt the need to snap. And I also understood it better. It’s a great way to share your vision, to make mini movies, tell cool stories, … I guess my after movie inspired me to do it.”

In case you haven’t yet, you can check it right here:

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And it’s SUPER compatible with the blog and a great addition to my multi media strategy in my bid to transcend this earth and start life on a different planet with James Franco!

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Look, I already snapped this before you read it. How meta am I?

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You: “As if you’re living someone else’s drug dream…I’m calling your mother.”

Me: “Wait! You don’t want to stay around to see me get my ears pierced with infected pins???”

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Snap you later! 

==> Follow me: evdelgouffe aka ‘Blonde Clueless

XO