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

 

Epidemic state of mind (should the world go Vegan?)

(***This post could contain traces of dairy, meat, fish, eggs, fish eggs, saturated fatty acids, other animal products and schizophrenia merely for illustrative reasons.)

You guys, I’m in a bit of a lacto-fermentated pickle here. Recently I saw a documentary on Netflix called ‘WHAT THE HEALTH’. 

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This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries.

I was triggered by the title. For a word smith like me, it’s quite an arousing play of words. Also the fact Joaquin Phoenix is the executive producer definitely doubled the arousal.

Turned out it was the most disgusting horror movie I had ever seen in my life. I was abhorred by the testimonials and the investigations and it absolutely pushed me to consider to drastically change my eating habits.

Oh my cream-cheese-bacon-and-egg-bagel: Has the moment arrived? Is Evelien Delgouffe about to go Vegan?

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Vegalien! Vegalien! Vegalien!

Not so fast. I’m not too keen on the idea yet. I have my nutrition traditions, my ways, I don’t like drastic changes. I love barbecues. I love food. I love cold cuts and I love cheese. Oh my god, do I love cheese!

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I’m a dairy fairy. But the more I think about it, the less I can support my own lifestyle any more. We are in a epidemic state of decay caused by corrupted parties who benefit from our illnesses and belly fat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the animals too, and this could also be a valid reason to stop eating animal based products.

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When I look up videos of factory farms and stuff, I feel disgusted but an hour later I could already be enjoying a nice carpaccio with some pesto and sun dried tomatoes.

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(This GIF is hilarious)

Because that’s what we are good at: turning a blind eye to things we don’t want to know about in the first place.

I was particularly good at it BUT NOW! The time has probably come to make a change.

I refuse to slowly kill myself from the inside.

Because reality of the documentary is: if we continue eating dead animals, saturated fats, and dairy… We will slowly infest ourselves with cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, …

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All of this has left me CRAZY CONFUSED about what to do and whom to trust. My brain is seesawing. One half wants to agree with the documentary and protest against pharmaceutical companies, meat and dairy industries, even hospitals and so-called health organizations.

But the other half just wants to stay calm and find some kind of in-between and possibly even a silver lining.

I think it’s time for a debate.

Blonde brain half? Clueless brain half? The floor is yours!

Vegetarians

#BLONDE: “If everyday foods are so bad for us, then why-hy isn’t the government warning us?”

#CLUELESS: “They are. But not really. Because they benefit form food industries and their effect on our health care system. That’s how they get their funds. If we all would be plant eating super humans the hospitals would be empty, nobody would need health insurance, doctors would be unemployed, the pharmaceutical business would go belly-up, … These are multi million businesses at stake here. Funds the government needs. To make it even more absurd: while it’s proven that deep fried foods cause cancer and diabetes, companies such as KFC actually sponsor Diabetic and Cancer organizations. It’s good for their image, it’s cost deductible and the organizations are happy with the donations… My thought? WITHOUT CARCINOGENS IN OUR FOODS THERE WOULDN’T BE SO MANY CANCER OR DIABETES TO CURE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

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(Side note: At one point in the documentary it struck me how government Associations even put recipes with carcinogenic ingredients online. And how a company -in it’s worldwide bid to battle breast cancer actually encourages to buy a ‘pink ribbon yoghurt’ even though yoghurt (dairy) has been proven to augment the risk of breast cancer.)

#BLONDE: “Why doesn’t anyone do anything about it?” 

#CLUELESS: “There are plenty of whistleblowers and vegan/alternative lifestyle ambassadors but we are a herd. We look at the herd, we follow the herd. We even EAT the herd!”

#BLONDE: “Lots of other people eat processed meats, and they look alright don’t they? Could it be the documentary is merely vegan propaganda brought by vegans who are extremely biased?”

#CLUELESS: “First part of the question: Well yes, I’ve never seen on anyone’s face that his or her arteries are clogged or that his or her heart is skipping a beat or that his or her liver is working over hours to get all the toxins out. It doesn’t show. But that doesn’t mean the threat and the effects aren’t there.”

(Funny fact: It’s kinda ironic but usually vegans are the ones who don’t look too healthy at first glance. I just made a joke about vegans last week. Them being moody, underfed, unenergized people with no joy in life. Pfff, I just say the darnest things…)

To answer your second question: “Vegan ambassadors and doctors do take the lead in this documentary. So yes, they could have done a lot of ‘cherry picking’ to make their point across.”

#BLONDE: “If you do everything with measure, you’ll end up good”

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#CLUELESS: “Is this actually proven though?”

#BLONDE: “My grandmother turned 97 and she was thriving. I could settle for that. I don’t necessarily want to become 120 anyway.”

#CLUELESS: “Well our grannie was probably a lucky girl. But don’t forget, you pass on your bad habits after you die and your kids pass it on to their kids. And also: pull your head out of your ass and stop thinking about yourself for a second. It is not only your health, it is an ethical battle we are fighting here and a plea to save the environment.”

#BLONDE: “We are meat eaters, we need our protein”

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#CLUELESS: “We are plant eaters. We have the teeth to prove it. The only reason animals give us protein is because they get it from their plant based diets. We just take in their recycled protein. By the way: elephants, rinos and silverbacks are some of the strongest animals alive and what do they eat? Right, greens!”

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#BLONDE: “At least milk gives us strong bones”

#CLUELESS: “HORSE – SHIT!

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dairy sponsor

The only reason a cow produces milk is to feed her babies. Don’t step into that marketing talk or I’ll punch you in the ovary.

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#MODERATOR: “Order! Order!”

#BLONDE: “The pharmaceutical industry can’t be all that bad. If they were, they wouldn’t be developing cures on a daily basis. Not as long as there are Nobel Prizes to win.”

#CLUELESS: “ABSAFUCKING DINOSAUR DUNG! Medication is just an easy way out. Take this pill for this knee, this pill for stress, that pill for arthritis, … It is NOT MAKING YOU ANY HEALTHIER.

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The only thing it does is keeps us addicted so we will use more and be more dependent of the pharmaceutical businesses. Holistic and alternative medicine exist for a reason and have proven to be quite effective too.”

#MODERATOR: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury it is time we reach a VERDICT”.

Thanks for the debate ladies. Since both parties have their valid points, I guess we can conclude by calling off a state of GENERAL CAUTION.

  1. People should be cautious and aware not every institution necessarily has the best interest in you staying healthy. We have to be critical at all times and take responsibility for our own actions. There’s no one you can sew when you get cancer. The end responsibility lies with you. Don’t be too naive. And sad to say but: trust no one!

    This goes for the Vegan hype as well. Maybe in a couple of years there will be more results on vegan and plant based diets and there’s a chance the results could be less ‘amazing’ than expected.

  2. There are probably a lot of manufacturers who want to benefit from this trend and offer you food that -though it’s vegan- contain other bad ingredients such as coconut oil or palm oil.

    Read the ingredient list carefully if you don’t want to be cheated on and stick to the products you know are good. Making sure you take in plenty of Omega 3’s and B12’s already makes a difference! If you don’t have enough B12 you will get depressed.

  3. Also watch out for restaurants serving you vegan food while it clearly isn’t.

GENERAL CONCLUSION 

  • It is probably right to say a drastic change in diet could be too much too soon. It’s not about choosing the healthiest option. It’s about choosing the less bad one. As for me: I will try easing into the vegan life, drastically cutting down my dairy consume and slowly but surely banning meat and poultry out of my life. Nuts, flax seeds, buckweed, fruits and veggies, be good to me!
  • Becoming Vegan is not just about food. It’s about cosmetics, household products, beverages, clothes, … All these things could contain animal based ingredients or could have been tested on animals. If you jump onto the vegan wagon, you have turn your entire life around.
  • If you accidentally burn your vegan sausages you will still get cancer.
  • If you stress too much about your health, you will still suffer a heart attack
  • Stay cautious and critical. In the years to come we will probably discover how much deaths The Coca-Cola Company has on it’s conscience and maybe we will be surprised to hear other reports. For instance: maybe flying in airplanes gives you cancer too. I already know for sure the food will (just joking). And maybe that aerosol hairspray you’re using to fixate your hair is making you sick too. What about your synthetic clothes and bed sheets?

Honestly, I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce, really.

We just have to find a way to still enjoy life without all the bad stuff pulling us down too much.

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Remember what I said about those vitamin B12’s.

And for those who need it, here’s the number for the suicide hot line:

555 – DON’T DO IT !

XO

 

Nightly visits

I like to drink as much water as I can here on the ‘station’. (It’s not really a station, were not in the outback and we don’t have black fleshy Angus dotting the fields stretching thousands of square kilometers in area) and every time before I go to bed I make sure I empty my bladder. You better make sure you do since the nearest toilet is 50 meters away. I lied, the nearest toilet is 25 meters away but that’s the outside shitter and unless you want to get bitten by god knows what you don’t go there at night time. Sammy did it once. She was sitting on the outside toilet when all of a sudden a black snake decided to wring herself in between her feet to come say hi. They’re drama seekers.

So every time before I go to bed I make sure I go. But every night between 2 and 3 I wake up desperately needing to pee. At first I just lie there for five minutes trying to decide if I could hold it in. In my brain it’s like my mind and bladder are flipping coins. If the mind wins, I stay in bed until the clicking sound of this not further specified little insect that’s eating the carpet cradles me back to sleep. If the bladder wins, I collect all my courage and my flash light to face the night. A good 14 nights have I spent here and only one time has the mind won. So practically every bloody time I have to collect all my courage to get up at night and empty my bladder. Tonight was another night like this. I had woken up between two and three and heard the carpet eater was at it again. Feasting on the rug with his tiny but microscopically enlarged undoubtedly grose grinder mouth with like a million little teeth. Only milliseconds later to discover I had to pee really bad. At first I sighed. Then I knocked over every bloody thing on my night stand because I was searching for the light switch with my big flat uncoordinated hand. Once I had found it, I switched it on and immediately scared away because of the light hitting the corrugated wall, projecting insecty shadows on it that were mostly just part of my imagination.

… Ahm no… They’re not. There are two cockroaches sitting right there. *SPRAY!*

I grab my flash light, wiggle my foot in some thongs while wearing socks, give the surrounding area an inspection and then open the door that leads to the common room. I’m always more at ease when Trina, Jessie’s dog, is lying at my doorstep. But tonight she must have been sleeping in Jessie’s room. I walk towards the outside door, lighting up the floor to see where I’m going, take a deep breath and open the door. I must emphasize this is an every night routine. Before I leave the common room I make sure I use my flash light to glide over the ground and surrounding landscapes first before putting one foot out there. The coast seems clear. I walk my way down the path that leads to Sammy and Nick’s house. I try not to walk on the grass, since you never know what’s hiding in there and ready to jump at you. I’m hugging shadows at this point. My flash light is this small pocket version that doesn’t light up very much. It’s more something to reassure me on my way down there because otherwise I would be as blind as a mole. What I fear most on my way to the toilet is the brown snake. From what I remember from the wildlife park they are fast, aggressive and fatal. And Noah had it happen to him already that he encountered one right on this path during a nightly visit to the toilet. Apparently it was still a baby one so it got scared and rushed off into the grass. But this was 2 years ago so it’s probably a pretty mature snake by now. Not that they get like colossal or anything. They probably end up getting not longer than 6 foot. And they’re quite slender as well. You can easily mistake them for a long twig or hose lying around. Until it jumps on you and latches onto you with its fangs. Apparently a (superficial) graze of one fang is enough to inject a lethal dose of poison into you. A lady had it happened to her, this was in the news recently: she was sitting outside when a brownie came up to her to bite her in the ankle. She didn’t really feel it (she must have had really thick ankles) But she started to feel rather iffy after she had felt ‘something’ sting her foot. When she went to the doctor’s they were looking for a prominent vampire bite mark but they didn’t find any on her so she couldn’t have possibly been bitten by a brown snake. They thought… They sent her back home (!) stating she had just suffered a little heart problem, NOT giving her the antivenom. A couple of hours later the venom had spread through her body, leaving her hands and face all black. The venom messes with your lymph nodes.  

She survived but she won’t return to her usual self for years to come. These thoughts flash through my head whenever my precious body parts leave the shed to go to the bathroom. I had reached the backdoor and quickly went inside. Thank god, we survived the first round; half way there. I lift the seat to make sure there aren’t redbacks hiding underneath before I plant my white bikini bottom defined bum on there to do my thing. I pull my pants up, wash my hands, look in the mirror (note to self: never look in the mirror, every night you look the same with your face all red from a) the hoodie that is strapped too tight around your head and b) for getting sunburn on top of sunburn.) I grab my flash light, navigate myself to the outside door, take a deep breath, open it and step outside. I haven’t had set one foot outside or I am startled by this hissing sound. At first I just want to pretend I didn’t hear it but it’s too present to ignore. Fuck, this must be the matured brown snake. I must have woken it up!! Noah said it has been hiding out in the compost hoop and brown snakes get very territorial. I must have been trespassing on his turf! Stirring him up! I seek for a moving hose or twig with my ever so small flash light, desperately needing some reference point on where this snake is since the hissing is becoming more apparent and close by. I shine irregularly when all of a sudden I see these big piercing eyes gazing at me. AAH! …. I jump up one meter. Cheshire! That bloody cat from Jessie’s was just sitting there, not hissing, but having a laugh at me the entire time. She jumps away in the darkness, blissfully unaware of what death lurks in there. God damnit. I quickly tip toe back to the common room, sticking to the path, and get in as quickly as possible. My heart pounding like crazy. Already now my heart is racing, I can’t believe how I would ever keep calm after suffering a poisonous snake bite. Since an elevated heart rate spreads the poison faster through your blood. Making you die even quicker. Mother Nature is brutal Down Under.

I run in my room and quickly jump on the bed, wrapping myself in my safe covers -well right after checking no other animal got in there with me- to switch off the light and cover my eyes with my hands. My heart rate slows down. The clicking sound of the carpet eater cradles me to sleep. I feel myself slip away into a soft buttery sleep when I hear a thunder roll in my stomach, echoing in the room. Sammy’s pumpkin risotto apparently didn’t fill me up like it should have and suddenly I start craving one of the cookies in the big white box on top of the kitchen cabinet in the common room. Sigh. Same routine again. Ruining night stand, switching on light, wiggling toes in thongs and inspecting surroundings with my flash light. 2 minutes, one cookie and a glass of milk later I’m back rolled up in my bed cover. Feeling courageous and content. All my needs fulfilled. All… (yawn!)…my needs… fulfilled… .

(I wrote this last night between 2.30 and 4 am)

XO

Home (-sick)

Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home.[1] Its cognitive hallmark is preoccupying thoughts of home and attachment objects.[2] Sufferers typically report a combination of depressive andanxious symptoms, withdrawn behavior and difficulty focusing on topics unrelated to home.[3][4][5]

I have thought about home. About my brother, who’s having his first baby soon, my mother who is worried sick about me, my father who is far too active on Facebook and my best friend who now has to go to parties without me…. I have thought about them a lot. But I don’t miss a single one of them…

Ouch Evelien, that’s a pretty harsh thing to say innit?

– Well, … Is it?

I mean, why would I travel all the way to the other side of the world, where everything turns backwards, the seasons are upside down, people drive on the left and the midland looks like Mars? To be pretty damn far away from everything and everyone, I reckon*.

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I have been in South-Australia for almost three weeks now. One week of holiday, two weeks on the farm. And I’m enjoying myself every day.

Why would anyone wanna stay in the South that long? Fact: the rest of the continent considers the southern folks to be a bunch of bacon loving bogans. But the truth is: if it wouldn’t be nice down here, I wouldn’t have stayed this long. And by the look of the Crocs and white socks on my feet, maybe I am just a big bogan too.

bacon

So you know I’m physically doing well. You’ve seen my updates pop up on Instagram and Facebook. But how’s the inner Eve doing? I hear you wonder. As you can read in my bio, I was kinda worn out when I left Belgium. I had reached a ceiling and needed some time to clear my mind. Well, I have had plenty of time to reflect on my life here. I have just spent four hours scrubbing a stove and an oven to absolute polished perfection, just because I found it therapeutic. As I scrub I see my life roll in front of my eyes like a movie. How far I’ve come -literally 15.975,96 km- but also the turns and directions I’ve taken in my life. Some dead ends. But mostly exciting roads that lead to amazing experiences. This farm life definitely puts into perspective how crazy hectic my life was before. The media, the rat race, the constant tap dancing between success and failure.

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But it made me the adventurer I am today, I guess. It’s crazy to see that ME, the girl who used to have such a big fear of being abandoned when she was a kid, became so independent. I used to be scared of everything. I was raised by a bunch of pessimists. Basically everyone in my dad’s family missed out on brilliant careers as safety inspectors. They would always warn me for the dangers in life, all the things that could go wrong.

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Well it didn’t help I grew up in a time where Belgium’s major export product were pedophiles and child molesters. I am still aware of the dangers, I’m not THAT clueless. I keep my eyes open while traveling alone, but I also keep them open to see the good parts. My fear of abandonment has been reduced to minus 1.000.000.000.000. … . I hear some backpackers have their parents over to stay with them for a couple of weeks. I just couldn’t imagine my parents on a 20 hour flight. My mom wouldn’t understand any of the in flight entertainment since the movies -including the menu- are all in English, my father would snore the entire way people would freak out thinking one of the engines fell out.

I’m such a loner, sometimes this worries me. When I imagine my future I think I will live somewhere on a mountain top with my future husband, two kids and two dogs. Somewhere far away from the outside world. Not having to deal with a lot of other people. Just living a very natural way of life. That sounds like bliss.

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I do blame my job for my over independentness… independence… inde… ah whatever! In a good way. It taught me to be inventive, to do deal with problems on the spot, …
I remember my first day as a journo. I had to go to this press event with loads of celebrities attending. I didn’t have any time to prepare. I just jumped in my car and drove with both hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel since I had just gotten my temporary driver’s license. When I arrived I noticed I had no pen or paper on me (a journo’s basic attire). I had to use my diary and an eye pencil to make notes…

But most of all I blame Disney for making me spend all my life savings on traveling and seeing the world. That company made a hard headed dreamer out of me. Portraying girls who are a little left of center, and want to be part of something bigger. They got me completely brainwashed.

So yeah, I’ve been thinking about life a lot. I still don’t know what I will do when I return to Europe in five months from now. But … -I RECKON- that doesn’t matter. I don’t know what I will be doing next week either, besides going to Melbourne. What I will do there? Where I will sleep? Where I will have a stop on the Great Ocean Road to take my next selfie? Don’t know, don’t care. I just follow my nose. I have done this the past few weeks and it hasn’t let me down so far. In fact: the best plan I ever had was to have no plan at all.

However, I doubt I will just pick up my life where I left it. I left it for a reason, so some things will definitely change. Things will probably simplify more. Other than that I leave all my options open. I’m planning to live life to my full potential. I’m not super confident or anything but I do have a strong belief people can achieve more than they think and let themselves be limited by others too much.

You read my bio, and how much I like to live life to the fullest. I strongly believe in reincarnation. Only I don’t believe you have to die first in order to experience this. If I choose to live a bunch of different lives, acquire a bunch of different trades, I can. It’s not because I don’t speak Japanese, I can’t be speaking it two years from now. It’s not because I am not a triathlete, I can’t be a few months from now. What if I want to become a martial arts expert, who’s gonna stop me? Me? Because I’m a journalist and locked myself into that box till eternity? Ahm… don’t think so.

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You: “So I can become anything I want, ay? Okay Evvy, I wanna become a millionaire.”
– Well why not? It’s not something you just wish for, though. But if you work hard, sure you can be the next Jordan Belfort. Why wouldn’t you?

Just look up some old David Beckham pics and you’ll see ANYTHING is possible in life.

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(#Dafuq?!)

You: “Uhu, and what if I wanna become a Jedi?”
– Well there are lightsaber schools you can attend, so yeah, this is possible. I’m sure you can work something out with your fellow class mates to re-enact some cool Jedi story lines and perform some (staged) mind tricks.

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spock

I know a guy in New York who puts on a super hero costume every day to help authorities fight small criminals. Just don’t get yourself deliberately bitten by a poisonous spider. I’m pretty sure you won’t turn into Spiderman. And if you do, just remember: with great power, comes great responsibility.

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XO

Bank stats: I have been in Australia for almost one month and I have hardly spent a nickel. People don’t need much when you come to think of it. We just like to think we do. I haven’t been wearing much make up either. Only 10 % of what I usually smear on my face every day. Maybe this is why I save up so much money.

* Famous Aussie stop word. They just put it in every sentence possible.

Meeting the Neighbours (snakes, butcher sons and kangaroos on Tinder)

Down Under everything is out to kill you. Even the sun.

An estimated 10,000 venomous spiders inhabiting a variety of ecosystems. Ten of the most deadliest snakes. Some nasty things living in the waters. But every morning I fear the rooster.

I have to tell you he’s a dodgy little feller. And ugly too. He attacks you when you least expect it. I was letting out the chucks -like I do every morning- to feed them when all of a sudden he comes running right at me with his wings open. I had to knock him down three times with my food scrapes bucket until I suddenly realized I was holding a precious weapon. An egg.

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Me: I will drop your offspring, pal. So bugger off!

Turns out he’s just a big chicken. Especially when I come in with the wheelbarrow. You should see him run then.

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Every morning I consider it a miracle I survived another night. A miracle I wasn’t attacked by a poisonous snake or rolled up in a giant woolly web by an army of redbacks to feast on me for several weeks on end. But other than that, I am enjoying the farm life. I feed the animals, clean the house, mow the lawn, take care of the plants, …. Not one day is the same really.

grass

My very first chore on the farm was to fill up the horse water. Once I walked up there, with one hand holding the hose, I discovered a cockatoo had drowned himself in one of the basins. Grrreat. The sheep and horses stood there staring at me, all thinking: “What are you going to do now, city girl?”

Well for five minutes I didn’t have the faintest idea really. Eventually I went to go get a bag, climbed over the fence and scooped it up with a stick. Then I left it somewhere in the shed to deal with it later. I had to hurry to feed the chucks. This is where I had my first stand off with the rooster.

Another interesting encounter I had was with Olaf the goat. He jumps on you like a dog, follows you every where around; I tried to tell him already: Look Olaf you’re a goat not a dog, your hoofs hurt when you jump on me and you got them nasty pointy things on your head that perforate the hell out of me. The goat actually belongs to Jesse. She found him in the street, completely starved. She also owns a cat. Cheshire, is the name. I just saw two cheshire cats last Sunday night in an elevator at the Adelaide Hilton. A boy and a girl so drunk they had this crazy smiles on their faces. She was probably a hooker. And he looked very much an occa*.

Talking about bogans** (and I mean this in the nicest way) turns out there’s living a hot butcher’s son next door. His name is Alex, he’s like ten feet tall or so. Regular feet. Not his feet cause they’re gigantic as well. Turns out Alex lives by himself with a dog and a bird. No girlfriend, no kids, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get around. Everytime new backpackers arrive he makes sure to check them out. Especially the female ones. Found out he already got involved with some of the ‘farmer’s daughters’ (that’s how I’d like to call us female farm inhabitants). But this one isn’t up for grabs that easy.

mygirl

I did install Tinder, however. I had this crazy idea my Tinder would explode with hot surf dudes once I would arrive Down Under. Turns out that’s a bit of a HUGE let down. I even had to lower the age level to 23 cause once above 30 you really get the hopeless ones. It’s also funny how buff some of the men are here. They look like big, hairless kangaroos.

pecs

Look at this dude showing off his pecs at the wildlife park in Victor Harbor.

I did install Tinder after meeting Noah, the other backpacker. He met his girlfriend Kelsey that way and they are just adorable together. Kelsey is so cool, she’s like Kristen Stewart’s younger sister. Definitely some screws loose in that upper chamber.

Noah is a strapping British lad who is -what’s in a name- a carpenter. If this world goes to an end at least he will be able to build us a proper ark. There are enough animals to take with us too. My room used to be his one year ago. That’s where he got bitten by a white tail spider. Its poison had burnt a hole of about a 2 AUD coin into his lower arm. He was putting on a shirt to discover seconds later a spider had crawled into his sleeve. It’s a pretty nasty scar. Occasionally it becomes an open wound again. Grose.

Note to self: spiders hide in clothes AND sit on towels. I got a big black one crawling on my thumb the other day after I grabbed a towel to dry my hands. I jumped like two meters backwards. It must have looked impressive.

I also encountered the infamous Eastern Brown Snake. Sitting behind glass, fortunately. It looks so slow, stupid and harmless but looks can be quite deceiving. It is fast, aggressive and FATAL (the bio stated).

brown snake

snakeclothes

I’m so close to reaching my inner Indiana Jones. I do hate snakes an awful lot since I’m here.

snakes

I am living this farm life for four days now. Am in Australia for almost two weeks and already have I wondered: “What am I doing here?”

I wasn’t expecting existential questions until my arrival in China, two months from now. Backpacker Pierre has it too, occasionally, he says.

He is an electrician in France and is also having a bit of a ‘walkabout’. He’s been traveling way longer than me. He recently had a farm job in Sydney where he stayed for three months, he made loads of money there. As much as 10.000 AUD (!). He said the conditions were good but he likes it better over here. Samantha and Nick definitely got a fun, young household going on. Everybody contributes when they go to work and by the end of the day she makes sure there’s dinner on the table. I was really lucky I got this job. When I first reached out to Sammy she said they had just hired someone, and weren’t looking for another backpacker at the moment. Two minutes later she sent me a text to tell me she had changed her mind and looks forward to meeting me. I do wonder what got her to change her mind. Maybe because I had presented myself as a ‘young, easy going, hard working backpacker looking for a host with a good sense of humor’. People always tend to prove they fit right into that category. It’s almost as if they wouldn’t reply they immediately admit they’re stiff and boring. Seems like I have pulled a little reversed psychology there…

We did get to know each other pretty well on Friday. Sam and Nick threw a party and invited some friends over. Including the hot butcher. There was quite a lot of wine involved. And some green stuff called Midori. Anyway it knocked some people out pretty fast. We also had a taste of that farm lamb. It wasn’t until I licked my fingers clean I discovered what I had been eating.

farmlamb

I should watch out with that once I arrive in China if I don’t want to end up eating cat or dog. Also: I had just started naming the sheep that day. I wonder if we had Angie, Carl or Forrest for dinner. I think I will just stop doing that since I learnt they will kill some more sheep next week. I won’t be surprised if there will be kangaroo on the menu later this week as well. Turns out the boys went hunting yesterday to fill up the freezer. I heard them arrive late last night and noticed there was quite some heavy lifting involved.

sheepnames

Before I went to bed I discovered loads of spiders in my room. I even had to call in Noah to check if there were any white tails. He said they were harmless but one was pregnant and I swear it was disgusting. I tried to hoover it, but it disappeared. I think I will sleep with my ear plugs in tonight. I still have some from the plane. Or tie my hoodie real tight around my face. I don’t want those babies to hatch in my ears.

hoodie

Anyway, I should probably deal with this dead bird now. And take out the trash to the front of the ranch. I’m allowed to take the quad :-p

XO

BTW: I bought myself a genuine cowboy hat the other day. Looking like a real McLeod’s daughter ey?

cowgirl

bluff

The Bluff, Victor Harbor

* an occa/ocker  : A thing or person characterised by their (usu. extreme) Australian-ness. Esp. refers to persons with heavy Australian accents and mannerisms. Typically used as an insult. See also bogan.
** a bogan : A person perceived to be unsophisticated or of a lower class background.

Farm life

So you will be glad to hear I’ve officially started working today. Enough with the free loading. Time to get those muscles rolling and earn my stay. I’ve currently moved to a non organic farm in Tooperang, about one hour south of Adelaide city. I have to say this place is pretty remote. Not to say right in the middle of nowhere. When I look outside my window all I see is brown grass (due to the scorching heat), trees and sheep. And every five hours you’re lucky enough to see a car pass.

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My hosts who own the farm, Sammy (Samantha) and Nick, are about my age and really nice people. I found them through Helpx. There was one thing in their advertisement that especially encouraged me to reach out to them: “If you are the type of person who likes to enjoy food and wine, who isn’t fussed about helping to clean, and do a few outdoor jobs with our animals we need to hear from you.” Well I do like to wine and dine. I just brought a load of wine from Nairn’s vinyard as a welcoming gift. Including the Moscato, a pink sparkling wine I think I will marry soon.

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The farm stretches out to 200 acres. There are 400 sheep who needs to be taken care of as well as some dogs, cats, chickens, goats, horses and cattle. This definitely is a busy place. Backpackers from all over the world fly in here to work in exchange for accommodation and food. They’ll help on the farm, leave again after some time, while some just stay forever. At the moment there are two backpackers here. Noah and Pierre. There are also two Australian girls here -Jesse and Jenny- who are staying here semi permanently. They’re sleeping in the large house with Sammy and Nick. I stay out in ‘the shed’ with Pierre. It’s a separate ‘house’ (made out of corrugated sheet) with two bedrooms and a kitchen. This is also a common room where everybody meets, eats and just relaxes and watch movies or play video games. I have a room all to myself with a double bed and enough place to unpack. Don’t expect too much of it. It is basically a small container unit but I feel very ‘backpacky’ in there since it’s super basic. Even though Sammy tried to make it girl friendly by putting towels on the bed accompanied by a little piece of soap and provided me with a mirror and a clothing rack, INCLUDING HANGERS. One week traveling and I was already getting tired of living out of my backpack. There’s also a fan, which will come in handy since I reckon temperature in this shed can rise up to 40 degrees. I’m really interested in what this will give in the morning. A toasted Evelien for breakfast, no doubt.

room

Enter a caption

Since I arrived on Australia Day, my hosts didn’t expect me to start working right away. “Just relax, unpack and put your feet up”. As I started to decorate my little room, putting some of my stuff up, I spotted some dead insects lying under the bed. No biggie. Until I suddenly started freaking out juuuuust a little. Two boxes in my head got checked: ‘dark’ and ‘outdoors’. This place could easily be a breeding spot for Redbacks (Redback spiders, related to the infamous Black Widow) and other dangerous arachnids. I suddenly remembered Australia is the country that resides 8 out of 10 of the most dangerous spiders and snakes. Everything here is out to eat you. I decided to tiptoe over to Nick and ask him about dangerous visitors…. without sounding too much like a city girl. “Ow yeah there are definitely some Redbacks out here”, he smiled.

Me: ” Out here, you mean outside?” (faint laugh)

Nick: “Yeah outside, but also in your accommodation unit. You can occasionally spot one in your kitchen. They’re quite shy though. They tend to hide and make their nest behind stuff in the cupboards.”

“NEST?”, I thought.

Me: “Say Nick, aren’t Redbacks …er… I don’t know….deadly?”

Nick: “Well not when you’re a young, healthy goose like you are (laugh). If you’re old and get bitten, you usually die. Once they bite you it hurts pretty bad and you will start to feel really sick.” (I’ve consulted Dr Google => In the final stage the poison can paralyze you and shut down your vital organs. This is when you die, red.) “I once got bitten on my lower back. The pain spread out to my crotch and it felt like someone kicked me rrrright in the nuts! (laughing loud)”

Me: “Uhu… So Redbacks are my main concern here. Alright. I can live with that. I will just look out for spiders with a red back then. I can do this.”

Nick: “Yeah you should look out for them whenever you enter the chicken shed, just look above your head for a second. Just to be sure. And if you see some piece of tin foil lying around make sure you lift it with a stick just to be sure there’s no brown snake lying underneath.”

Me: “THERE ARE BROWN SNAKES?” (This is the second most poisonous snake in the world, f.y.i.)

Nick: “Yeah and black snakes as well. They live in the water. As long as you don’t mess with them they’ll leave you alone. But yeah, when you get bitten by them the poison spreads kinda quickly and you could die from it. Might also want to look out for white tip spiders.”

Me: “Say Nick, this is maybe a -haha- silly question but…Just to be safe here…. Are there any hospitals in the area??”

Nick: “Yeah there’s one a 15 minute drive away. But if you get bitten just call 000, it’s the Australian emergency number. They’ll get here quicker than a kangaroo on anabolic steroids.” (That’s not exactly what he said, but I forgot his exact words. Farm lingo. Not that easy to follow.)

Me: “Right… Anything else I need to look out for?”, I hardly dared to ask.

Nick: “Well, bush fires tend to occur in this area. There recently was one only 5K away, which is really close. If you see one arriving, just take your passport and run.”

Djeez, they should have put all THIS in their ad. What did I get myself into? Sure ‘adventure’ looks nice on paper and in Instagram hashtags but I could experience some serious pain here or end up an all you can eat spider buffet. I decided to keep the insect spray really close that night. And to sleep with one eye open. I kinda felt some melancholy bubbling up when I thought about my other host family. And how lucky I was to have stayed with them for free for a week. In a house with actual doors, air conditioning, … Safe enough to raise a baby so safe enough for me. But that’s why I embarked on this trip now didn’t I? To avoid curling up in comfort zones. I’m sure my stay here will be something to never forget. If I live to tell the tale, that is. What is really reassuring is that Sammy and Nick are putting up numbers of hospitals on the refrigerator as we speak. Apparently I am the first backpacker they have over who started asking about hospitals in the area…

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Anywho, I should be going now. Second barbie of the day is about to take place. I must be a real Aussie now.

XO

redback

Definitely don’t want to run into this guy. What makes it more interesting: it’s actually very small. I was looking for a big ass spider in my room earlier. Guess I’ll check more thoroughly later tonight.