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

Yesterday was my BIRTHDAY Blonde & Clueless’ers!

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

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

Me: “Ahm no, we’re not in Bavaria…”

lloydcough

You: “I mean presents…”

Nope.

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

wine

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

But I am very excited about one present I got.

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

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

MY VERY OWN BOOK!

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

Well partly…

Well 90%…

Or at least 40%.

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

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

mileymouth

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a BESTSELLER disguised as a BOOK! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tschüssie! 

pretzel

XO

 

BLONDE & B R O K E in Berlin: how to tackle food cost?

How to survive on a budget in one of the coolest cities on the planet? 

Find out in the following bit!

So as you know I am now free living and freelancing in Berlin. I am not near the point where I make shit loads of money YET (especially if you have read what happened to me in the previous post) so that’s why I have to tackle my money business in a clever way.

(…) Me going to Ibiza for 4 days probably wasn’t the cleverest of ideas but I considered it more to be an investment since I had the time of my life with people I love and care for. Bonus points for mental health yo! 

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The traveling threesome ❤

But this cannot mean I can go on a Spree. No matter how close I live to this river (…)

The truth is: Good things in life don’t come for free so I have to really think about what I spend and if that correlates with what I get out of it.

For instance: I could stop eating. That way I don’t have to spend money.

True. But there is no point in not taking care of my body as I don’t want to get sick as I don’t want to spend money on doctors and medical bills. Hm, do I even have insurance, I wonder?

So I have made some calculations and I have estimated myself a 15 euro allowance per day to spend on ‘surviving’ (rent not included). With this I can anticipate in basic needs. Food and beverages come first. That should be more than enough right?

Rrrright… But when I need toiletries, laundry soap or tickets for public transportation this also has to come from the same allowance which means I have to do some creative shifting here and there.

Especially in case I would want to buy shoes or clothes. LUCKILY I stopped buying that shit ages ago! I don’t feel like spending money (considering the previous mentioned correlation theory) on things I don’t really need. I’m usually ahead of fashion any ways (:-p) so I much rather put my money where my mouth is.

mileymouth

Okay, so how to tackle food cost in Berlin? Actually it’s pretty darn easy…

  • EXPLORE DISCOUNT PARADISE
    Germany is ‘Die Heimat’ of Lidl and Aldi. So if you want to hit the jackpot involving discount shopping: you’re in the right place. Next to those you also have Penny, Netto, Kaiser’s and Kaufland. I suggest you visit them all and see where you can nibble some extra cents of certain products. Believe you me, it’s the ‘LIDL’ things that count!
  • RECYCLE YOUR BOTTLES 
    This one is a little trick to actually earn money. When you buy plastic bottles in the shop you can collect them in a machine and get 0,25 euro back per bottle. Glass bottles are worth 0,08 euro a pop. So be wise and recycle yo! It’s good for the environment and for your wallet. But for the sake of ‘Nächstenliebe‘: when you find empty  bottles or cans in the street or in the metro, leave them for the homeless so they can have a little pocket money too.
    bottles
  • MAKE FRIENDS WHO INVITE YOU FOR DINNER
    It’s always advised to make friends. Especially when they have a kitchen and a big fridge. Dinner parties are pleasant, cozy and budget friendly.

    moss

    You can bring a cheap bottle of wine if you feel like returning a favor. These days even a nice bottle of biological Italian wine from the BIOMARKT costs only 2,90 euros.
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    It’s even nicer when you cook together with a bunch of people! This way you can have a gorgeous round of cooking and split the costs all together.

    cookingwithhany

    Cooking with honey, I mean, Hany

    Big meals are much cheaper than cooking for 1. Life for a single gal not only comes with a price, it’s also pricey!

  • GO TO THE MARKET
    huling
    Why would you want to pay 3 euros for 1 avocado when you can pay 3 euros for a bunch of avocados? Der Genter Wochenmarkt (U-bahn Leopoldplatz) is an insider tip for your fruit and veggie fix. It has been a well kept secret for over 80 years now. Be prepared for some old fashioned market trader shouting as well as a big crowd of customers. You can find everything here from a new zipper to a vitamin boost. You can have a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice for 1 euro. Only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

 

 

  • FAST 
    Coming back to the ‘not eating part’ here. Actually that’s not a bad idea at all. I have done some research on the matter and there is compelling evidence that skipping one meal a day actually improves physical and mental health. There is a whole nutritional war going on right now aiming to bring down the breakfast lobby. It’s all just a bunch of marketing from Captain Oats and Tony The Tiger. I feel most energetic and productive in the morning when my body solely runs on black coffee. I have a whole storage cabinet of fat cells for my body to tap into, so I’m sure I won’t starve from skipping one meal a day.
  • DOWNLOAD ‘TOO-GOOD-TO-GO’ unnamed
    This is absa-fucking-lutely brilliant. It’s an app – you can download it in the German iTunes Store for free – where restaurants offer leftovers at a ridiculously low price. It’s a great way to cut down food cost as well as food waste and to be more sustainable in regards to the planet. Basically this app is doing everyone involved a HUGE favor.
  • EAT OUT
    This may sound a little contradictory but in most cases going out for dinner can be cheaper than buying ingredients and cooking a meal for 1. Compared to Antwerp, Berlin is much cheaper to eat out. You can easily find a big healthy meal between 4 to 7 euros. And there are so many healthy choices including a lot of vegan options. Vegan cuisine is big in Berlin. I get my vegan fix at VEGO in LychenerstraBe (Prenzlauer Berg). In this neighborhood there is a wide array of restaurants -especially Asian- who offer alternative vegan or vegetarian dishes. For vegan cocktails you must go to ‘Chaostheorie’ in SchliemannstraBe and on the corner with LettestraBe you have to swing by ‘Wohnzimmerbar’ for the vegan soup of the day or a nice soy latte. Creative, cute and cozy! My favorite work spot to date! Speaking of dates….

    (Left: vegan burgers at VEGO; Right: cozy outings at Wohnzimmerbar)

  • GO ON A DATE !
    If chivalry isn’t dead, you will be golden with this one. Meet a guy for drinks, have a nice talk and maybe go for a little bite to eat, charm him with your magical charming wand and before you know it he picks up the tab and you don’t have to spend one nickel. It happened to me twice already, and I wasn’t even doing it on purpose. Every time I went out, the guy picked up the tab. It was twice at Kreuzburger though… which usually doesn’t cost more than 5 or 6 euros. Tofu burgers cost a little bit more than meat ones :-p
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST: ALWAYS KEEP EYES AND EARS OPEN
    A good insider tip might just be one station away…bestplace-berlin-amen-01

If you stick to these basic ‘budget hacks’ you will hardly burn through your daily allowance. When this is the case I like to treat myself to a yummy coffee somewhere… Preferably with a little side order of brain food.

There is always money for a little comic relief. 
“Swallow me whole”, that’s exactly what that vegan bowl at ‘the Commonground’ said to me later that night! 

If you want to check all of this out for yourself: there is currently an amazing offer to come to Berlin practically for FREE!

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3 days in a 4 star hotel including breakfast (that damn breakfast lobby) for only €49,50! @vakantiepiraten.nl

Come and live FREE with ME next to the SPREE!

It is such a GREAT city!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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.

dullboy

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.”

help-me-lord-wording-knuckle-tattoos-for-guys

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.

ursula

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

yoloariel

but ended up… ROYAL F U C K E D.

shocked

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:

casablanca

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.

pennyhelp

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.

case closed

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.

berlinhousing

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.

signedsealeddelivered

= > 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

 

G-spot

(***Caution: just like the main image of this posts suggests, this read isn’t too elaborate in words nor content.)

So you might remember a little …

You: “Ahm Evvy, don’t we get an hello first?”

Me: “Err.. yeah… sure…. (…)”

Me: “Hello everybody!”

hello

You: “Hi Evelien!”

troy-mcclure

Me: “You might remember me from blog entries such as ‘Should the world turn Vegan: Yay or Nay?’, ‘Bitch don’t kill my vibe’ and ‘G I R L B O S S‘.

Well today, I’m going to elaborate on that last one in line since I am officially …

A Girl-BOSS!

That’s right I have found my G-spot.

That blog entry (click to read) was a wake up call and forced me to look at my inevitable future entrepreneurship. But I was completely clueless. How to deal with entrepreneurship anyway?

growingup

So I decided to take advice from the most notorious entrepreneur and current Pimp King of the United States:

donaldtrump

Mr. Donald TRUMP errybody!

hermione sarcasm

What did this goof.. -err ‘good’- man teach us about lady business?

That’s right: grab ‘m by the … <fill in the blank>… BINGO!

So that’s what I did. I grabbed my lady balls and sucked them up (…) I went in and applied for a full time independency. From employers, men, this WORLD!

I am an Independent Woman part 1.

Destiny-s-Child-in-Independent-Women-Part-I-music-video-destinys-child-30898151-400-225

Well, I need to pay a significant amount of taxes and social contributions in order to maintain that freedom (…)

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As from now I will be offering my writing skills to the world and its wide web.

You can cont(r)act me for all kind of writings as well as editing, storytelling, translations, advertising, articles, travel stories, columns, ghost writing, crossword puzzles … In Dutch AND in English!

Basically everything that requires the use of letters and words to bring YOUR message across.

emma-stone-nodding_lgcni4

This new life will enable me to expand my horizons and embrace my freedom whilst writing, traveling and kicking ass. The only things I need are a laptop, an internet connection, my two brain halves and an equal amount of hands. I can basically do this from all over the world.

THAT IS WHY:

I have currently set up office in BERLIN, GERMANY, where I will be available 24/7 !

THAT’S LONGER HOURS THAN YOUR FAVORITE SPÄTI ! (which means night shop in German)

I think I always knew this would be the next step for me. A year ago I sent my future self a letter from China with a clear message:

As if I was my own Doc, sending my own Marty McFly a letter from the past!

backtofut

So are you in desperate need of words? Then don’t be afraid to drop me a line through any of the following platforms:

www.facebook.com/blondeclueless

www.facebook.com/evelien.delgouffe

www.instagram.com/eveliendelgouffe

evelien.delgouffe@hotmail.com 

www.linkedin.com/in/eveliendelgouffe

OR MY BRAND NEW WEBSITE:

www.eveliendelgouffe.com !

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Let’s connect and find each other’s G-spots!

donaldtrump

***

=> NEXT time on the blog: I will tell you about HOW I ended up in Berlin and which OBSTACLES I had to overcome to get here. It’s gonna be W I L D!

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”

neophone

Me: “Whodis?” $

Matrix-B1

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.”

 

taketheredpill

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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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:

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*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.”

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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.

shit

“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*”

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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!

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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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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Type Gerrit from Bavikhove .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On my rollers. For old time’s sake…

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

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

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

I had one more day at the bar …

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

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

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APRIL 1st, D DAY 

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

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

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

#clueless.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All because of a pair of iconic sneakers.

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

Mac Miller

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

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

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

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

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

refuel

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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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Sometimes a girl’s gotta do …

I’m sorry guys. It has been soooo long since I gave you a new feed to read. But let’s be brutally honest, it was a little hard to trump the last post I did. That was freaking awesome!

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I guess these past weeks I was a little preoccupied with …

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You: “We understand Evvy. You’re probably really busy with being back at work at the newspaper. No biggie. It takes some time to get the rhythm back.”

Yeah err, about that… I ahm ….

I’ve quit. 

You: You what???

deadpool

Me: Don’t worry I got everything under control.

I think…

You: “WHY IN THE ASS’S FACE DID YOU QUIT?!”

Well people change. I changed. I always knew it would be hard to go back. But it only got crystal clear a couple of weeks ago. When I put my autograph on a piece of paper…

And because I knew there would be some non-understanding, I made a list of why my ‘retirement’ is a good thing for this planet and all living organisms.

1. I spend 95% less time in traffic.
I won’t be causing aggression nor will I insult you from behind the wheel. The streets will be a lot more safe and friendly without me driving them with my big soccer mom truck.

2. As a result I won’t be polluting this earth.
Every big change starts with yourself, okay?

3. I am a lot more zen on the inside which really benefits my surroundings. 

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4. People don’t have to hear me talk about all the cool stuff I do, all the free concerts and festivals I attend, all the famous people I meet and hug. 

5. I’m leaving the limelight to somebody else for a change.
After all: sharing is caring.

5. I won’t be getting paid anymore to travel to exotic places.
From now on whenever I want to travel I will have to pay for it just like everybody else.

6. I got a goal with this blog and that is to make YOU feel better about your own life.
I cannot do that by turning everything back to normal. I need to struggle and suffer. I’m on a mission here.

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So, what do you think about my retirement now?

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If you now will excuse me, I got a busy day ahead of me …

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but you’re more than welcome @ café Korsakov later this afternoon.

Peace out
XO

Frankenfiction

I have been away for a while. According to the reports it has been two weeks since I posted something on this blog. And for that I am sorry.

But my absence has got nothing to do with a lack of inspiration, motivation or enthusiasm. It is much bigger than that.

The truth is…. I was held captive. In a different era.

***

It all started when I had my doctor’s appointment with my parodontologist Victor Frankenstein that faithful morning.

Dr. Frankenstein: “Evelien Delgouffe? Am I pronouncing it right?”

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Me: “Absolutely, doc!”

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Dr. Frankenstein: “Come on in. Why don’t you take of your clothes, ahm, coat and install yourself on that big chair there.”

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I hung up my coat and lied down feeling somewhat excited and nervous at the same time. Even more, because I didn’t really know what the surgery was for. Together with my dentist they had decided to remove a piece of my lip connecting my gums. It was of most importance, they said. So I underwent.

Dr. Frankenstein: “Now open wide.”

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“Ahm…Your mouth, miss Delgouffe”

Me: “Oh, right, I’m sorry, I have a gynecologist appointment later on. I guess I’m a little nervous.”

Dr. Frankenstein: “There’s nothing to be nervous about, love. The only thing that will hurt a little is the narcotics. After you’ll be in ultimate bliss.”

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He took a big syringe with a huge needle of his utensils tray. As he brought the syringe closer to my face, the needle went straight into my gums. One time. Two times. Three times. By the fourth time my entire chin was as numb as a rock. His assistant Dr. Jekyll was holding my lip down so Dr. Frankenstein could perform the surgery. I felt a little drowsy and I didn’t want to see two pairs of hands fiddling different objects in my mouth so I decided to close my eyes for a bit. Find a happy place.

***

All of a sudden it was as if I got flushed down a vortex of some sort. Like a washing machine. Or perhaps even, a toilet. When I flushed through the strange type of birth canal all the way to the other side, I found myself in a water basin in some kind of weird work shed.

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As I regained my hearing I heard horses passing by. And carriages. Gentleman talking in low voices. Females laughing in a girly high pitch.

What is this place? Where am I? And why am I naked?!

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The last thing I could remember was Dr. Frankenstein pricking that big needle in my gums. But here, the doctor was nowhere to be seen.

Me: “Dr. Frankenstein? Hello?? Anybody??”

In the nook of the roof I saw a little window. I climbed up the webby wood work to gaze through it and find a point of recognition. Maybe the MAS. Or the Schelde.

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I saw people in historic garments in the streets. Women in long skirts and coats with curly hair. Men wearing high hats and leather shoes. I saw little boys selling newspapers for a penny. Smoke coming from the gutters.

Me: “I woke up in a basin in the 19th century??”

Dr. Frankenstein was so friendly to leave an appropriate gown for me on the chair next to the basin. Or maybe it was Dr. Jekyll. He had a little gay vibe going on there.

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I hopped into the clothes and found a way out of that shed in order to find a way back to civilization!

I was racing through the streets. I was making myself stand out instead of blend in but I was kind of in a hurry to go back. I only paid the parking meter for 1 hour and 15 minutes and I didn’t want to be fined AGAIN.

While I was rushing I accidentally bumped into a young man.

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Young man: “Careful there miss. Why is a beautiful woman like you in such a rush?”

Me: “I need to find my car.”

Young man: “Haha, I like a woman with wit. And a sense for emancipation.”

He reached out his hand and introduced himself.

“My name is Dorian Gray. And who might you be?”

Me: “Errr… Frankenstein. Lily Frankenstein.”

That’s what the sow-in label in my dress said.

He turned my hand to his face and kissed it.

Dorian: “Nice to meet you miss Frankenstein. Lily. Will you walk with me? To your car? (wink wink)”

Me: “Well…Mister Gray…. “

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Dorian: “I got a better idea. Let me invite you to dinner. At my place.”

Me: “Dinner?…Well a girl’s got to eat!”

At the end of the street we entered a beautiful piece of property with a magnificent inner court garden.

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The mansion was nothing I had ever seen. With big chandeliers on the ceiling and countless paintings on the walls.

Episode 106

Classical music was screeching from the gramophone.

Dorian: “Can I have this dance?”

I was overwhelmed by the need for passion of this young man. Who, to me, was still a complete stranger.

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Me: “Err… Don’t get me wrong Dorian but you look a little young for me.”

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Dorian: “Well, yes I am. I am immortal, you see. I am forever young.”

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Me: “Ok Dorian, I had a rough day. I woke up in a basin in the 19th century. With no clothes and no memory. I will probably have a fuckload of fines on my car’s windshield. And I still need to pay for my dental bill at checkout.”

I tilted my skirt up and made my way to the front door.

Dorian: “Wait, don’t leave yet. I want you to meet some of my old friends.”

Me: “Old? Like my type of old?”

Dorian: “Old acquaintances rather. I invited them over for dinner. To catch up on old times. Will you stay?”

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His begging bedroom eyes were strangely convincing when all of a sudden the door bell rang.

Dorian: “Ah, the first guest has arrived. Miss Frankenstein, may I introduce you to my good friend….

Mister Dracula.”

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Dorian: “Mister Dracula, I would like you to meet Lily Frankenstein.”

Dracula: “Enchanté. De-Lily-cious.”

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“And thank you for having me for dinner, Dorian. I haven’t had a bite in a while.”

Me: “Yeah I know what you mean. I’m supposed to be on this cycling diet but it’s hard as hell. It’s much easier to stay off the bottle.”

Dracula: “Off the bottle? So if I would bite you, there would be no alcohol in your blood?”

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Me: “Cero coma cero, cero, cero, cero my friend… And I had a vegan burger yesterday so you’re probably not interested in this broccoli bun.”

Dracula: “Grose.”

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DING DOOOOIINGG

Dorian: “Woops, there is our next guest.”

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Me: “Ok with one girl and two guys already present, the next one should either be a housewife or a queer guy according to the rules of reality tv. Or maybe both.”

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A surprising presence entered the ball room and filled the void with what could only be described a James Bond-ly charm. His aura was so bright and strong I felt a minor tremor in my belly.

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“Hello”, the dark handsome man spoke to me. He reached out to kiss my hand and spoke more. “And who might you be?”

Me: “Lily Frankenstein…I guess.”

Handsome man: “Your eyes are like two full moons in a pitch dark night.”

Dracula: “Yeah, even werewolves would cry for this tasteless piece of meat”

Me: “Oh bite me, Dracula.”

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Handsome man: “Haha, she’s got attitude. I like that.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

Handsome man: “It’s Fyodor. Fyodor Dostoyevsky.”

Me: “Nice to meet you Frodo.”

Episode 104

Dostoyevksy: “It’s Fyo…”

Dorian: “Shall we sit?”

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Fyodor was so kind to take my chair back and help me sit down. He installed himself at my side and continued to pick my brain form there.

We only had commenced our conversation or there were already a bunch of servants eager to fill up our glasses.

Me: “Oh, not for me I’m on a strict alcohol ban.”

Dostoyevsky: “Really? What’s your trauma?”

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Me: “Oh it’s silly, really. I’m participating in a big cycling event in a couple of weeks and I’m staying off the bottle. But I could go for a coke zero if you have one cold.”

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Dorian: “Miss Frankenstein seems to be coming from a different planet. Earlier she was looking for her car. She feared the parking rangers would fine her.”

All together: “Hahahaha. The parking rangers. You are an extraterrestrial miss Frankenstein.”

Dracula: “With no seasoning whatsoever.”

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Dostoyevsky:We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken. You are an enigma miss Frankenstein. A puzzling and inexplicable occurrence.”

Me: “And you are a fine poet mister Dostoyevsky.”

Dostoyevsky: “How did you guess? I write about psychos, sadists, downtrodden persons, drunks and murderers. I see desperate and hopeless people everywhere. My literary hunt is to passionately find a way out for these lost causes. I am a chronicler of the soul. “

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Me: “I too am a chronicler of the soul, sir! A troubadour of the world. I keep all my stories on my blog. A compendium of thoughts.”

Dostoyevsky: “I’ll drink to that, miss Frankenstein.”

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“So where can I read this compendium of yours? You got a manuscript with you?”

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Me: “Heck no Frodo. I’m not even wearing underwear right now. You can find everything on the internet.  Wait, you got Whatsapp? I’ll text it to you that’s probably easier.”

Dostoyevsky: “Your vocabulary is quite advanced. The internet? Whatsapp?”

Me: “Oh right. Silly me! Those are inventions of the 20th – 21st century. Let’s just say I am continuously editing my life story in a global network connecting millions of computers that will be possible to read in a couple of hundred years. It’s a story about finding a way in life based on 100% hope and 0% prejudice. Staying true to yourself and your beliefs. Even if the world thinks you’re just being blonde and clueless.”

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Dostoyevsky: “Blonde and Clueless? It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them — the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.”

Me: “You got that right. But it’s a bumpy road to follow, I can tell you that.”

Dostoyevsky: “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”

Me: “That’s what I say! I often have the feeling I am the only one asking questions. The only one who has the courage to dig deeper. To decipher the inner clockwork. To find some hidden design. People just say I’m full of illusions. That I’m a lost cause, hopelessly going the wrong way.”

Dostoyevsky: “To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid…”

“Plus: Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time, isn’t it miss Frankenstein?”

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Me: “Damn right, Mister D! I hope you don’t mind me saying this but I think you could be the ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless’ avant la lettre! My counterpart in this century! I will try to print out some of my excerpts and bring it to you next week when I have my second appointment with my doctor to remove my threads.”

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As I pronounced the words ‘threads’ I felt someone pulling me away from the scene. Like someone was sticking a needle into me and pulling a thread through it. And again. And again. And again. Removing me from this place entirely.

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As I floated away, looking down on the scenery from a bird’s perspective…

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I felt like I was looking at the decor of the parlor game I had when I was a child: 1313 Dead End Drive.

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A place of Crime and Punishment.

At that moment, while floating somewhere between the 19th and 21st century with the narcotics running out, I felt it.

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Enlightenment.

A feeling that something was coming.

A change.

A positive one. For as far as I sensed it.

Either professional or romantic. I don’t know yet. But something is about to put my life in a completely different galaxy soon.

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In a distance I heard my friend Dostoyevsky telepathically dispensing his final life advice to me. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi connecting to Luke Skywalker.

“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness. Calculate your happiness, miss Frankenstein. Even if you cannot see the sun. Know that it exists. To know that the sun is there – that is living.”

Me: “10-4 Fyodor!”

I’m ready to jump to hyperspace.

Back home. Back to the present.

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Me: “I am one with the force, the force is with me. I am one with the force, the force is with me. I am one with the force, the force is ….”

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Dr. Frankenstein: “Welcome back miss Delgouffe. Seems like you had a wonderful journey.”

Me: “I have a feeling it is only the beginning, doctor.”

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***

To be continued.

Source fan fiction: Penny Dreadful season 1,2,3; Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘Notes from Underground’, ‘White Nights’, ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ ; ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Rogue One’. 

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…

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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