Freaks + geeks

There was a girl who talked to freaks.

You: ?

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

*ahum*

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

she did so

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squat goals!

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Errr, I mean squad goals.

Freaks and Geeks - Season 1

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

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

You: ???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t speak.

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

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Just let it all out K-boy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be kind to your kin.

And your knees.

And to live as much in the moment as possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Snap you later! 

==> Follow me: evdelgouffe aka ‘Blonde Clueless

XO

Directions

You: “Hi Ev, how’s the cycling career going? Staying vertically?”

Me: Well things are mostly going horizontally since I have suffered a severe back problem because of working my ass off in order to pay for my (amateur) cycling career.

It was September 13th, 13:13 pm and 13 degrees outside. I was standing in line for the bakery with number 13 in my hand when it happened.

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I couldn’t move for about two hours without pain shooting from my lower back down my left leg. It felt like a nerve got stuck between my back and my pelvis.

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The next day, the chiropractor tried to snap me out of it.

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But after two sessions I was still on my back.

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Here I was having spent a ton of money on a brand new road bike, already crippled before it had even started. 

A good thing about being horizontally is it gives you a chance to look up. And reflect. While I was gazing at the sky. Reading the clouds. I was trying to envision what my next move would be. Once I would be back in the saddle -literally- and able to move, that is.

Autumn has come, my sabbatical is almost over and I still don’t have a clue about what I’m going to/supposed to/want to do with my professional life.

Like time slipping away like sand in an hourglass. The more time ticks away, the more the realization comes:

I need to start choosing a direction.

And since there’s no more thing as ‘One Direction’ …

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… things can go ANY way.

And that shit’s crazy scary.

But -apparently- this is the part where I should throw in the word ‘exciting’.

My girl Kylie McGirr, could you take the word please? I need to pee.
(Listen to her, she’s the renowned writer of an … (E-)Book on nine steps to successful goal setting titled ‘Get Your Year Into Gear’ … Written by Kylie McGirr… Lovely rhyme work to say the least)picture-2016-10-12-om-09-58-15

Kylie:

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Coach Kylie is right. There IS an exciting side to it. People are seducing me with great job offers. I’ve pictured 5 different futures already. All had some nice things to say for them.

But it’s not ‘picture a future’. It’s ‘pick a future’.

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What to decide?

Where to go?

I need a BIG road sign in my life

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No, not that one…

Rather one with:

‘Your direction here’ 

‘100% regret proof’ 

‘100% satisfaction guaranteed’

‘Try now, you’ll get an ‘always right, never wrong’ compass for free’

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‘Don’t like it? You’ll get an alternative route for free’ 

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One year ago I  wasn’t ready to choose. I took a detour. And did what traffic loving Belgians like to do: place a big sign with ‘Works ahead’. To work on myself. To work some stuff out. To do anything but work work work.

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The consequences were horrendous.

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The Daily Planet: “People turning in driver’s license due to too many personal road works”

If I could I would have just 8-balled my way out of this pickle. But those things tend to change their minds more than Donald Trump opens his mouth.

Will I find the right direction?

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Will it bring me a gainful, mentally stable, enjoyable though creatively challenging future?

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Why not?!

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I know I need to choose the way myself. Without tools. And follow my inner compass.

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What says my head?

What says my heart?

What says Pocahontas??

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Steady as the beating drum?
Should I marry Kocoum?
Is all my dreaming at an end?
Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver
Just around the riverbend?
Ok, Pocahontas’ advice is to keep looking for excitement, the unpredicted path, without being held back by handsome men who build sturdy walls.
But I need a bigger AHA! feeling than that.
The great output of coach Kylie, the 8-ball and Pocahontas aside, it was time to take life lessons of a much higher level.
You: “God? “
Me: “The hermit crab.”
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Every hermit crab comes to a time in life where he -or she- needs to move to a bigger shell. They need to recognize that the small shell they used to call their home cannot hold what they are becoming and they need to take adequate actions. Without fear of growing and stepping out of their comfort zone. It requires serious courage for those beady eyed sea babies to leave their old shell since they are extremely vulnerable without it.
Some crabs even develop hermit crab anorexia. They starve themselves out of fear of growing and taking on new challenges. fatso-burger-picture

The subtext here is: The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic long-term learning process, and not live in a shell of static safe mediocrity. Growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.

Every challenge you accept is a new shell, a new home and a new opportunity for growth. The current one you have might be comfortable for now, but what are you depriving yourself of to stay there?  What challenges are you shying away from just so that you can remain right where you are?

Let’s all think about this while indulging on a savory treat.

Crab cake anyone?

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I guess this blog post will be another ‘to be continued’.

Let me know if you’re looking for a bigger shell. We can all go shell-looking together. Apparently hermit crabs use their social network to trade up a shell. When a hermit crab finds a new, larger shell, several other individuals gather around and form a kind of queue from big to small. When a hermit crab that is sufficiently large arrives for the empty shell, this puts a chain reaction in motion: the largest crab takes the empty shell, the second largest creeps into the newly abandoned shell, etc. 

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The Daily Planet: “Hermit -and obese- drivers queuing for a bigger car”

XO

Oh before I forget. I want to end this post with a small communication service.

Recently I was going through my social media and I came across someone using the hashtag ‘#funemployed‘. Now, I know this blog is called ‘Blonde/Clueless’ but I was shocked by so much cluelessness after discovering this hashtag.

I mean:

Was taking the ring to Mordor fun?

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Sure it was adventurous, and Frodo didn’t have to go to work for a long long time but leaving your job to go look for new and unexplored roads isn’t fun. It’s fucking hard work.

Sometimes I just want to snap people into place myself:

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And say:

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You: “Ahm… You should say, you’re having a relationship with a bicycle.”

Me:

souls

 

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Dring Dring

 

Shooting hoops

I’ve been having some trouble sleeping lately. I guess it has all to do with having a lot on my mind.

For starters:

A) In one month I will be saying goodbye to my perfect little apartment in the south of Antwerp.

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Since I can’t pay for it any more. Since…

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B) On top of that I have been having nightmares about the café I work at. Ever since I had to clean up after this drunken customer pissing all over the place, his fizzy pee haunts me in my sleep.

C) Same goes for Kaley Cuoco’s lip sync battle. That shit’s craayzaay scary.

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I needed something to take my mind of things.

I decided to join my dad for a little Tuesday B-ball practice. He wanted to try out his new state of the art Derrick Rose shoes.

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Badass sneaks

And to me, it seemed like a good day to kick some veteran ass.

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Seemed like the only person I opened a can of whoop ass on … was myself.

Dad: “Hi guys, I brought my daughter with me tonight to join us during our game, I hope that’s okay.”

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Roger: “Yeah sure,…

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… I’m out of shape today anyway.”

Me: “Errr… (?!)”

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Apparently some of the gents weren’t too happy with a female entering the bunch. Since a couple of them were really looking for some ‘guys time only’.

Turned out one fellow’s wife was diagnosed with advanced cancer, which obviously is a big blow. She only has 12 months to live.

And Roger’s old Missus had just left him.

Roger: “I haven’t eaten for seven days.”

Me:

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Apparently she came back from a holiday in Spain and told him: “You can come and collect me from the airport but you’re not taking me or my luggage back with you.”

Auwtch.

All the more reason to get this party started, right?

Me: “Suicide anyone?”

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Dad: “Word choice, dumb-ass. It’s not the best idea to mention death or anything related… Besides, you don’t want to put ideas into Roger’s old cranium.”

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Some guy on the team: “You can warm up by keeping score.”

Me: “B-b-b-b-but…”

Steven: “Don’t listen to him, kid. I’ll sit this first round out. You go and play.”

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Losers.

Okay, I wasn’t taking this training as serious as some of the alpha males in the bunch but I wasn’t planning on letting these dinosaurs walk all over me. They didn’t expect a whole lot of me so I might as well just confirm that prejudice. Or give them a run for their money.

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But I was a tad rusty. My shots were lousy. I either came too short or threw too far. Same problem with my passes. I needed to readjust my arm strength.

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So I went all out on my defense.

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Some guys were double my size. But I jumped and clapped like my life depended on it. I managed to block some passes and dribbles biting the old men’s calves like an annoying chihuahua.

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Of course my ‘hands-on’ defense strategy exhausted me in no time. After the first half, which lasted about 45 minutes, I was already starting to develop reversed Joker mouth.

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(When your face runs red leaving a white grin around your mouth)

Wow these veterans have physique! I go on morning runs but this is a completely different ball game. My tongue was on my knees. I had forgotten how tiring this was.

Paul: “So you played basketball yourself?”

Paul is 61. He had a close shave with death recently. Two months ago his heartbeat was only 25.

Me: “Yeah I played when I was 14 or so.”

Paul: “Gee, that must have been a very long time ago.”

Me:

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Paul: “I mean, at least a couple of years.”

I did some quick mathematics -who am I kidding, I’m super slow at mathematics- and realized I started playing when I was about 14. That ‘ll be 14 years ago next month. Half of my existence!

This was like a subconscious anniversary. Not that that period is dear to me. I got bullied. A lot.

Some girls on my team would launch the pass before they’d call my name. By the time I looked, the ball would just crash into my face and everybody would burst into laughter. It was a tough learning school. From which I still benefit today. It taught me not to give up. Ever.

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Fortunately I wasn’t the weakest link in this bunch.

Paul: “See that guy over there? That’s Walter. Super intelligent man. But incredibly useless on the field. He couldn’t score once, not even if his life depended on it. That’s because he can’t catch a single pass. He sucks. But he’s here every week. So we cut him some slack.”

I felt connected with Walter. Cause I know how it feels. But I didn’t spare him on the defense front. The poor bastard could hardly get any passes through from his team mates.

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Suddenly I was faced with the beauty of it all. We all had our personal reasons to be on that court. And to ‘give it a shot’. Sometimes we’d miss. Sometimes we’d score. But the outcome was the same on both sides: in the end we had fun. And all it involved was a metal ring and a little bit of fair play.

After one and a half hour of running around, my dad’s team (including me) won. And I contributed the full six points! That’s six more than Walter on his team. And a couple dozen less than my dad. With training being over, everybody could go back to their lives. And their wives. Except for Roger…

Me latching on to the score board: “Wow, I’m dead!”

“I mean…!”

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(Word choice! Word choice!)

In the car I had a little post game talk with my dad.

Dad: “You did good against those old bastards. You got better and better by the end of the game.”

It did come back to me. And even though I didn’t bring my A-game, I very much enjoyed the workout and the trip down memory lane. And for one whole hour and a half I didn’t think about my problems once.

Me: “You know dad, I’m really glad we did this. The fact that we did this together was the best part…And you definitely have the nicest shoes on the team.”

Dad: “I know, right.”

That night I slept like a rose.

A Derrick Rose.

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XO

Here’s another trip down memory lane:

Lace up the sneaks kick off them shoes
I’ll admit I play to win yo cause I don’t like to lose

(G. Love & Special Sauce)

Korsakov

picture-2016-09-07-om-11-36-12Korsakoff’s syndrome , also known as Korsakoff’s disease, is a persistent memory disorder which is primarily caused by vitamin B1 deficiency, usually due to too little varied food by chronic alcohol abuse . It is characterized by disorientation, especially in time , disorders, in particular short-term memory and confabulation.

In layman’s terms: The severe memory loss you develop when overindulging on alcohol.

The time has come you guys. Ever since I came back from my travels I’ve been going home every night smelling of stale beer and sweat. Dazed and confused.

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Tired. Falling asleep on my couch watching Comedy Central. Or worse: Spike TV.

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I’ve hit rock bottom alright.

I spend most of my days in the bar.

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You: “Gee Evvy how did it come this far? I never considered you to be an alcoholic.”

Me: “Me? Oh I don’t drink. I just stick to water, coffee, ginger juice and brownies. Plain brownies. Not the ones Martha Stewart baked in prison.”

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You: “But I don’t get it, then why do you say you go home smelling of beer? All dazed and confused?”

Me: “Because I work in a bar dummy. You’re currently looking at the new barmaid of Korsakov. The coolest -and most ‘colorful’- bar in town. It attracts some interesting specimens I can tell you that. And ‘men’ in general.”

Owner: “Gee, ever since I hired you the café is filled with guys. It’s like they’ve never seen a female bartender before.”

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First barmaid in history. All rights reserved.

It’s like that time when Buffy left Sunnydale to live in that shitty apartment, making ends meet by working as a waitress and changing her name into Anne!

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“I have to write this down”

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(Guys acting like they’ve never seen a female bar tender before)

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Ooh, that’s a strong look. Maybe I should try it out today.

Relax. It’s all temporary. And it’s all for a good cause.

You: “Oh you’re donating your earnings to charity?”

Me: “Err, no. I’m saving up for a new challenge.”

You: “A boob job???”

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Me: “No perv, my tits are fine. I did the pencil test…”saggy-boobs

Although it is a great idea for my tip jar…

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No, I’m very comfortable in my skin and feel very blessed to be walking around in this goddess body Mother Nature bestowed on me. And it’s nice to see I am still very much in control of my mind and bodily functions.

…Which is more than I can say for some of the customers.

Weird dude: “Hey Anne could you pour me another Duvel. It’s only my sixth one today.”

Me: “My name is Evelien.”

“And its only 11.30 am…”

Weird dude: “Well I’ve been awake for almost six hours. I went to bed at 4.30 and got up at 6. It’s okay I usually drink 18 Duvels a day.”

Meliver

Weird dude: “So you’re still in school?”

Me: “Err; no.”

Weird dude: “Then why do you work here? “

Me: “Because I want to.”

Weird dude: “Waw, you’re weird.”

I just got called weird by the weirdest guy on this planet :

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Weird dude: “What’s your name again?”

Me: (…)

Korsakoff’s syndrome. Told ya.

You: “Well the weird guy does have a point there, Ev. Why do you work there? You got excellent qualifications, you graduated with distinction, your IQ is above average, one year ago you were the perfect ivory to will.i.am’s ebony…

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…Not to be rude or anything but you can do way better than this.”

Me: “Look, don’t feel bad for me guys, I choose to work here. It keeps me grounded. It pays the bills and it gives me time to gain some perspective, look at things from a different point of view, put my priorities in order and think of all the things I want to achieve before I’m 30 and after. I’m coming up for air. And it’s actually working out really well for me.

I’ve been feeling super energized. For the first time in a long time I feel like I can finally breathe again. I’m not on my case anymore. I’m working, making money, contributing to society. And I’ve actually been creating a lot of cool stuff.

You: “So tell us about that new challenge you’re saving up for?”

Me: “Well it’s still a secret but I can say it’s a physical challenge. But my body is far from fit yet.”

You: “You finally realized you belong in the porn industry?”

Me: “Yuk no! Why has this always have to be about S-E-X??”

You: “Slaying vampires?”

Me: “I wish! Been wanting to do that since I was 10.”

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You: “Oh I know! You’re going back to China?”

Me: “Unfortunately no, even though I dream about my Shifu commanding me to do Russian push ups every night…<3”

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The first ever original pic of my Shifu on the blog. His Chi is mostly in his hair.

He would so much enjoy using that staff to punish drunken customers. Not that I dislike alcohol or people how drink or anything.

I do -very rarely- enjoy a shot of tequila after a hard shift. With a side of …. UH OH

LEMON!

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But I do steer away from the alcohol demon as much as I can. I’ve seen what it does to people. And it’s not pretty.

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And of course Beyoncé is so drunk in love she can’t even spell right.

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Or remember she took a shit in the kitchen.

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What I’ve realized over my short career of bartending, is that there’s always a reason to drink. Some drink to celebrate. Some drink to make something happen. Others -and they’re quite the majority unfortunately- drink to forget.

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 To forget their dad abandoned them when they were a kid. To forget their girlfriend left them for some other dude. To forget they have financial trouble. A dead end job. To forget the prison they’re living in.

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And who can blame them? It is tempting to lighten the burden with bourbon.

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But reality is: life has got us all by the throat. Everybody is looking for their cup of happiness. But maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to find if we wouldn’t raise the bar on ourselves that much.

It’s like in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’. We go looking for the perfect cup. With emeralds and gold, …. the whole shebang. But it’s the simplest cup which carries the purest happiness.

My glass is filled to the rim these days. With my own (non alcoholic) brew. Now, it’s only a first draft so things can still curdle, but I discovered the perfect way to perfect acceptance and happiness is to sometimes just stand still. Nakedly exposed, for everyone to take a good look at you. And you allowing them. Without fear of failure.

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I’ve realized: If you want to succeed in life, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail.

Not being scared to occasionally fall on your face is the way to put life check mate.

Life is a game of chess, I’ve said it before. And I will say it again.

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There’s nothing wrong with standing still or even taking a few steps back if it helps you to jump further in the long run.

For now, I decided for myself: I don’t have to be achieving 24/7.

I choose to underachieve.

And it feels great. Incredibly liberating even! It definitely beats trying to be someone you’re not or desperately achieving someone else’s crazy high standards and feeling miserable over it.

mistrake1

Hi, I’m a temporary voluntary underachiever.

Nobody is perfect and still we demand ourselves to be a perfect 10 every day. In order to be acknowledged. By ourselves. And by our surroundings. To be something other than just a brick in the wall. A plant. Or maybe a pretty flower.

Well in order to become that. To rise above your feeding ground. You have to let the seed grow. And all that requires is three basic ingredients. Air. Patience. And water*.

*Nope, sorry, no alcohol.

And for what it’s worth. This is a quote I found on the toilet wall in the bar:

“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, then it never was.”

If this doesn’t sober you up for the better, I don’t know what will.

Cheers!

ron-burgundy-l-6enrck

XO

KABLEWY! Blonde/Clueless has it’s own business cards! What do you think guys? Isn’t this kick you in the nuts damn right fantastic?!

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chrispratt

🙂

Fire

(! Caution: this read could cause altitude sickness. And could contain traces of drugs, nuts and nudity.)

I touch the fire and it freezes me.
I look into it and it’s black. 

Why can’t I feel?
My skin should crack and peel.
I want the fire back.

(-Once More, with Feeling
episode 7, season 6, 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer-)

People: “How do you do it? I’m already working my 6th consecutive Sunday in order to pay my bills. Damn girl, you’re living the life. How silly are we.”

People: “So you’ve traveled half the globe, went directly to the Tour de France and are now living the bohemian life in Ibiza. What’s next on the agenda, Ev?”

Me: “Worrying. Potentially with the outlook of living in a box for a while.”
People: “Sure. Since you live such a hard life party . LOL”.

Reality catches up on you like an FBI agent wanting you to comply to the rules everybody has to comply to.

mranderson
And it seems it’s time to go back to every day life.

That cruel, pitiless place that is nothing like the colorful sketch we see in romantic comedies or read about in novels.

It looks like I will stay in Antwerp for some time to come, to recalculate and find a temporary job to pass time. And top up my finances. (Since tax payers don’t pay for sabbaticals anymore.)

Money makes the world go round. And makes me go around that world. And since I’m not a gay dancer receiving 500 euro tips from Arabic bobos in Ibiza night clubs, I have to find a real job and walk the line for a while. The production line.

shes-all-that-laney-falafel-hat-job

It didn’t help splurging all my ‘Tour de France’ money in Ibiza. But that’s all part of living in the moment and leaving the worrying for after.

Err…Yeah, I didn’t really succeed in doing that last part either.

The idea sounds simple. Just living in the moment, sand between my toes, sun bathing, shutting down the hard drive, recharging the batteries, hakuna matata.

But, the truth is, I have always been a terrible in the moment liver…

fatty-liver

Due to some serious binge-traveling I knew I would be left with a financial and possibly emotional hangover. It was immanent. The thought was everywhere I went. While I was standing on the dance floor. While I was sitting on the back of the scooter clinging on to my best friend Cedric like grabbing on to life. While I was lying on the beach… Everywhere I looked I saw people enjoying a hard earned holiday. When I flew over me, I saw escapism. Topless escapism.

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Somebody who escaped everyday life in order to live in a dream bubble for a while -with unsupported breasts!- but soon that bubble would explode like Cinderella’s carriage that would turn back into an ugly pumpkin. And she would be left in the gutter. With one shoe. And saggy tits.

My head was under attack with these thoughts. At first I thought I was just PMS-ing.

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But it was something much worse.

I got hit by melancholy.

anchorman

Wiki: Melancholy or nostalgia is a state of mind that tends towards depression and is characterized by a sad look on the past or an unfulfilled desire.

Somebody else puts it this way:

I think the eternal melancholy of grown ups is: the desire for deep tenderness. Tenderness that goes so deep there is no worldly problem that can come between that. Giving everything. Receiving everything. Always receiving. It sounds immature but I think the base of melancholy is the lack of maturity. The desire for eternal protection.”

(Goosebumps, ammiright?)

It’s about 15 years ago I first came in contact with the word ‘melancholy’. (…) During an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

1997 The cast of "Dawson's Creek." From left to right: Katie Holmes (Joey Potter), James Van Der Bee

I was too busy with the superficial love story and was just waiting for Joey and Pacey to finally kiss that I didn’t really give a lot of attention to Dawson’s obvious teenage depression. I just thought he was a big nag really.

first world problem
Only now: it seems I’ve come down with the Dawson syndrome myself. THE WORST PMS EVER!

According to the internet:
Melancholic
people are emotionally sensitive, perfectionistic introverts.

No shit! I am emotionally sensitive and a big time perfectionist. Otherwise I wouldn’t have given up ‘the perfect job’, ‘the perfect relationship’ for some more meaningful life I know is just out there somewhere.
Reality is my biggest (fr)enemy. I want my dreams to be reality. But reality doesn’t domesticate that easy. And the introvert part? Well I don’t like people that much so I live in my own head a lot. Thinking, dreaming, worrying, … Worry if I will ever make it in this life. If I will find a balance between providing for a future while not forgetting to live and breathe and enjoy the ride.

carrie-bradshaw-annoying5

You: “Then why didn’t you just stay a newspaper journalist with a stable life and a fix income. Do you know how much people would kill to be what you were?”

Well I couldn’t.
Exactly one year ago, Angelo started a fire in me.

20150807 Angelo Valkenborgh - Mokri Potok
Deep in the Slovenian woods he taught me there is more to life than working your head off, paying bills and being a slave to society. “If you don’t like where you’re at in life, change the decor. If you don’t like the road that’s laid out for you, pave your own. If you don’t like the future that’s ahead of you. Draw a new one. The secret of leading a rich life is to let go. And find wealth in less.”

I was spoilt to land a job like that at such a young age. My golden ticket was handed to me, just like that. But I felt I was achieving for someone else. I was not living for me. So I went to confront, challenge and comfort myself. Comfort myself with the thought I stayed true to my gut. And dared to be me. Free. Instead of trying to be someone I was not. Caged.

But that morning in Ibiza. I was mourning.

IMG_2016-08-05 12-08-44

The fire Angelo ignited was slowly dying. Like somebody took a piss on it.

It was only later I discovered the new moon had poisoned me…

You: ??

Apparently there was a new moon rising. And apparently ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, ets.) take control during a new moon. New moon night is a golden opportunity for the ghosts to cause distress to man. It’s only since meeting Helmut in Tasmania and studying some Chinese philosophy in China I started to pay attention to the moon. And it being a carrier of human emotions.

My thoughts churning: “I’m alone. Alone with my responsibilities. And I’m tired. I’ve traveled so far. I have gained. And I have lost. Was it all worth it? I would love to be carried on a meandering river. Like baby Moses. Knowing I will reach a destination. Instead of taking this thorny road*.”

* Remembering a passage in ‘The Art of Learning’, a book I was reading, by Josh Waitzkin:

“To walk a thorny road, we may cover its every inch with leather. Or we can make sandals.”  (Indian parable)
Picture 2016-08-19 om 14.40.28

goose_with_sandals

Make sandals. Got it. 

Some people admire me for making the decision. Throwing away securities to dig deeper, find a deeper meaning, savoring life to the fullest.

But that morning in bed, I couldn’t help but ask myself:

Is it nobel to live according to your ideals? Or is it just dumb, self-destructive and naive?

Is this the time I wake up, lose my innocence and change into the pessimist everybody else has already become?

joker

error

I mean how stubborn can you keep holding on to something?

I just wanted to crawl into a big sweater. One that fits my knees, curl up and whisper: “Life be gentle on me. Don’t drown me. In regret, financial debt or other heart ache. Life be gentle on me. Don’t drown me. In regret, financial debt or other heart ache. Life be gentle on me. Don’t …”

unsupported

 

Argentinian summer love*: “Hey Ev, wanna watch the meteor shower tonight?”
(*For those who don’t know, I had an Argentinian summer love in Ibiza. See previous post!)

Me: “M…meteor shower? Yeah, sounds great.”

“…Do I have to wear a bra?”

Argentinian summer love: “Err..no…”

That night at dinner, I turned to the Argentinian for a piece of advice. Since he studied Psychology.

Yes…:

mygirl

And sexually…

Anyway.

He’s a big realist. The opposite of the big dreamy drama queen I can be. And a Fire sign. Exactly what I needed.

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To him, life is just life. You don’t have to have it together always. You just have to always live. (…) And if you fail to do so, take some drugs, it will lift your spirits right up and get rid of your anxiety.

firetrip

Me: “Err, that’s not really my cup of tea. I mean, I thought about taking a pill in Ibiza, like that Mike Posner song suggests, but I changed my mind. I don’t do drugs. I’ll just stick to this bottle of wine.”

Argentinian: “Alcohol is potentially the worst drug out there. It’s just because it’s accepted and drugs aren’t that people think it’s okay. Coke is a natural plant. In the 19th century cocaine was to be considered a panacea for everything from headaches to indigestion to aches and pains. For instance, it helps against altitude sickness. I chewed some coca leaves while I was climbing Machu Picchu.”

Me: “Uhu.”

Argentinian: “A lot of brilliant scientist and geniuses established their best work under the influence of drugs. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was an avid cocaine fan. The guy who discovered the double helix structure of DNA was under influence of LSD. Same goes for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and The Beatles.”

“You think you’re healthy cause you don’t take drugs? There are enough bad chemicals in food and pharmacies. Society has each and every one of us medicated and drugged. And it’s often worse than we think. Relax, I’m not saying we should all shoot heroin.”

Me thinking: “I’d rather have you shoot me with your loaded gun.”

loaded gun.gif

Argentinian: “I’ve seen you worrying. You’re absent. You live in your mind too much. Let me just tell you: the future is not here yet. No matter what you choose, there are no bad choices. Whether you choose to leave or stay, it is going to be good.”

Me: “Okay cut the psychobabble bullshit, Freud. Let’s watch the stars and touch each other!”

I don’t know if it was the wine or the meteor chemistry above our heads but I was slowly starting to come… alive again. One scooter ride later we were on the roof of our Spanish hacienda. It was pitch dark. Only the sky was lit in an emerald glow and every 5 meters street lights were stitching the sky deck to the earth. While the bright celestial fire balls were bravely sliding down the atmosphere, something changed inside me. I felt a flow. -No, not my period.- I was feng shui-ing again. The bad demons of the new moon had left the building and I was released from evil spirits. (…) And pants.

That night on the roof, …

I got the fire back.

XO

People: “Gee Ev, you talk so openly about your intimate… thoughts. Aren’t you ever embarrassed to show yourself this naked? Or afraid of what your parents might say?”

Me: “Err no, my parents raised me this way and I don’t take myself seriously. At all. I am a free spirit. I’m breaking down my barriers, releasing my inhibitions. And spreading the word of self-love, self-development, self-reflection and self-deprecation.

 

 

When life gives you lemons…

lemons

be creative.

 

Same goes for watermelons.

watermelons

Let’s just all embrace our blonde/cluelessness together! 

cable-guy-jim-carrey-visits-matthew-broderick-in-jail-review

Peace out.

 

Se7en

Following my latest blog post, I started thinking about relationships. And why we’re in them.

Not only is a vast majority of people I know reproducing, …

sheldon-cooper-spray-can

… there are also couples breaking up before my eyes. Good friends of mine who turn to me for relationship advice and who are just battered and bruised from the process of desperately trying to stay together.

Hence the question: Why are we in relationships?

We get brought up with the idea we’re half a coin. A Yin without a Yang. Someday you have to find someone, your missing puzzle piece. This idea is forced upon us by media, advertising, religion, parents, …It is such an obvious thing that we forget to ask ourselves: Why?

Aren’t we all complete persons already? And isn’t it possible that having a +1 could potentially devaluate our coin? You could be a gold medal trading it in for silver or bronze. Or tin.

Why are people so scared of ending up alone?

loveorloneliness

I haven’t been in a relationship for two years now. Only recently I feel like I am ready to potentially start a new one. I had my time to catch up with myself, put my own needs up front for a while, and now I feel I’m ready to walk the road with someone next to me. But I’m not forcing anything. The right relationship will come around when the time is right.

And that’s what some people just don’t have the patience for.

I feel like a lot of people settle just to settle.

1. For some it’s the outlook of unlimited sex.

2. For others the warranty of reproduction. Caused by unlimited sex.

3. For others it’s a sense of security/safety because they’re scared of being alone.

Usually things go well for a certain amount of time, but when that relationship comes under siege, it’s very hard to keep the ship afloat.

shipcan'tsink

ludes.gif

I have a friend who’s holding on to the cracks in her boat in order to keep the water out. She’s putting in all her effort and energy eventhough she knows the ship is going to sink. And the orchestra is already playing their final tune.

Then there is another friend who’s married and has kids. Her husband also has a second girlfriend. She knows, and he has promised to leave the other woman many times, but he still hasn’t, and they just stay together for the sake of staying together.

When it comes to relationships, is it sensible to bend not break? Or should we just stay true to ourselves and take the high road?

sinking minion

12-The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-quotes

In my opinion there are 4 distinct types of relationships:

1. the full on romantic relationship (this one is all about soulmates and true love and is very rare to be seen in real life),

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2. transitioning relationship (band-aids to heal from a previous ‘full on romantic relationship’, aka ‘rebound’. Usually one focusses only on physical characteristics and compatibility and refuses to build a deeper connection with the person),

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3. the forced relationship (forced onto people by family, environment, themselves),

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4. the professional agreement (love is replaced by money and the relationship is merely a status symbol)

Leo

For me, option 1 is always the goal. I would really love to find that one true puzzle piece. To fall madly in love, to share the rest of my life with one person. But is that thought realistic? Maybe love is a losing game and we should all stop believing in fairy tales.

cinderalla

The older I get, I can’t help but thinking true love is something that died with Shakespeare. Monogamy is a hoax and ‘Till death do us part’ is just a metaphor for : ‘When I found someone better and leave you behind’.

Even the best things get boring after a while.

french fries

Why do we try so hard to ignore the equation if we already know the outcome?

Roses die.

You either make potpourri and appreciate it for the little scent it spreads or you throw them out and get fresh ones every once and a while.

Your loyalty towards someone changes when your needs change. And in that opinion we are living in a time where everything and everyone is easily replaced.

For instance: Why invest in a quality razor if you can shave almost equally good with throwables? You don’t have to worry about maintenance, customs, and the possibility of accidentally leaving it somewhere.

Maybe true love is more like true friendship. You respect each other. Adore each other. But stay individual persons with individual needs. Love is replaced with lust. Lust is to be find in different places. But you stay true to a friendship.

sandy

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of the idea either. I’m just putting some observations out there, since ‘open relationships’ are all the rage these days.

But as far as I’m concerned a good relationship is all about simplifying things. Toning down expectations and putting things into perspective.

girls

Whenever I would meet someone I would always try to envision a future with that person and then decide if it would be someone I would want to invest in.
That’s silly, of course you cannot know from the very beginning. You’re only sabotaging yourself by creating these high standards, cause no way you will ever achieve them. And you will end up only disappointing yourself.

In that mind set I tried the concept of a summer love. It wasn’t a well thought plan or anything. It just happened here in Ibiza. He’s from Argentina and -at this moment- he makes me feel good about myself and I enjoy my time with him.

I don’t envision a future with him. And that’s the first time I’ve ever done that. It’s a bit weird at the beginning. But it’s all part of living life in the moment. And following your gut instead of your brain.

 

Knowing that, I finally gave up on the idea of ‘saving myself’ for mister right. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This stays between you and me okay? I have had a total of 6 bed partners in my life. Now, I’m not proud of it, if it were me I would have only sticked to one but life pushes you to make some mistakes along the way in order to find what you are really looking for. Anyway, there was something about number 7 I didn’t want to give up to just anyone. So I saved myself. And lived like a nun while traveling Australia, China and Japan.

Friend: “Maybe you should drop the whole magic number nonsense. I already reached seven when I was 14!”

Well, now I can say… I finally reached seventh heaven 😀

seven

You: Gee Ev, you have to kiss a lot of frogs not f*** them!

happymonica.gif

And especially for this occasion. Music maestro!

XO

Oh baby.

It’s a girl!

A little over 27 years ago my parents must have shouted it from the roof tops. I was a girl alright. A 4 kg heavy ball of delicate skin and bones. The hairs on my head, raven black. No, I wasn’t born all blonde and clueless. Life made me that way.

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My brother obviously loved me from day one ❤

It was October 19th 1988. A Wednesday. I was born a Libra. Pisces would be my ascending sign. It’s the sign that comes up, moves, or transitions at the exact time you are born. It would explain -years later- how an independent perfectionist Libra like me, who struggles to make decisions on a daily basis, suddenly threw all her comfort zones overboard to experience new things and explore the world.

IMG_5156

*This Libra / Pisces likes to shoot from the hip*

When I was in my early twenties, I always said I would start having babies by the time I would reach 27. Reality is: I’m further away from having babies now, than I was then. At least I had a relationship at that time. And I was very much convinced we would have babies together. Oh cluelessness.

By the end of 2015. While I was silently preparing my way to escape every day life and obligations,

escape-from-alcatraz

people were apparently doing the exact opposite thing. They were settling down. And having loads and loads of reproductional sex.

reproduction

It’s unbelievable how many people I know had babies this past month. My brother, one of my best friends, a friend from college, friends from friends, … I started looking into it (read: getting my Facebook spy on) and discovered how old class mates -even the biggest geeks alive- were already married, having children, starting families, building futures, … They we’re giving their love and being loved in return.

Friend: “I think I’ve missed my train.”

Me: “Whut?”

Friend: “I think I’ve missed my train.”

Me: “What are you talking about? Your car is parked right outside.”

Friend: “No… My train in life. In love. Where am I going to find someone? I’ll be 30 soon and everybody I know is settling and having kids. Maybe it’s just not meant to be for me.”

Me: “Hey! Are you crazy? You’re the sweetest girl alive and incredibly gorgeous, you are not missing your train, do you hear? If anyone is missing her train, it’s me.”

1f631

I never really realized it until I said it.

But while I was sitting on the perfectly tiled terrace of my new found baby momma friend, gazing over to my three Sex and the City-girlfriends, I suddenly realized: if life is a board game, I’ve been dealt the shitty cards here.

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*Smiling though slightly panicking*

The friend who supposedly missed her train has just bought an apartment all by herself, the baby momma -obviously- just had a baby, already has a flatter stomach than me and is going to get married in Spain next year. And the other girlfriend is living together with her boyfriend thinking about having loads and loads of reproductional sex too.

why sex egg and sperm

*His Storm Troopers attacking her Death Star right about now*

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I’m pushing 30, I have no property of my own, no more savings left, no boyfriend, no job and no sex whatsoever.

I couldn’t help but feeling everybody was passing me and I was somewhere hanging in the back. Waiting for a broom wagon to pick me up and put me out of my misery.

broomwagon

* Broom wagon : the vehicle that follows a Cycle Road Race picking up stragglers (or sweeping them up) who are unable to make it to the finish.

Ten years ago I was the first of all my girlfriends to have a job, a career, a relationship, a house, a dog, … I was the bloody Chris Froome of the peloton.  Suddenly I became the red lantern.

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I’m 27 and I have no clue what I’m gonna make of my life. While my friends are leaking milk for a higher cause, I will be partying in Ibiza this week with a bunch of bronzed gay gods pouring milk over their hot torsos. And that’s about as far my outlook goes!

(…)

While I was fretting over my future and stuffing my face with hummus at my friend’s place, I decided not to give in to these negative thoughts. They’re way too easy. And I haven’t crossed half the globe to be defeated this easily.

Shifu Gao won’t let me.

gordon_liu_pai_mei

Me in a bid to pick myself up: “Let me put it this way. If you could go back in time, would you really have wanted to trade all your life lessons to have the secure life at 27?”

“Well….no…”

Since, first of all, I don’t yet feel the need to reproduce, as I still am very much a child myself. And second: no matter how much of a terrifying and uncertain mess my life came to be, I am extremely happy I chose to live my life in the most honest way possible. By staying true to myself and care after MY needs first before saying ‘I do’ to a partner, a house or a family. I felt I needed to learn before I could love. And so I traveled in order to go do that.

If I get a baby soon, and my hubby decides to dump me for not finding me attractive anymore, at least I will be strong enough to 1) proper Kung Fu kick his ass and still know I am an amazing person and he is just a douchebag who will get his karma bill presented sooner or later and 2) provide a sane environment for me and my child, the most valuable people in my life.

But, for now, I don’t know where my unplanned life is going. It’s impossible to know. And -in the end- nobody does. A baby or a husband or a bunch of bricks aren’t going to ‘unchaos’ my life. I just need to have faith in things happening and letting go of the process.

It’s hard work. Especially when your surroundings are constantly putting you on a shelf to analyze you. Looking for holes in your game structure.

chess

Well, don’t bother, my game structure is full of holes. I play with my heart on my sleeve. With my queen exposed and vulnerable. I get hurt easily. But it’s the only way to live this life profoundly.

checkmate

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The race is long, according to Baz Luhrmann, and in the end it’s only with yourself.

I’ve decided:

I’m not in a rush. Society is trying to set a pace for me but I’m not participating. Life’s not a Time Trial. I much rather enjoy myself and the scenery in the back of the gruppetto* with the rest of the underdogs than fly over the finish for a yellow jersey, a stuffed animal and a big pay check just for the sake of being the first.

cav

* The autobus or the gruppetto is in bicycling terminology the name given to the group of cyclists in a road cycling race who form a large group behind the leading peloton.

I have the power and freedom to follow my own path to success. Because I have something many people forget to invest in. Me. And whoever wants to share the road with me, can tag along. But I’m not compromising.

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Attached to that thought: I have closed my Tinder profile. It wasn’t for me anyway. I don’t want to find a man who’s on Tinder. And why would any serious man want to find his girl on there anyway?

I’m too much of a Libra/Pisces for that.

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Up to Ibiza! Mommy’s gonna pour her some milk!

lecheeeee

XO

By the way: I used some cycling lexicon to bring this blog post about. As you may or may not know, I just came back from one month worth of touring and traveling France as a PowerBar hostess in the Tour de France. It was b-e-a-utiful! My job consisted of keeping the riders energized, healthy and happy ❤

Fear.

“Hi Ev, how have you been?”

….

“Hello Evvy, we miss the blog, how are you?”

….

“Hey Ev, I was just thinking about you. Curious how you are, now you’re back?”

….

“Ev, the mortician wants to know if you want regular coffee or decaf on your funeral. Since you don’t reply, we assume you’re dead.”

….

zombies

Grave

beatrix water

“Yes, of course! We want to know how you’re doing. If you’re depressed or happy? What your next move will be?”

My.. my next move?! Fucking… Go entertain yourself!

(…) “There’s no point in getting agitated, Ev, we just miss your stories.”

Well you should see a doctor for that addiction. I’m done writing.

buffy-top-ten-helpless

I’m not even lying. It’s not as if I don’t want to write. When I wrote my last blog post I knew it wasn’t the last. I just wanted you guys to believe it was, so you would be sad. Then, weeks later I would redeem myself and blow you all away with an amazing – unexpected – read that would probably land me my long awaited book deal.

madonna-tidal_3251257b

Ka-ching!

Well, I can just forget that.

Ever since I got back I don’t see stories anymore. It’s as if I’m slowly but surely going blind.

blind

Everything is so grey, dull, nothing inspires me here. I could just go in full hibernation mode. Even though summer has just begun. I guess I’m still on Australian time…

Why is it that the other side of the world does all this good for me, and being back home just doesn’t work for me. The first weeks I didn’t experience any problems with being back home. I had learned to live in the moment and not to hang on to the past too much. Memories, nostalgia, … it’s good to have them but you cannot live by them. I was happy. I also appreciated things more. Having seen a lot of forests, national parks, cities, beaches, train stations, airports, …. I suddenly valued some of the sceneries here even more. Belgium is a b-e-a-utiful country. But the mentality just drives me nuts.

“What are you gonna do now?” 
“You do realize you’re gonna have to have a decent job now?” 
“Something you can do for years in order to support a house, a family and a once in a year getaway?”

It’s like somebody slowly reaches out to suffocate me.

Buffy_Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-001

Very few things in life scare me. But if I’m easily paralyzed by one thing, it is the fear of living an ordinary life.

Type in Koinophobia in Youtube and you will bump on a perfect video explaining my very emotions.

koinophobia

Repetition, the slow process of decay. Being stuck in the waiting room of life. Waiting for it to come to an end and minutes before climbing the stairway to heaven realizing you didn’t really make the most of it. And that now, it is too late.

I’ve been looking into these things a little. Books, movies, youtube clips, Buddhism. Something to support my belief that an UNordinary life is possible. And I can prove everyone wrong.

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I have to, since I’m stuck on a train with realists, pessimists, non believers, … Even my mother doesn’t believe anyone would be interested in reading a book written by me. Seven years ago today I graduated cum laude. We were sitting in the back of the aula because we arrived a little late.

“It is with great honor I announce that we have one student who passed with distinction. Please come forward…. Evelien Delgouffe!”

My eyes widened. It was as if someone handed me a cheque, rolled out the red carpet and promised me I would never experience any problems in finding a job and a steady income. I was honored. And happy.

… I didn’t get a congratulations from my mom (*). Even though I knew deep inside she was proud, she kind of took it for granted. Same when I landed a job at the biggest newspaper in Belgium at only 21.

It’s very hard to be your own motivator. To tap yourself on the shoulder and tell yourself you’ll make it. Sometimes I feel as if I am the only believer here. But I won’t step over to the dark side.

… I don’t care how much of a tantric sex god Kylo Ren is.

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I just need to stop letting people who do so little for me, control so much of my mind, feelings and emotions. I shouldn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks or says about how I should live my life. And I should definitely not give up on what I believe in. There are no red carpets, win for life cheques, no safe boxes where you can live happy and be free at the same time. If you want to succeed in something you will have to make that happen. And nothing great has ever come out of thinking inside a box.

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A lot of people get discouraged. Get paralyzed by fear. Before they knew it they’ve been putting potato chips in cylinder cans for 30 years straight. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s what you really enjoy doing. I’m not judging here. Probably a lot of people are happy with a mediocre marriage and a mediocre job. I just also see a lot of people regretting their life choices because they thought they didn’t have a choice.)

If everybody was just a little bit more open minded, a little bit more hopeful and a little bit less realistic, just imagine how different this world would look like.

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What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Face Everything And Rise.

XO

(*) Then again, maybe I never said thank you for sending me to college either. So all is forgiven, mommy! I love you no matter what! …But you can’t have any royalties once my book gets international acclaim.

Here’s a song especially for you

Aftermath

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? 

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And what did you want? 

To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth. 

(Raymond Carver, Late Fragment)

***

Okay guys, we all know what time it is. It’s closing time. My trip is coming to an end. This is the final blog post. Grab your last drink, sit back and relax and try to laugh every now and then. Just… for old time’s sake.

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(This was your cue to laugh)

So you must be really curious about how Japan is treating me.

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Good! Because the first days were a blast. I survived an earthquake (previous post) and slept in boxes (capsule hostels). I went to Harajuku, explored Asakusa, stood on the famous Shibuya crossing, went to a Robot show, ….

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Life was great! Until one night I was standing in front of a supermarket ATM and couldn’t withdraw cash. It had seemed I had only 6 euros left in my account.

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What in the ass?! How did this happen?? Is my wallet leaking? Did I access some dodgy wifi and got phished? I’ve been leaving my credit card details like bread crumbs, somebody must have framed me!

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You: “Relax Roger Rabbit, you probably just spent it all. I’ve seen your Instagram account, you flew from Shanghai to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong to Tokyo in less than two weeks.”

Me: “Mmmyes… I did the (after) math. And you’re right. I did spent more money than I thought I did. Even though I didn’t splurge (I stayed at cheap hostels and survived on two meals a day) I still spent a lot of money on stupid things. Like transportation, an occasional movie ticket and the extra charge that was taken from me every time I retrieved cash from an ATM.”

Fuck my life. I am in Japan, had all these wild plans of going to Osaka to visit Universal Studios and going to Kyoto to see the bamboo forest, visit hot springs and dress up like a geisha,and all I wanna do now is go home this instant!

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(Relax, it’s a snapchat filter)

Without money I don’t feel like being here any longer. I’ve had it. I want my old life back! And I want my salary back!

How in the shit biscuit am I going to survive the next 15 days with only 156 euros? (150 in my wallet and 6 in my account)

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I had three choices: 

A: Take the credit card out and let the future take care of it;

B: Prostitution;

C: Lock myself up in a hostel, survive on cucumbers and bananas.
(Subconsciously I pick phallus food… what is wrong with me?)

You: “You not getting an orgasm. That’s what’s wrong with you. Just have sex already and get it over with. It will help you to think more straight. I choose option B.”

Me: “No! Perv. That would be option Z. I checked what’s out there. And it’s an ugly Tinder-truth!”

I pick C.

‘C’ for ‘Cause it’s the reasonable thing to do’.

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I’d rather not have debts when I return to Belgium, thank you.

You: “But maybe you’re in Japan only once, don’t you have an emergency fund or something?”

Me: “My answer stands. I’m keeping my foot down.”

Walking in line, conforming to rules, being well mannered, well behaved and humble. That’s what the Japanese people have thought me and that’s what I will do. Obey my wallet. Bare the consequences of my own actions.

You: “Woah Evvy, are Japanese people really such party poopers?”

Well from 9am to 5pm they are. Standing in line for the metro dressed in their perfectly ironed suit and tie, picking the recommended lunch, staying on the safe side of life, bowing all day and licking their boss’s ass. After that they hit the pubs, karaoke bars or video game centers and get completely loud and wasted. The smell on the subway alone will get you drunk. I’ve seen salary men sweating out their hangover at 7 am under a bridge. That’s why every convenient store sells clean shirts, underwear, socks and toiletries. It’s part of the culture. At one point they just go : “I’m done bowing for you. Suck my d*** , I’m getting drunk.” The morning after they put on a clean shirt and humble life starts all over again. Ohayooo, Sumimaseeeen, Domo arigatou gozaimasuuuu, …

My friend Cedric was here to witness my little ATM meltdown and was not very pleased. He had just spent 19 hours on a plane to see me for the first time in 5 months and here I was feeling depressed and not wanting to leave the room because of not having money. That night, he put me to bed hoping everything would be better in the morning

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… and I am very grateful he put a roof over my head the entire time he was here. In return I went to get him fresh bakery treats every morning and tried to pay for his food as much as possible. I also put up with his snoring without complaining tooooo much. But still I could never compensate the Cinderella hotel he payed for while he was here. Domo arigatou gozaimasuuuu *bow bow bow*.

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When he left I had 9 more days to survive off my budget. Back to cucumbers and bananas. When all of a sudden I ran into a former teacher of mine. Apparently she had moved with her family to Tokyo last year. She invited me to come stay with her in order to keep my budget down. This is only the second time she saved my life. First was 9 years ago when she helped me get a copywriting internship at TBWA, one of the best advertising agencies in the world. I always knew I wanted to write but she gave me the opportunity to really explore that talent. Without that experience I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue a professional career as a writer. I wouldn’t have landed a job at the biggest newspaper in Belgium, I wouldn’t have gotten a burnout at 26, I wouldn’t have started traveling. Without her ‘Backpackers Guide for the Blonde and the Clueless’ WOULDN’T EVEN EXIST! We should all bow for this lady right now.

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I gladly accepted her invitation and moved in with her on Friday. Five days before returning to Belgium. She lives 40 minutes outside Tokyo city center in Setagaya. A new -and rather upscale- neighborhood.

Her son let me sleep in his room. And I was free to scavenge the kitchen cupboards as much as I want. I landed my own little piece of heaven.

As soon as I moved in I started thinking: maybe I should try to make one more trip happen. One last unforgettable night. To have closure. A last resort. I put all my money together and started doing some brain breaking mathematics. I already knew Osaka and/or Kyoto were out of the question. But soon I discovered there might be enough there to allow me a trip to the Japanese seaside! It would be great if I could see the beach before I leave. I exchanged the euros and dollars I still had in my pocket. Also the 50 euro emergency note I got from Mattias and Maja the day before I left Belgium. “To pay for a nice accommodation when you need it.” Clairvoyant friends, I have.

I started looking into it and bumped on an article in a Japanese magazine about this wonderful beach in Izu. It is a little further than the touristy beaches around Tokyo but worth the ride. It would take me about 3 hours to get there by train and about the same amount of transfers.

I immediately booked myself a ryokan just a hop-skip from the beach where I would enjoy looking out at the white sand, waves and surfers from a Japanese-style room with tatami mats and futon beds. On Sunday I waved my ‘foster family’ goodbye and took off with a little backpack carrying only my toothbrush, a pair of fresh underpants, my bikini and my laptop. It felt like the first day of school. Although I’ve been on more exciting trips these last months, this one actually gave me butterflies in my stomach. Since I had given up on the outlook of leaving Tokyo, but somehow making one last trip happen. I was over the moon. Especially since the weather gods had granted me 29 degrees and a full day of sun.

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on my way from Yokohama station

The entire way there I sat in my seat with a smile on my face. I saw the landscape changing stop after stop. More green, more trees, look there! It’s the ocean!

When I finally arrived in Izukya-Shimoda station I was only one bus ride away from my destination. Of course the bus driver accidentally dropped me off 1 K too far. But if it wasn’t for that I would have never discovered ‘On the Beach’. A cute little beach/surf bar with the most amazing BBQ lunch meals. The presentation is a modern take on the traditional Japanese ‘bento’ lunch box. For only 700 Y (5 euros) that was damn good lunch!

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Apparently Izu is a surfer’s paradise and there were a lot of wave seekers out there that day. The sides of the road were bedazzled with little surf shops selling cute clothes, bikinis and accessories. I felt like I was back in Oz. It felt like the perfect place to end my trip.

When I arrived at the hotel, I entered a room with an amazing beach side view, with a kimono hanging in the closet to dress me up for dinner. I also discovered there were hot springs available. For free! I think it’s amazing how things have a way of eventually falling into place. Even though I didn’t get to go to Osaka and Kyoto, I still got a chance to do everything my heart desired. Sleeping in a traditional ryokan, on a tatami mat, bathing in a hot spring, dressing up like a geisha, …

The puzzle fitted perfectly. The only thing missing was the Universal Studios. But -somehow- I did manage to make up for that the day after. When I decided to make a brief stop in Yokohama before returning to Setagaya and went on an unexpected roller coaster ride by the harbor. The perfect way to end this roller coaster of a journey.

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At one point the ride just disappears under ground!

It wasn’t the Harry Potter ride, but I screamed and giggled like a little girl.

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Post roller coaster selfie. It was WILD!

While I was taking in the sea view at Tatadohama beach I started doing some ‘after math’ again.

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Calculating not losses, but profits this time. Asking myself: “What have I gained from this trip?”

  1. I defo became wiser

My roots literally pushed the blondness away. I definitely have become less clueless. But -no worries- I am still naive enough to live this life through dangerously pink glasses.

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2. This trip made me realize: I am one lucky San of a bitch

I have amazing friends and family. The best parents in the world. They stood by me this entire time. Letting me go, giving me freedom. Trusting. There were times I didn’t reach out to them for weeks. And still they didn’t complain. That meant a lot.

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I have the best colleagues and bosses in the world. They supported my decision. Respected it. And even published some bits of my adventure.

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3. I frigging love myself 

I didn’t encounter the love of my life. But then again, that wasn’t really the goal of my trip. It didn’t happen because I didn’t open up to the opportunity. I was too busy spending time with myself. Catching up on lost times. However, I had some uplifting moments. I will never forget Steph and our little tryste at Port D. I will never forget Kunyu mountains and my little romance with a fellow Kung Fu student. Even the innocent little night swim at Noosa beach with my first ever Tinder date will be something I will gladly look back at in 20 years from now. Although I do regret not having tasted the butcher’s fine meats… Ah well. Maybe he needs a little more ripening anyway. After all, he’s only 24. And I’m not Madonna… Or am I?

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4. I’ve met some pretty amazing people

In the category non sexual encounters I gladly remember Helmut. The Tasmanian Devil. How he tried to brush me off but ended up regretting not having me around longer. Goedele, who took me into her home and shared a quite turbulent first week with me back in Adelaide. I loved my farm family and Pierre who took me on an unforgettable roadtrip to Melbourne as a true gentleman. I remember Maryam. A strong woman who taught me the simple truth that ‘different people have different ideas’, to never lose my self esteem, and to not be afraid of using a little herbs in the kitchen. There’s no such thing as overseasoning. My lovely motel managers back in Marcoola, who hooked me up with the most fun car ever with which I embarked on the most fantastic roadtrip ever. James at the Floriana in Cairns. Who taught me Fawlty towers really does exist. My shifu in China. The man I felt a deeply (however platonic) love and respect for. My roomie Celine, my sister from another mister, who I will visit very very soon. My teamie Audrey and all the other amazing people I met in the school. Rebekka, Linus, Sterling, Obim, Bo, Marvin, Daniel, Lore, Lucy, Himmat, Luke, … too many to sum up!

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5. There is nothing I cannot do. Well, sort of

I learned to take care of myself. To be independent and to believe in my capabilities. I learned to drive on the left, to get from A to B in foreign countries using foreign currency and foreign language. I learned Kung Fu. Or at least the basics of it. I learned I have a strong will and a strong body to match and I am capable of doing russian push ups if I really put my mind to it. I learned my body is the most powerful instrument I will ever own. And therefor I learned to treat it that way =>

6. I quit smoking

My last cigarette I put out in Ashbourne (what’s in a name) Australia over 4 months ago. I haven’t had a setback once. I don’t understand how I could ever be addicted to it.

7. I learned to trust

I’ve learned no matter what happens, things happen for a reason and things have a way of turning out well in the end. Never a failure always a lesson. Never an ending without a new beginning.

This is why this maybe isn’t the final blog post after all. Time will tell.

But for now:

Lientje Out.

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Domo arigato for your support these past months.

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Daisuki! ❤

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And thank you snapchat for turning me into a real (and rather scary) geisha after all. Free of charge!

XO

The power of Chi

As you could read in my previous post, life in this academy can be quite confronting. You get confronted with your limits, your incapabilities, your doubts and your fears. But the thing I’ve been experiencing most problems with. Is how confronting my age has suddenly become.

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A lot of these kids here are around 21, there are even some 17-18-19 year olds of which I thought they were actually my age.

When I was that age, enrolling in a martial arts school in a far away country to train 40 hours a week was the furthest thing on my mind. I was too busy being a book worm, studying and providing for my future. I was very career minded. Very serious, actually. And very insecure. I was always worried about what other people would think of me. I was always trying to fit in and if somebody would say a mean thing about me, that would bother me for days.

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With age, I learned not to care about that anymore. That’s one of the few positive sides of aging.

However. Some comments do still affect me. They don’t hurt me. They just fucking piss me off. For instance, when my article on HLN.be got published about traveling without a plan and living life to the fullest, I couldn’t help but check how people were reacting to it. Most of the comments were good. But, of course, there were also some bad comments. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. And you don’t have to agree with me and my way of living. Different people, different ideas. It’s just the way some people pin you down instantly as a selfish brat that probably hasn’t got any sick relatives to take care of, and shouldn’t expect any help from others when she is in trouble, is just so narrow minded that it drives me claustrophobically insane. If someone would say this to my face I would fucking rip theirs off.

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First of all: No, I don’t have a sick relative to take care of. Lucky me! And lucky relatives of mine! That we’re all healthy and perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves.

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Seconds: I don’t believe people should need other people or that people should put their lives on hold for others. Of course if my mother or father was sick, I would take care of them. But I wouldn’t stop living. The day before I left, someone close to me got really upset about me leaving because she needed me to be there because she was having a baby soon… I couldn’t believe anyone could demand me to stay for the sake of her choosing to reproduce. That just didn’t fit in my head. I’m sorry but I’m not gonna neglect myself because of others. This is my life and I choose how I live it.

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But then again, I’m not super human either. So I do ask myself that question occasionally:

AM I BEING SELFISH?

The way it began for me: I really needed to leave my everyday routine and live completely in the moment. I believe people who choose to do so, don’t have to feel bad about that. For example Maryam, who I met in Tasmania, her mother back in Iran was really sick but that didn’t prevent her from traveling around Australia. And her mother didn’t blame her. Is she selfish? No way. It’s not like she was getting wasted every night, partying away. She was there dealing with her own personal struggles and challenges while dealing with her mother’s sickness. People need to understand that going away to travel for longer periods of time isn’t about lying on a deck of a cruise ship, sipping frozen strawberry margaritas and doing nothing. No, that’s holidaying. Traveling is embarking on a journey to gain important life lessons from it. And that usually doesn’t always go as expected, or doesn’t necessarily have to be a better life than the one you had at home. It’s all about experiencing, learning, to seek confrontation with yourself and others. Surviving basically.

To do that on your own requires braveness, independence and creativity. People blame us travelers for taking the easy way out, running away from responsibilities, but honestly if I really wanted to have an easy life I would have just stayed at home, curled up in my comfort zone. My life isn’t easier. It has simplified, yes. Cause I took all the bad Chi out, and only keep the good Chi.

You: “Sorry Evvy, but what is Chi exact-ly?”

Me: Ahaa! Very good question, You-san!

Chi (or Qi) is the fundamental life force that flows through all and everything. It basically differentiates a living human being from a corpse.

(again)

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A strong life force makes a human being totally alive, alert and present while a weak force results in sluggishness and fatigue. You can increase and develop your Chi to overcome illness, become more vibrant and enhance mental capacity.

That’s what Taiji and Qigong are all about. If I would only find a way to shut up my mind while I stand there frozen for 40 minutes with my eyes closed and knees bent, while trying to find a magnetic sensation between my fingertips.

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Basically you should think about your body, your blood flow, … Or birds. Birds are always good. It should bring you into an elevated state of being. If you achieve in doing that, Godzilla could drop in the school yard and you wouldn’t even move a muscle.

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“Shit, they’re doing Qigong. There goes my terrifying entrance.”

Or how coach Ariel likes to put it: “No matter what happens, no matter how much it hurts, do not open your eyes, do not drop your arms, do not straighten your legs, just focus on your laogong* points.”

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That basically means if someone would stand next to you and burn your face with a Bunsen burner, or fire gun shots at you, you are not supposed to move. Yeah, it’s advanced. ***

(*** BTW coach Ariel did an awesome thing this week. He broke a brick with his bare hand while holding an egg inside his palm. Guess what?? The egg didn’t break! The egg was real alright, he showed us after. Right before his palm magically gave birth to an unidentified living sentinel thing with sharp teeth!)

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… Okay that last part I made up…

I think this whole Chinese philosophy thing is super interesting, though. But sometimes it’s a lot to process. Especially when the lessons are in Chinese, and the school translator isn’t doing a very good job getting the point across. I was following a Taoism class the other day and I just couldn’t understand everything the master was explaining us. I was #dafuq’ing all over the place.

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During that class we were supposed to learn about Feng Shui. But at the end the only thing I actually remembered was that it means Wind – Water. I decided to run over to Amanda, the weirdest of translators, always wearing the most colorful and funny outfits, and ask her the obvious question:

Me: “Amanda, what in da funk is the difference between Chi and Feng Shui?”

She stared at me with her beady eyes, not really understanding how I had just came out of a one hour Taoism class about Feng Shui still asking that question.

Amanda: “Well, Feng Shui is all about harmony around you. Your home, the trees, the buildings around you, … They have to be aligned so that the wind/water can flow without blockages. While Chi is the energy inside your body. If someone has a weak voice, for example, then that person has weak Chi. If a person has a strong voice than that person has a strong Chi. Got it?

(Mind = blown)

Wow, Amanda had just provided me with an interesting insight there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this academy so far -besides spider man crawls, walking push ups and Russian push ups- it’s definitely how to speak loudly and raise my voice.

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My whole life I’ve been too much of an introvert to do that properly. And sometimes I just swallowed words or I would begin a sentence loudly and end it softly. Mumbling. When we train I yell it out like crazy. My punch doesn’t come out without a loud and clear : TSE HA! They taught me that the first day. To scream and shout, to do your movements with power. The Shifu is always screaming: ‘Louder! More Power!’ And when we do laps around the school yard we always count as loud as we can. Like soldiers.

Leader: ‘Yi Er, Yi Er, Yi Er, Yi  … (group echo: Yi Er, Yi Er, Yi Er, Yi)
Leader: Yi Er, San Si (group echo: Yi Er, San Si)
Leader: Yi, Er, Saaaaan Si! (group echo: Yi, Er, Saaaaan Si!

I guess that means I have a strong Chi! Thanks Amanda! You made it a lot more clear! Now go back to being weird!

With her clearing up that question, I could finally answer that other question for myself.

AM I BEING SELFISH?

No! Of course not!! If this traveling and experiencing new things is doing all this good to me, then why should I be ashamed of living for me? It took me a while to come up with an antonym for selfish, until I finally got it: if I’m doing this for anything, it’s out of SELF LOVE. And subsequently the love I have for others. The most important people in my life. Cause when I am a stronger Evelien, they’ll gain from it too. If I’m not happy with the way things are going in my life, how can you expect I will be of any beneficence in your life? My Feng Shui would fuck up your Feng Shui, and then we would both end up with bad Chi, shitting that bad Chi on other people, creating a bad Chi-chaos that would eventually bring this whole world to an end.

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Now THAT! would be selfish.

There are no blockages in my system, I can love others much more than I ever could before. I can literally empower others with my Chi. And I will, once I return. You better be ready!

So bottom line:

Screw you guys, Imma do whatever the fuck I want. It’s good for you. It’s good for me. It is the power of Chi. 

Chi you later!

XO

Nourishing my Chi. Out of self love. Of course. Every Saturday I go to the bakery in Mu Ping and treat myself to a nice pineapple pie. It iz zie best! ❤

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