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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vegalien! Vegalien! Vegalien!

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

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

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

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

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(This GIF is hilarious)

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

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

I refuse to slowly kill myself from the inside.

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

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

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

I think it’s time for a debate.

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

Vegetarians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#CLUELESS: “Is this actually proven though?”

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

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

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

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

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

#CLUELESS: “HORSE – SHIT!

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dairy sponsor

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

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#MODERATOR: “Order! Order!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL CONCLUSION 

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

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

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

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Remember what I said about those vitamin B12’s.

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

555 – DON’T DO IT !

XO

 

Pretty darn lovable

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

Me: “Yup. Rrrright here.”

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You: “What’s up?”

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

You: “Transmitted Mind Illness???”

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

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

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

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ROMANCE. 

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, so romance.

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

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

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

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Let me just start from the beginning…

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

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

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

You: “Whuuuuut?”

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

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

You: “Friendly Whale Brothers?”

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

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

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

And that was that.

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

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

SPELL SOME SHIT OUT FOR THE NEXT ONE IN LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Any questions or objections? You know where I live.

XO

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

*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

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 2: most exclusive nightclub

(***Caution: this post contains HUGE spoiler alerts. Do not continue if you want to discover Berlin’s most notorious nightclub for yourself)

Just like with the previous post I will share with you the THREE highlights of my THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin!

The traveling threesome being:

Picture 2017-05-23 om 14.09.59

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

Second highlight: BERGHAIN

You may have heard about this club before. Being around for 20 years it has gained worldwide acclaim. Especially after being honored top club in the world in 2009 by DJ Mag.

However, in the early years the club was far from a mainstream hangout. It attracted a typically eccentric Berlin crowd. Diehard techno fans, leather fetishists, transexuals, young professionals, … With music, sex and drugs being the key elements connecting them.

20 years later, with the rise of techno music worldwide and the low-fare tourism, the club is hotter than ever.

The craze has everything to do with the exclusive status of the club which has made it into an attraction almost. Standing in line at Berghain is considered to be a religious experience. Many people try to get in. Few succeed. On Twitter, fora, YouTube and blogs people are summing up tips and tricks in order to enlarge your chances to get in. You can even simulate queuing online. With a virtual queue and virtual bouncers and everything! It is craay-zaay. => https://berghaintrainer.com/

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Of course I was triggered by Berlin’s most notorious and exclusive nightclub, and I wanted to see if I could find a way to get in and check it out for myself.

Not merely for the sake of getting in. I genuinely wanted to be part of the experience.

At first I was pretty confident. But a couple of hours before taking the taxi to Am Wriezener Bahnhof I wasn’t so sure. Chances were likely we would get refused. Just like 70% of those who try. And all depends on how you look and carry yourself.

Berghain (which takes its name from the adjacent neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain) is not your average nightclub. If you show up all glitzed and glammed up, you’ll probably not get accepted. This is not a place to show off your money nor your good looks. If you want to do that you’re better off in Saint-Tropez or Milano. The dress code at the door is: low key and as neutral as possible. Preferably black and no visible brand names. Once you’re inside you can change clothes, take off your shirt or just wear a thong.

Rumor has it Britney Spears was once refused at the door. It is more likely you see a bunch of people fucking at the bar than you’ll ever see a celebrity walking around there. Heck, according to some stories there was a time people even brought in frozen shit in a Tupperware container in order to use it as a dildo.

(…)

I wore a basic, see through turtle neck, no heels and my crucifix purse I love to death but everyone around me seems to hate. I didn’t put in too much thought. I don’t feel like conforming too much. After all I am a unique human being with a unique identity and fashion. I just dressed like me and hoped for the best.

When we arrived with the taxi at around 12.30 am we saw a huge line of people waiting to get in.

Like good sheep we added ourselves all the way at the end of the line and started queuing. Occasionally we saw people returning with disappointment written all over their faces. They hadn’t made the cut. They were refused by Berlin. *Auwch*

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The suspense rose and in front of us people were starting to get nervous. Trying to act as discrete as possible but the sweat on their foreheads and the fear in their eyes said otherwise.

In front of us a big group of youngsters decided to split up in order to enlarge their chances. This is also one of the tips you’ll find online. Big groups decrease your chances of getting in. Guys being accompanied by a girl is always a good thing but a girl is better off with the company of one or two guys rather than standing in line alone => Although the club is mixed, it supports a very big gay scene. Two girls are also good. As long as they don’t giggle and chuckle and act all selfie crazy. It is best not to wield your phone around too much or you will come off as an attention seeker. The biggest strength of this club is its mythical character. Apart from the building’s facade and an empty interior, you will hardly find pictures online of people partying. It’s all about the personal experience. And it should remain that way too.

The queue got shorter and shorter and more and more people were getting refused. After all it was a Saturday, the night mostly tourists (guilty!) come out to play. The locals usually stay away until Sunday afternoon. And that makes it harder for people to get in. The door men aren’t too keen on foreign languages.

While everyone around us was suddenly quiet as mice, patiently waiting to face the club’s notorious bouncers, we were still talking and occasionally laughing. Not too loud, but we were still in Berlin to have a good time. Not to act all depressed. Some people were looking at us as if they didn’t wanted to be associated with us. But they were the biggest pretenders, really. I could see it from their brand new Doc Martens to their Forever 21 punk accessories. The two girls who were standing 3 meters in front of us were just acting normal too, and they got in without a problem. The two girls standing right in front of us acting all cool and tough, got refused. And then it was our turn.

I heard it was best not to look the door men in the eye.

After all: would you want to make eye contact with the terrifying gatekeeper (and photographer) Sven Marquardt?

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But I figured the best way to get accepted was to subtly show your self confidence and just be your open minded self.

I looked at the door men with a kind of mischievous grin on my face while they were checking us out.

“Wie viele?”, asked Sven the Terrifying.

If you don’t get a ‘no’ straight away. They will ask you with how many people you are. If you don’t understand that question, you’ll still get refused.

“Drei”, we answered.

Suddenly the bouncers made way as a sign we could get in. As we were walking through the infamous door, acting like nothing HUGE had just happened, it seemed like we were stepping through a portal to another world. The excitement was buzzing through our bodies, still containing the euphoria. After we got our bags checked, paid our 16 euros entrance fee and got our precious stamp, we could let all our enthusiasm out. We were in the safe zone, after all. Ready for an UNFORGETTABLE PARTY!

As we climbed the stairs into the noisy darkness I could feel so much raw energy. And smell it too. Mostly a combination of sweat, weed and urine.

The place is enormous. And incredibly Feng Shui. Apparently they eliminated any dead ends, even in the bathrooms, so people can cruise each other without running into a wall. (Berliners => not to keen on walls these days)

The main Berghain dance floor, which focuses on hardcore techno, has heigh ceilings supported by massive concrete pillars. Originally constructed in 1953 as part of East Germany’s postwar reconstruction process, most of the building has retained its original industrial architecture. It is so large and maze-like, you can discover new stairways and rooms even after spending hours and hours.

Generally there are three levels where you can get your freak on. The Panorama Bar is the upstairs dance floor, which focuses on groovier, more melodic house music rather than the main floor’s severe industrial beats. On the building’s ground floor you can find Lab.Oratory, Berlin most extreme sex club which was closed unfortunately when we got there. Things can get very raunchy there. Reportedly not for the faint hearted.

Explanation for the extreme nature of the Berlin club scene lies greatly in the city’s history. Before the unification the city was poor and isolated. Half of Berlin was walled in. The militant character expressed itself in a very aggressive form of techno. Becoming the soundtrack of illegal hedonistic parties in abandoned factories and warehouses and later in the established nightclubs. Reportedly, in the past two decades, the city’s tradition of sexual permissiveness, lax drug policing and left-wing, anarchist politics blended together to create the most sexually adventurous, unconventional party scene in Europe. At the time there was a high unemployment and since people had no reason to wake up early on Monday, they held marathon-length party sessions as a fuck-off to the rigid capitalist version of time.

Everywhere we looked we saw shirtless men and women, some people wearing latex and bondage clothing, some wearing neutral gear not giving away any experimental preference. But mostly everywhere we could see feet marching and fists pumping in the air.

First we went to check out the Panorama bar. The more ‘straight’ part of the building. You can dance to the luscious beats or just hang out by the bar. You can even stay there till morning and have breakfast. If you have enough MDMA you can even stay there for 72 hours and have multiple breakfasts! The crowd keeps raving here from Friday night until Monday morning.

Good thing there aren’t any mirrors, so you don’t have to care about how you look. That’s something to worry about when you get back into the cab to civilization.

You probably won’t leave with a financial hangover either. Prices inside the club are extremely democratic and you can fill up your water bottle in the toilet as many times as you want.

Once on the inside, things started to make a lot more sense to me. Suddenly I understood why these bouncers had to be so picky. Not only to preserve the legacy and protect the longevity of this club. The exclusive character also creates an incredible feeling of togetherness for the lucky few who do make it inside. As if we are all part of something different, taking in the experience much deeper somehow. But also: just letting everyone be.

There is an overall vibe of extreme acceptance. You can choose to be naked, dance with chains around your torso, have sex in the toilet or just lie there asking every passer-by to pee on you. Everything’s allowed, nothing’s a must. You can also choose to keep your clothes on and have a quiet cappuccino by the bar.

If you choose to let your true self out and for instance experiment with your sexuality, you won’t have to fear ending up online. All the camera lenses on the phones are being covered by a sticker. Inside the club supervisors are constantly walking around to check if nobody is secretly filming or taking pictures.

As for me, I didn’t engage in orgies nor did I experiment with drugs or frozen shit dildos for that matter. But I did express myself according to my own standards. And I was very happy they made cappuccinos just the way I do: a little rough around the edges.

Overall I am very happy to have been to Berghain, thank you Berlin and Lord of the Night Sven Marquardt for approving us, but I hope they find a way to control the mass tourism. I feel bad for all the locals who lose their territory and express ground to low-fare tourism. Even though I have put it on this blog as one of the highlights, this doesn’t mean I’m encouraging people to go there. I encourage them to think it through. If you go to Berghain make sure you go for the right reasons. If you want to go there to get crazy ass drunk, tear down the place, harass people, laugh with them, judge them or take pictures for your Instagram feed then don’t go at all.

Stay tuned for the next and final highlight : the Bearpit Karaoke @ Mauerpark! 

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 1 : BECYCLE + best breakfast bars

The next THREE posts I will share with you the THREE highlights of my recent THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin.

The traveling threesome being:

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

First highlight: BECYCLE and Berlin breakfasts

Being a cycling enthusiast I was a little concerned about spending a weekend away from my bike. Usually I go riding every Sunday and I was worried my three day holiday would be a setback in my training schedule.

As we arrived in the middle of the night on Friday May 19th, we already did some research on the plane about where to have breakfast on our first morning. In the recent issue of Monocle we read about this place called ‘MyGoodnessBerlin‘.

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IMG_2607A nutritious and healthy cafe where they serve alternative style breakfasts made from organic whole foods. They serve super natural smoothies, banana breads, muscle protein oat bowls, … To eat in or take with you to work! None of us three is actually a vegan but we do love to try out new stuff and preferably when it matches our fitness regime. And it’s quite refreshing to discover the existence of for instance a turmeric or beetroot latte. Or vegan Snickers balls!

The cafe is located in BECYCLE, a new fitness boutique studio, focusing on high intensity spinning workouts. The holy Mecca for cycling lovers.

Overall Berlin is a very bicycle friendly city. Everywhere you see people riding their bikes. And the roads are much more adapted to cyclists than here in Belgium. I kinda loathe the aggressive and dangerous behavior towards cyclists here.

Anyway, they have premium facilities and no contracts. Basically you can turn up, subscribe for a cycling class and for less than 25 euros you get to use GIRO cycling shoes, a big custom made bottle you can fill up with chilled water, a towel, a locker and a futuristic turbo bike for a 60 minute suffer fest in a room with the best Berlin beats (go to their SoundCloud here) 1 instructor and about 15 other sweaty cycling enthusiasts. The idea is simple: you just have to execute everything the instructor tells you no matter how much it hurts or how fast it goes. The experience is unforgettable. And very rewarding afterwards. You feel happy and energized throughout the rest of the day and you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging on a big breakfast after.

I went to check out BECYCLE Sunday morning at 10.30 am after only 4 hours of sleep. I was out discovering Berlin’s nightlife until the early hours. (More about this in the next highlight!) But after my workout I felt FIT & FRESH.

Since we already checked out the breakfast here the day before, we went to check out another place to refuel: ‘Commonground‘.

Run by the guys from breakfast and coffee hotspot ‘Silo Coffee’, ‘Commonground’ is a place which strongly focuses on quality and where the chef, bartender or barista truly believes in the product they are making and serving. Being attached to the Circus Hotel, this place is located in a majestic building, with amazing inner court. You can have breakfast until 4pm. And, fun fact: In weekends and on Friday evenings ‘Commonground’ has a strict ‘no laptop’ policy. They kindly ask you to find another area to complete any work that you may need to do during weekends. Isn’t that great???

And again: the prices were sooooo cheap. We had breakfast with three people for less than 65 euros. Drinks included. And tap water is free of charge. In Belgium you could easily spend up to 80 euros or more for what we ordered.

1 x Berry Brioche French Toast : 8,20 euros
3 x Sourdough Toast with Avocado mash and Poached Eggs : 12 euros (x3)
1 x Home Made Granola with Chia Seed Pudding : 5,50 euros
2 x Latte : 3 euros (x2)
2 x Home Made Iced Tea : 4,5 (x2)

There are countless of eateries, bars, cafes, … in Berlin. This is just a tip of the ‘eisberg’! When you are in Mitte, Berlin and you don’t know where to find food or coffee. Just go to Rosenthaler StraBe and Kastanienallee and surrounding streets and you won’t get hungry ever again!

Points where Berlin beats Belgium’s ass: 

  • Much healthier food, accessible for anybody (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, lactose free, …)
  • So cheap to eat out! And soooo good! 9,8 euros for an exquisite roasted lamb leg in rosemary and garlic butter?! This is gourmet HEAVEN!
  • Much more bicycle friendly. Seriously Belgium, being a cyclist country, what’s up with that???? (This one really upsets me)
  • So much more healthy focused lifestyle with sports and nutritious foods.

STAY TUNED FOR NEXT HIGHLIGHT : The most exclusive nightclub in Berlin! 

XO

G I R L B O S S

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

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

XXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A ‘hum’.

Followed by:

Dentist: “This is a little disturbing.”

Me: “wjhgjkzrh?”

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

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

Me: “Fuck me in the dick!”

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

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

Phone rings.

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Dentist: “Ahm…It’s for you”

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Me: “Whodis?” $

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

Me: “Whut?”

Voice: “This is your wake up call.”

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

 

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

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

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

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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.”

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“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.

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“Come on motherf*cker pick up.”

 

Me leaving a message on his voicemail:

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

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

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

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

(Knock knock)

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

(Knock knock knock)

Oh for fuck’s sake.

(Aggressively opens door) : “WHAT?!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: “Alrightie bye-bye now.”

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

8 hours later:

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

Hot guy: “Ahm, …”

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

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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:

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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.)

 

B*tch don’t kill my vibe

I’m a sinner who’s probably gonna sin again. 

Lord forgive me. The things I don’t understand. 

Sometimes I need to be alone. 

B*tch don’t kill my vibe. B*tch don’t kill my vibe. 

________________________________________________________

Last time we spoke, I told you how I decided to quit my job as a newspaper journalist. Some of you were slightly panicking after this read. Asking me about my next projects and stuff. Of course I couldn’t really answer this question.

I was restricted.

I couldn’t tell a soul, and things were still very much pending. It was a horrifying wait. But now I’m so very extremely relieved to announce I’m currently the proud contributor of my very own column in the newspaper.

I feel like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City!

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(Minus the smoking and the Big (shoe) obsession)

Actually I’m definitely more of a Rachel kind of gal.

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My first column got published Wednesday 26th of April.

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The basic concept is that me -a millennial- is corresponding with a baby boomer.

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This baby boomer (her name is Frieda Joris and she’s a very respected former journalist) actually used to be a colleague of mine while I was still working full time at the newspaper. During the five years I walked around the office, we hardly exchanged a word. We were too caught up in our own thing. Researching, making phone calls, discussing with the editor-in-chief, writing, erasing, writing again, … There was no time for chit chat.

By the end of 2016 we both closed the door. She, because she had to. After a successful career of 45 years Frieda had to retire. And, after a promising career of -poor old me- only 5 years I took a sabbatical, to eventually cut the umbilical cord one year later.

We never really realized how intertwining our roads were and would become. Until we started getting in touch once the rush and the stress of the deadline slowly but surely crept out of our lives. Ironically we discovered we had much more in common than we could ever imagine. That’s how the idea grew to have a millennial and a baby boomer discuss life as they know it now.

Still a little uncomfortable in their new skins. Trying to give direction. Find balance. Keep busy. Stay productive. All while maintaining a good sense of humor. Self-mockery is rule n°1 for basic survival mkay?

And this, lovely people, is what we bring to you every Wednesday from now on in ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’. Only the biggest and best read newspaper in the small country of Belgium.

A couple of days ago our second column was released.

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Again, Frieda is the first to address me. (Don’t worry, next week it’s my turn). Telling me a story about how her first love suddenly showed up on her door step a gazillion years after they first met and fell in love. Of course my answer is slightly passive-aggressive. I would give my left arm (it’s ok, I’m a rightie) to have similar plot twists occur in my life. I wonder if you could hire a director to integrate more romance into your every day life.

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Me: “Ok guys listen up, we need dim lights, a Channing Tatum lookalike, some decent catering and cowbell. Definitely more cowbell.”

Me: “First assistant what do you think?”

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Fo Sho.

Ok romance-wise I’m not living the fairy tale. But damn this column is making up for it. It is the one thing I dreamed about ever since I started discovering my writing skills. That and writing a book. But who reads books nowadays anyway??

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I feel super blessed I got the chance to explore this new way of communicating and reaching out to hopefully as many people as possible. I feel this column comes at the best moment in my life. Even though I have been wanting it for a long time, I wasn’t ready before. I didn’t really have a story to tell. And I was too insecure to speak my mind.

Now it feels super organic to talk about my every day thoughts, my occasional struggles, how small and meaningless they may be on a global scale.

Everybody struggles. Everybody hurts. Everybody loves. And everybody celebrates. It’s this constant up and down that keeps us on our toes. That keeps us alive. And that connects us. If only we would drop the act and be more open about our REAL emotions I guess a lot of people could benefit from it.

This is why I’m closing the gap. One millimeter at a time. Closing the gap between ‘showing the world how we want to be seen’ and ‘showing who we truly are’. There are too many digital platforms where we boast our personality and every day personal life into something it is mostly not. Trying to pretend everything is peachy 24/7.

 

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THE

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I’m not suggesting you should share every bad hair day, physical ache or act of domestic violence on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. (In this last case you should defo go to the police) But I see a lot of people stressing over their lives because they believe other people have their shit together all the time.

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No Dave, I meant your other quote

↓↓

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Therefor, every Wednesday, I will tell you how I don’t have my shit together all the time. About how I desperately miss some romantic dedication in my life. How I wonder what I’m supposed to do until my retirement. How I ask myself why people enslave themselves, often working a job they genuinely hate, just so they could spend a comfortable old age. Knowing, when you reach that age, you don’t have the same energy to enjoy life like you did when you were young.

Balance is key. And I’m looking for that key in order to open the door to my personal happiness. I’m sure it won’t fit your door. No one’s alike. And thank God we aren’t.

I am thankful for backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless to come about one year ago. It really helped me to find my voice. Thanks to you readers I discovered this type of authentic storytelling brings an added value to everyone who needs it. It helps us to accept that we are all struggling. And it’s our DAMN good right!

Tell me what you don’t like about yourself. And let’s fix it together.

Keep it real, peeps.

XO

Man it feels good to blog again.

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….

subzero

So blonde & clueless…

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

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

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

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

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

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

A+ for guts. D- for cleverness.

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

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

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

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

mattentaart

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The disappointment is real.

On my way back home I felt like shit.

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

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

Tsahaylu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Type Gerrit from Bavikhove .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On my rollers. For old time’s sake…

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

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

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

I had one more day at the bar …

waitress

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…

goingthroughthebasics

APRIL 1st, D DAY 

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

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

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

#clueless.

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

justdoit

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

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

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

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

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

orangesandbanana

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.

6h

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

medal

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!

supremebeing

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

stuff_dumb_dumber

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. 

happypeople

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.

meprotectyou

So, what do you think about my retirement now?

prettycool

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

A cosplay special

Hello there intergalactic friends of the universe!

Today we are going to get crafty as I will tell you all about my BXL COMIC CON outfit and how I hand made it from scratch. Soon the result will be visible on my Instagram (instagram.com/eveliendelgouffe) and Snapchat ‘evdelgouffe’ but here I am going to take you through every step of the making so you can create your own DIY LEELOO FROM LUC BESSON’S THE FIFTH ELEMENT KICK ASS SUSPENDER ENSEMBLE. 

For a total cost of: 39,2 euros

WITHOUT ANY SEWING INVOLVED. 

sewing

Okay first off you need to :

  1. Browse the internet. 

Picture the character and how you can attain the look. You don’t want to start with a super chick dream image

leeloo

…and end up looking like this.

leeloofail

That just gnarly.

Get a good grasp of what the outfit consists off and what you already have in your closet that looks like the outfit and what stuff you still need to buy. Make a shopping list.

2. Visit your local crafts or carnival store and see what you can find.

Since I already owned:

  • black boots
  • white crop top

I bought:

  • golden leggings
  • orange hair chalk
  • 1 meter of orange felt fabric for the suspenders
  • black tape

3. GET STARTED

Start with the most important thing first. The centerpiece of your look.

I figured if all the rest would fail, there was one thing that would be indispensable to the  whole Leeloo look & feel and that is …

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It’s an identification card/credit card/money card/etc all rolled into one. Pronounced as ‘Mooooltiee paaass’. You can find templates on the internet.

multipasstemplate

Just print one out in the appropriate size. If you have a lot of time on your hands you can even photoshop your own picture in there to make it that more real.

(Remember: nothing is real, it’s cosplay. But it feels damn good to walk this earth as a supreme being for one day.)

supremebeing

A) Multipass necessities:

  • a printer
  • a crayon
  • two pieces of cardboard
  • colored paper
  • an x-acto knife

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You can find a basic stencil on the net to make the cut out.

Re-use the stencil to add the more detailed elements.

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Borrow your father’s medication packages and use them as a button or a switch of some sort to add extra dimension.

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Tadaaa

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Congrats! You got yourself a Multipass! Looking at it from a distance (as in: from another planet) you will barely see the difference with the real one!

Total waste: 20170222_162851

Total cost: 0 euro since I found everything I needed around the house.

=> On to the next challenge: THE ORANGE SUSPENDERS

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B) Suspender necessities:

  • a tape-measure
  • orange material (I used orange felt. If you can’t find this, find another bendy fabric that you can spray paint)
  • an x-acto knife or a pair of scissors
  • a clear printed out picture of the lay out of the suspenders
  • a ruler and a ball point pen

First off: you need to measure yourself. Take measurements of your shoulders, waist and torso.

Take a sheet of paper to draw your exact outlines.

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Berliner is just my size.

Then draw the suspenders onto the paper using your measurements.

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Draw round circles where the wholes should be using a roll of sewing thread or any other round object.

Cut out the front piece. And use the same measurements to create the back.

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Try it on for size without tearing the paper.

See where it needs adjusting. As with me, the back part should be more narrow and elegant.

Use your pattern to cut it out on the fabric. I decided to do everything practically in one piece so you can just pull it over your head and attach the crotch with velcro tape. After all even supreme beings need to go to the toilet at one point.

Cut out the wholes. Velcro tape it together.

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Tadaaaa

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Congrats! You got yourself a pair of LEELOO SUSPENDERS!

Total cost: 8 euros for 1 meter of fabric, 1 euro worth of velcro tape.

=> Next step: THE LEELOO LEGGINGS!

leggings

C) Legging necessities:

  • a pair of light brown, beige or golden leggings
  • thin black tape
  • wide black tape
  • glue

Chances you will find ‘pret à porter’ leggings like these are slim but with a minimum of effort you can create a great pair of Leeloo leggings.

Put your leggings on for size and keep the thin black tape in reach.

Start from the bottom of your legs and pull the tape all the way up your hip bone. Contour your knees. Take the leggings off and use glue (preferably a hot glue gun) to keep the tape in place at all times.

Now take the wider piece of black tape to create a belt.

Done & Done

Congrats! You got yourself a pair of Leeloo leggings.

Total cost: 12,10 euros for the leggings and 10 euros for the black tape.

***

And now for the finishing touch: HAIR AND MAKE UP

HAIR: 

hair

I decided to go with my real hair because wigs tend to degrade the outfit and just look too fake. I cut my hair a couple of weeks prior to this event to generate a similar look.

Wash your hair, towel dry it roughly, comb it. Take multiple locks and run through it from top to end using the orange hair chalk which only cost me 2 euros/piece. Repeat this all over.

Then blow dry your hair to see the result.

Create dread like locks using gel and hairspray. I also used neon orange hair paste (4,10 euros) to highlight some of the locks.

MAKE UP: leeloomakeup

The make up should be relatively ‘au naturel’. Don’t over powder yourself. Keep your skin light and pale. Use eyeliner, mascara and maybe a set of fake eye lashes. Keep the lips in a natural shade of apricot or pink. Don’t forget to keep the eyebrows as light as possible. I decided to use some orange fake eyelashes to give my overall look that extra supreme-ness.

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ACCESSORIES:

You can add cuts and blood if you want to go for the more ‘battered and bruised Leeloo’.

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Or you can even go for the non-waterproof mascara autowash Leeloo.

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With a brown ball point pen or marker you can also add a tattoo on your right wrist containing the four elements: earth, air, fire, water.

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Now all there’s left to do is catch up on the Leeloo lingo and you’re good to go!

°°°A little trivia to the Divine Language:

The “Divine Language” spoken by Leeloo was invented by director Luc Besson and further refined by Milla Jovovich, who had little trouble learning and developing it, as she was already fluent in 4 languages. The language had only 400 words. He and Milla held conversations and wrote letters to each other in the language as practice. By the end of filming they were able to have full conversations in this language.

Before we move over to some useful catch phrases, it wouldn’t hurt to remember your entire name which is:

nameleeloo

Now all together:
Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat. 

Got it? Good. Then now you’re ready for the final step: The Supreme being glossary:

‘Apipoulaï!’: Hello

‘Big ba-dah big boom’: to make a splashing entrance

‘Eto akta gamat’: Never without my permission -> which could come in handy with all those gropey pervs at comic cons.

‘San agamat chay bet envolet’: The case was stolen

‘Cornelius, ikset-kiba. Me imanetaba oum dalat’: Don’t worry,  I know exactly where they (the stones) are.

‘Dot’: There

‘Danko’: Thank you.

‘Domo danko’: Thank you very much.

Domo danko for reading and sharing !

meprotectyou

(This post was powered by Carnival stores ‘Las Fiestas’ (Aalst) and ‘Liebaut Feestartikelen’ (Aalst))