Pretty darn lovable

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

Me: “Yup. Rrrright here.”

wine

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…

diealone

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.

hermione sarcasm

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.”

rosscrying

 

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 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:

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(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?

sventhegatekeeper

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! 

 

Enter… the fireworks

You: “Evvy are you there??”

Me: “Yes…”

You: “Why did you stop writing us? Did you forget about us? Are you slacking off??”

Me: “Err, no… I’ve just been a little preoccupied… Why don’t you staff me already!”

I know I usually send out at least one blog post a week, usually on a Sunday, but this Sunday -I didn’t forget- I just didn’t.

You: “Because you’re slacking off??”

Me: “No. I just decided not to. To leave you hungry for more. CAUSE BOY DO I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU!”

After the last blog post I wrote, events took quite some unexpected turns.

The first thing that took an unexpected turn was my spine. I decided to do a little light training on Sunday and ended up with my back completely screwed for the entirety of the following week. The best part: it was my last full week in the academy and I really wanted to make the most of it. Especially since I felt in such good shape the week before. I was doing super hero kicks and my hip flexers didn’t seem to bother me anymore. Apparently it had all just switched to my lower back (it’s all connected) and I’m pretty sure my little tumble on the top of Mount Amos in Tasmania, when I was trying to save Helmut from sliding down the mountain, planted the seed of all back injury evil.

Note to self: never rescue old gents from sliding into a ravine. They’ve had their life. 

So on Monday I could barely get out of my bed. I could barely walk to the office. And I could barely confront my Shifu. I knew I would -again- disappoint him.

64----Pai-Mei-power

I decided to do as much as I could that morning. But I already knew that running, explosive movements and kicks were out of the question. Which is basically the basics of our training schedule. First training of the morning I couldn’t participate at all. I had to watch the rest using their perfectly functioning bodies while I was doing some exercises on the side and practiced my form. After lunch I decided to meet up with the massage Shifu again. I must really be in pain if I voluntarily go see the master of pain to help me get rid of my discomfort. He fights pain with more pain; but usually you feel great after a couple of days. After the bruising and the swelling goes down from him massaging the shit out of you.

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Right before my back said ‘KRAK’!

I lied on his table of torture for an hour. Grinding my teeth again (I think I chipped a tooth) and thinking only happy thoughts. At the end, he rolled me on my side, cradled me with his elbows and broke my back. Well… he did not really break it, but I heard a KRAK alright. He told me some things (joints, bones, whatever) in my lower back were out of place. And he ‘assembled’ me back together. But from the moment I stood back on my feet I felt the exact same pain.

Translator translating massage Shifu: “You are not supposed to train today. And maybe tomorrow you should rest as well.”

Me: “B-b-b-ut it’s my last week….”

That afternoon I just sat there watching my team mates do Sanda (Chinese Kickboxing). The massage Shifu told me to stay absolutely still for a few hours. And keep my lower back warm with a hot water bottle. How pathetic am I?? I enroll in Kung Fu school, have only 30 days to make something of it and I have been crippled half of the time. I am not impressed with myself at all.

While my mind and body were arguing, I just glared over to the training. To my Shifu, who probably just thought I was being ‘a girl’. Not trying. Giving up.

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“Your so-called kung fu is really quite pathetic”

But unlike last time, I didn’t put depressed thoughts in my head. I was strongly convinced that the next morning I would wake up with an entirely new back. I just had to. And I decided to give myself an extra push by doing a 50 minute Qigong session. To restore myself from all injuries. That night I slept like a baby. But I woke up as an old lady.

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Still cripple, still hurting, still proper fucked. I even skipped Taiji that morning for the first time in my life. I couldn’t even bend over to tie my shoe laces, how could I possible do the crane movement, dipping down, digging up invisible earth, standing up with one leg stretched forward, dipping back down again? Instead I sat on my bed, ate my hard boiled eggs (protein) and thought of a plan to get through the week. The week that was supposed to be my moment of truth. The week where I would put everything I learned into practice…

That Tuesday training schedule was a little different than usual. And -lucky me- it worked in my benefit. Instead of doing Qigong and conditioning in school, we went to the mountain. It’s a steep hike, but somehow the steepness didn’t hurt my back so much, and I could just go at my own pace. I was pleased to feel my heart beating again. I was already looking forward to doing some Qigong overviewing the mountain. That’s like double healing power!!

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C’mon Chi, work your magic! Momma needs a new back!

After Qigong I felt completely re-energized. I even participated in the power training that afternoon. I just decided to lift some weights while the young kids were running their lungs out and from the moment they would continue with ground exercises like sit ups, push ups, planks, … I joined. Power trainings are brutal. Afterwards you feel so tired, you get into an elevated state of being. And you usually feel exhausted in a really good way. Afterwards I found my way to another Qigong class. I was eager to see if all this Qigong would pay of on Wednesday. It seemed to! I still woke up with my old back, but somehow I had found a way to work with it. I just decided to ignore the shit out of it and continue training like usual. That morning I went to Taiji and I even completed an entire lesson of acrobatics. Usually the worst companion for your back. But I thought to myself: Fuck it, no pain no gain. And I’m tired of being the injured person. I’m not gonna let a crucial body part intervene with my training. I signed up for this, I’m gonna give it my all. Wednesday actually went down pretty good. After every training I was basically limping to my room, but at least I had trained. So even though I was in a lot of pain, I was also very cheery since I felt good about training.

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In the afternoon we had Sanda again and I focused on my punches -the kicks were still tricky- because I’m hoping to put my training to use soon in an actual fight.

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But first things first.

I still had to overcome Thursday training and NOT make my back any worse. Then I could possibly think about sparring on Friday.

However…

On Thursday everything went downhill. My back was killing me and I didn’t know what to do. At the same time I found out my travel insurance had expired the day before. Grrrreat. Here I am with a fucked back, already one foot in the ring, not being insured for anything that may happen to me. To top that I was encountering some romantic trouble with a guy in school -school just isn’t interesting without some physical chemistry- and after all we were living in a monastery where everything fun is forbidden.

Pulp-Fiction

But I guess you’re never insured for that kind of collateral damage. I don’t know how I keep getting myself in this situation but I always fall for the guy that ends up screwing me over. Not in a good way… Acknowledging this is not the guy’s fault, but completely mine is something I have learned overtime, but it doesn’t prevent me from feeling annoyed and sad for a couple of hours.

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I decided to flush Thursday down the drain as soon as possible and continue with my life on Friday. Whatever happens, will happen. I’m done fretting over it. It had seemed that the universe had given me an extra day to recover. Because of May Day coming up, the school moved the sparring to Saturday. So I had one extra day to mentally prepare. That day I woke up a new woman. D-day had arrived.

th (1)

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My back was still hurting, but I would find a way to fix that with an effective combination: adrenalin and tiger balm! I had three days of weekend after that anyway.

I was mentally prepared to face the ring; But I was a little worried I wouldn’t be physically prepared enough. I couldn’t go all the way during Sanda classes this week and the back injury is making me a lot slower than I would like to be. That morning in line up, the Shifu asked who of our group wanted to spar that day. When I lift up my hand, he started laughing and pointing at me.

paimai

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Of course he saw me limping around school the entire week. I was shark bait. But I strongly believe in happy endings and transcending your own limits once you’re faced with them. This is everything I believe in. Not sparring (out of fear, pain or discomfort) would just be the biggest disappointment I could give myself.

I decided to stick with my guns and spar. And I decided to fight Teagan from the other Shaolin group.

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She’s a girl (well, woman) from America and strong as hell. She’s much more experienced than I am but I was told to spar a more advanced student in order to learn better. The fact that she would probably beat the shit out of me, was a minor detail I had to bare in mind.

That morning I quickly bought a mouth guard from the school shop (apparently students have lost teeth before and these babies have cost me a lot of money to get them straightened, I’m not gonna let them be smashed) I was hoping that my Shifu would give me some pointers before the fight, but it seemed he just couldn’t care less. He left me hanging. I had hoped he might admire my guts, since I was the only girl in our group that had volunteered to spar, and I’m only in my third week. But then again, he’s not the one I’m sparring for.

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Ali wrapping me up

When I was getting prepped in the training hall (Ali was helping me put on my wraps and was giving me some punch advice) I saw Teagan entering the training hall. She was already dressed to fight me. Oozing so much confidence and zen it made my stomach feel queazy. She had bruises on her upper arms as if she had just rubbed sun tan lotion on her body and accidentally had fallen asleep on some newspapers. Leaving an imprint all over her upper limbs. Also: she was supposed to spar three girls in total that day. That kinda says it all.

Translator Susan: “Evelien, hurry up, you’re the first one today. Teagan is already ready. Put on your safety gear and go to the ring. Hurry hurry!!”

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Ali wasn’t even finished putting on my first wrap. And I still needed to take off my shoes and put shin protectors on!! This was going south already. But I had reached the point of no return. The next thing would be to step into that ring and acknowledge my inferiority.

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My Shifu was the ringmaster of the day. Figures… We bowed before him and he quickly explained us some basic rules. No knees, no kicking in the crotch, no head bumps, … basically no dirty fighting. Only the moves we learned in class.

Shifu: “Leady? Fight!”

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I looked Teagan in the eyes. She looked a little daft. Like she was in some spiritual place. Why wasn’t this girl nervous at all??? She didn’t even blink.

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I was thrown off by her zen-ness and before I realized it she latched out and punched me right in the nose. Damn this girl’s fist travels fast! I didn’t even see that one coming. While I was still recovering from her blow, she threw in another punch. And another. Wow, I was seeing fists everywhere. I decided to take a few steps back and travel around the ring a bit, to give myself some time to recover from the surprise attack and get my shit back together. I started punching her but it seemed like my punches never reached her. I was slow as hell. Always giving her just enough time to block my punches and responding my sissy ass fist bumps with proper fighting punches. For fuck’s sake dodge the glove! My mind and body were having an argument again. My Chi was trying to intervene: “Guys this isn’t the time, knock it off! Rather knock your opponent out!” I was starting to get a little scared here. We’re not even one minute in the ring together and already am I going down quicker than the Titanic. I’m also breathing like crazy. This fighting thing is tiring!!! It all looks so easy from a distance, but when you’re in that ring: time crawls by and fists reach you quicker than the blink of an eye. I tried to jab and throw in a cross but while I was too busy remembering some good combos, she was hitting me over and over again. She punched the side of my head a couple of times. I was seeing stars. I was backing off, scaring away from her massive arms. She sensed my fear. And my Shifu was -again- not impressed with me. I could hear him think: “The best defense is attack!! ATTACK!! MORE POWER!!” I had already forgotten about the 80 students watching me get beaten up ages ago. This was something between me and Teagan. And the Shifu. I started kicking her, hoping to affect her just a little but it felt like I was just tickling her. I was fighting like a girl (sorry for going all sexist on my own species). I decided to change my strategy from sparring to surviving. And remembering nothing is permanent, all pain shall pass, even this will come to an end.

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Think happy thoughts

After 3 minutes my Shifu called it ‘a fight’. We took a bow (actually I forgot to do this, I immediately took off my gloves) and stepped outside the ring. I didn’t know exactly what to think about my performance, but I didn’t feel super bad about it.

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I did it, I survived and actually I was quite pleased I had tried. Of course I could have done better but considering the circumstances -with my back hurting and all- things could have been worse. I was fearless. And that is what Kung Fu stands for: to let go of all your fears.

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While I was limping to the side, watching the next fight I suddenly realized how my time in this school was coming to an end. It has passed so quickly. I only just got started. This was just enough time to be introduced to the mysteries of Kung Fu, to integrate myself into the school. I knew the next week would be rough, since I would have to say goodbye to something I didn’t want to leave behind yet.

I decided to latch on to the weekend and go for a never ending night out. Some people were celebrating their last day in the academy with a big party night in Yantai. A city a 1,5 hours drive from the academy. Before I entered this school I made a promise to myself I wouldn’t drink alcohol for 30 days. Well, that promise stranded at day 26 cause that night I was drinking alright. Way too much actually, but it felt good. I was enjoying myself and I still was very much in control of my actions. That night I also rekindled with the love interest I mentioned earlier in this post.

Right after a Chinese lady came on to me and kissed me…

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What’s up with these girls wanting to kiss me?

I must have been putting out the vibe that night.

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Sexual tension was building up really quickly between me and the guy. I guess all this fighting makes you horny. And the fact we had been living like monks the entire time.

Me: “This is it. The moment I have been waiting for since my hormones got all crazy on me back in Australia.” (See blog post ‘Hormones’)

Sex was in the air. I had a double room all to myself. And I’ve really been wanting to use the word gargantuan for a very long time now!gargantuan

When we arrived at the hostel together we could finally touch each other.

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You: “Way to go Evvy!! You had hot and sticky S-EGGS??”

Me: “Stop jumping ahead of my stories! I’ve warned you before!”

While he was lying on top of me -still dressed- and we were kissing heavily for about 30 minutes, we got so caught up in each other, really wanting to move things further, but somehow there was a barrier. We just couldn’t.

You: “… He couldn’t get it up?”

Me: “Oh he could get it up alright. It was something else…”

It was… conflicting Chi.

We had been doing all this Qigong these past weeks, all this mental training, learning not to live by our bodily needs. Somehow it just didn’t feel right to go all the way down to China Town. It’s not like anything could come from it anyway. This is just a fling. We should be able to surpass that and deal with it as monks.

“Less penetration, more meditation”

You: “It doesn’t necessarily have to become something. You can just enjoy yourself and have a good time, right?”

Me: “Yeah sure, that’s how you promote AIDS. But, either way, it just wasn’t the right time. And we both felt that way.”

In the end we were happy we contained ourselves and actually felt really proud of that achievement. Abstinence is pretty arousing as well. And we both knew some day the fire works would be lit. But no one was spreading his Chi tonight.

The next day we went for a nice dinner and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since, and that’s okay. We both have our lives to get back to.

On Monday I returned to the school. Due to the holiday we wouldn’t have training until Wednesday. Thursday night I would pack my bags and say goodbye to the academy.

I was sad. It was nice to have a purpose in life. To learn Kung Fu. Now that purpose was going away and I would have to learn how to get by on my own again. I was getting so comfortable in the school (maybe a little too) not having to carry my backpack around. Challenging my mind and body. Living in the moment. Not worrying about the future. But you cannot escape certain responsibilities. And that’s also something I have to learn to accept.

The final training day was a lot of fun. They gave me the privilege to shout at morning run (usually only the monitor gets to do that) and I was in charge of warm up. At the end of the day the Shifu closed the training day with another line up as usual. Only this time he had a little word prepared. Since it was my last day he congratulated me on completing my training.

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Translator Susan translating Shifu: “Even though you were injured, you always kept training and never gave up. The Shifu thinks you are a very strong girl. He hopes you can take care of your body and you will continue to enjoy the fruits of your training in your everyday life.”

While Susan was translating the Shifu looked at me with the cutest face ever. I always knew there was some kind of mutual respect, even though he didn’t always show it to me. I asked permission to say goodbye to each and every one of our group. While my team mates were still lined up I worked my way down the line, shaking everybody’s hand and saying something to each team mate individually since I shared a memory with each and every one of them. Things were getting a little emotional as soon as I had reached the end of the line and faced my friend Audrey. I didn’t say anything to her. We just did our secret handshake. After, I turned around. Shook the hand of the assistant Shifu and translator Susan, saving Shifu for last. When I looked him in the eye, my eyes all teared up. As soon as he noticed he directed his eyes to the floor.

Me: “Thank you Shifu. Thank you for everything….. It was … my pleasure.”

He probably was -again- embarrassed by me and my over emotional-ness. We have only known each other for a month and here I am sobbing like I’ve been here for five years. But I meant every tear. I’m really gonna miss this guy. The Shifu kept his head pointing towards the ground and nodded. He is trained not to show emotions. But as if the Chinese gods intended it, rain suddenly fell out of the sky. Pouring down on us harder and harder.

“The sky is crying for you”, Rebekka, a girl from my group said.

I went to my room to collect my bag and said goodbye to my roomie Celine.

The taxi was waiting for me outside. And… also the Shifu. He walked with me towards the taxi. Videotaping me saying goodbye to some of the friends I made. …He has a very popular youTube channel and likes making videos… We’re his major attraction.

Audrey whispering: “The Shifu really likes you. He’s sad you’re leaving.”

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The Shifu? Sad? I looked over at him standing there all helpless and wrapped my arms around myself as a way to ask him if I could hug him. He smiled and gave his phone to someone to hold it for him. We hugged, and again I thanked him. I didn’t cry this time. I saved my tears for inside the taxi. When I saw the Kun Yu Shan mountains slowly but surely disappear behind me. It had seemed I left the same way I arrived. With waterworks.

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But a lot more strength both inside and out. Thank you… universe?…  for this amazing opportunity. To many more adventures to come! Next stop: Shanghai!

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XO

BTW: My roomie Celine and I celebrated our final night together in style. We heated up some chocolate with a candle and made us some chocolate fondue and watched a movie. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!