She’s a M A N I A C

There are days I devour Netflix shows like an all you can eat continental breakfast. I indulge, overeat and get bulimic. When this happens, weird neurochemical processes take over my membrane and suddenly my non-fictional life sets itself in the middle of my new favorite fictional universe. When those two worlds intertwine in some heavy love making, this is what comes out…

A monstrously exciting read. 

“After ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Girlboss’, Evelien Delgouffe turns ‘Maniac’ for her long awaited new fan fiction blog post” (Daily Planet) 

There was a time I posted a new blog post every week. Back then I was globetrotting. Running after adventure like a dog chasing its own tail. And guess what? Wherever I went, there was my tail! In Australia, in China, even in Japan. Of course I had exciting things to tell each week. Heck, I had exciting things to tell every day, every hour, every minute! But since life is back to the status quo, not a lot of exciting things happen to report about.

I go to the supermarket, I sit at home and write and with the money I make from writing I go to the supermarket again. It’s the circle of life.

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© Netflix – Maniac

Even though I’ve changed the decor of my life to a new city, I still roam the streets like a moody teenager looking for a pattern. The pattern around which my life, and all life around that, is knitted.

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© Netflix – Maniac

There was a time I believed in the pattern and I saw the pattern everywhere. I even wrote a book about the pattern. The book has been lying in eyesight for almost a year now. On the corner of my desk. Collecting dust and cereal crumbs.

The book I wrote was filled with hidden walls, double meanings, easter eggs and was a perfect blueprint of the labyrint in my mind which researchers like to refer to as ‘Mindlantis’, the final frontier.

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© Netflix – Maniac

But lately, I don’t see the patterns anymore.

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© Netflix – Maniac

You: “Are you depressed Evvy?”

Me: “Isn’t that just the default setting of human beings?”

You: “Err….”

“But why did you actually never publish your book?”

Me: “Because I sent it to 5 people and 1 of those 5 people thought it was shit so from then on I thought it was shit too.”
“Anyway, I am too embarrassed to send it to publishers. That book is all me. I couldn’t bear people to criticize it.”

You: “Ahm, aren’t you a critic in real life yourself?”

Me: “Who are you the ethical department??”

You: “No actually I’m down the hall with the unethical department.”

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You: “We have been watching you for a while miss Delgouffe.”

Me: “Yikes, and who the fudge are you mister Side Parting?”

You: “My name is Doctor Mantleray and I want to eat (…) errmm, study your brain.”

Me: “Oh yeah? And what’s in it for me?”

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© Netflix – Maniac

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Cutting-edge treatment of you neurological hypertheroidial amoebical mambo jambo… hysteria.”

“My colleagues from the unethical department look forward to meet you.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Unless there is some world class editor/ renowned publisher working in your little unethical club, I’m afraid I’m not interested.”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “What a coincidence. There is! His name is Owen and he will be happy to help you publish your book.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Errr, well…thank you, but never mind. I don’t think this version of my book is the definite one anyway… I should probably think about an alternative ending. As a matter of fact I should go do that right now.”

You as Dr. Mantleray : “If you work with us, our computer will do the writing for you. We will hook you up to our neuro-network and your book will be printed directly from your brain. Owen here, will just run the final checks on points and commas.”

Me: “Ok then mister Mantis…”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Mantleray”

Me: “Whatever. Allow me to rephrase my initial question: What’s in it for you?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Once you begin to appreciate the structure of the mind, there’s no reason anything about us can’t be changed. Pain can be destroyed. The mind can be solved….”

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© Netflix – Maniac

You as Dr. Mantleray: “… And you will earn 50.000 euro”.

(15 minutes later)

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© Netflix – Maniac

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Ow-keey-oki miss Delgouffe, we will now hot wire you to our neuro-network for a little test run. We will ask your subconsciousness a few basic questions. Consider it a warm up, before we proceed to subduct your future bestseller from your brain.”

“And a 5, 6, 7, 8!”

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© Netflix – Maniac

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Me: “Where the funk am I?”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Your subconsciousness chose to wake up in Japan. You were here on the 16th of May, 2016. The real you has just witnessed a minor earthquake. Remember? You even put a message on Facebook after it happened.”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “The earthquake was actually not coming from Miyazaki, like news media reported that day, but was caused by a small bug in our computer system when we hooked ‘the future you’ up to our neuro-network. It happens all the time.”

Me: “That’s ahm… swell… doctor, but why am I here?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Don’t ask me, ask your subconsciousness. Is this place also mentioned in your book?”

Me: “Yeah…”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Well there you have it! Now don’t be scared. Throughout this interview your subconsciousness may switch through different locations from your past. And potentially your future.”

Me: “My future???”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Yes, as a matter of fact this is you in 6 years from now. Look! You’re a doting mother, covered in rainbows.”

Me: “No no no, take me back! Please take me back!”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Where the fudge am I now?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Err… it seems like your mind is a little disoriented. It mixed your time in Australia with your fascination for cosplay and fantasy, miss Delgouffe. Maybe it’s better we take this conversation to our pre-formatted offices. I will get the floppy disk and program us right in.”

“There you go. Better ain’t it?”

Me: “Peachy…”

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© Netflix – Maniac

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Now let’s get to the core of this mission, miss Delgouffe. First question: are you allergic to any kind of nuts, seaweeds or possibly gluten intolerant? Our chef needs to know, since you will probably stay in our facilities for more than 48 hours.”

Me: “No.”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Ace! You’re now officially screened and ready to print your bestseller, miss Delgouffe. We will bring you into contact with editor Owen and you can discuss the next steps together while Gertie, our computer, prints out the full story for you and the rest of the world to read!”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Owen, where are we?”

Owen: “We’re in an elevator.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Owen, I cannot be in an elevator. Elevators scare the living shit out of me. I have experienced severe trauma in an elevator!”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “What’s happening in there? Why are the radars turning like crazy?!”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Owen: “Oh boy! You didn’t mention that fear in the intake conversation?”

Me: “They asked me about my fucking gluten intolerancies not about my Michael Myers vs. Laurie Strode relationship to elevators. Now get me the fuck out of here!”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “God Gertie, we’re losing her. Another prodigy’s about to go catatonic.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

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Owen: “Better?”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Yes, thank you.”

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Me: “Hey I used to live on this corner! This was one of the first rooms I lived in when I moved to Berlin!”

Owen: “I know. This is 1 year ago today. Do you remember? You took this picture of yourself in your flat.”

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Me: “Yes I remember! I was writing… on my book.”

Owen: “I know.”

Me: “Wait a minute. Am I currently in there? Holy moly! Am I stalking myself??”

Owen: “Yes. What we need to find out miss Delgouffe is the simple neuro-dynamics of why you gave up on your book. Why did you throw something away you worked on for months? Why did it end up on a corner of your desk collecting dust and cereal crumbs?”

Me: “Jeez Owen… I don’t know. Maybe I’m afraid it’s not good enough. Not entertaining enough… After all I stick to true events. I didn’t even bother to use a lot of fantasy… It was just an immediate excerpt of my life. Past and present. And all the irony and double meanings I pretended to see along the way.”

Owen: “Pretended to see? What if what you saw was really there…?”

(In the meantime in the unethical department) 

You as Dr. Mantleray: “We have to stop the trial Azumi. I have to pull the plug!”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Dr. Azumi Fujita of the unethical department: “No! If you do that you’ll risk she ends up in a vegetative state!”

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© Netflix – Maniac

(In the meantime in neuro-land)

Me: “Nonsense Owen. I fooled myself. I’m a fool. And maybe that stupid book should just stay in the past.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Owen: “At this point in time, when you were here writing in your flat. You also wrote a text message to a handsome looking individual you matched on Tinder. They answered you back and you met each other for the first time on Friday the 13th of October… In the real world, you are a few days shy of celebrating your first anniversary together… That same evening in this flat you listened to Lady Gaga because you had a sudden melancholy to her widely unacclaimed album ‘Artpop’. Today a movie with Lady Gaga enters cinemas and guess what… It’s a love story and she’s probably gonna win an Oscar for it. These are not random facts. I’m sure the Evelien from one year ago, who is now sitting in this flat, would have recognized this pattern.”

Dr. Azumi Fajita of the unethical department: “Dr. Mantleray we are gaining back her cooperation. The numbers are… growing impressively. Owen is actually getting to her.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Of course. I knew we were not going to risk another McMurphy…”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “So the pattern really is the pattern, huh?”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Owen: “Yes. And therefor I have to ask you one thing…”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Owen: “You can’t finish your book if you’re running away from your demons. It’s time for the Confrontation stage of this trial. You need to confront your biggest trauma in order to finish your book and unravel your pattern. You will have to take us to that deciding moment in your life. The moment that changed your life forever, the moment that also hurt you the deepest.”

Me: “Ahm Owen? Why did you change into a purple looking Yoda?”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Owen: “Maybe because your subconsciousness feels more at ease talking to a stuffed animal. Ha! Check mate!”

Owen: “So to come back to my question…”

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© Netflix – Maniac

“Are you willing to travel back to the most painful moment in your life and dissolve the pattern?”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “I’m ready for my therapy doctor.”

You as Dr. Mantleray:

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© Netflix – Maniac

“And Owen’s not a doctor.”

Dr. Azumi Fujita of the unethical department: “Just leave them, James.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “Brace yourself Owen.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

Me: “For this emotional torture ride will take you to belly tingling highs…

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…and sickening lows.”

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© Netflix – Maniac

XO

Congratulations! You made it all the way through! Thank you for reading and just for the record: I’m not depressed. This is merely a piece of fan fiction to show my deep appreciation for this great Netflix show. Check out my previous fan fiction posts on ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Girlboss’ if you wanna discover more!

EXCLUSIVE! Star reporter Lois Lane sits down with the debased Evelien Delgouffe: “My book is good… to light my coffin”

Whatever happened to that talented girl that blew us all away in 2016 by traveling the world in search of that little thing called happiness. From Toronto to Tokio people could follow her every step on her widely acclaimed blog ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless.com’ with weekly posts, updates and harvested wisdom. But after she moved to Berlin, things got quiet around Evelien Delgouffe. And now, my esteemed colleague seems to have completely disappeared from the radar.

Friday 25th of May, a true story written by Lois Lane.
Text by: Lois Lane
Written by: Lois Lane
In case you forgot who wrote this text: Lois Lane 

LOIS CLARK THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN

A tragic life story, is what people call it. Evelien’s lasts words on her blog date from November 2017 with that subversive, 5000 words too long read about Star Wars. Already then people whispered that Evelien was spiraling down to ‘coo coo ville’, potentially even leaning over to the dark side.

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One of her lasts pictures in Berlin. Clearly spiraling out of control.

Her peers in Asse, where she was born, haven’t heard from her. And also her parents have no clue where their daughter is. “That’s Evelien, she always disappears when she’s fed up with things.”

Does she still live in Berlin? Is she currently battling a heroin addiction? Did she suffer a small heart attack on her bike in Ibiza like that other promising Berlinoise Nico?

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After months of research I -Lois Lane- suddenly found a trace that had lead me from Asse (Belgium) to Gatineau (Canada) over Tooperang (Australia) and eventually Germany. Evelien is still alive. And yes, she is still living in Berlin. But it’s not where she was last seen. The upscale neighborhood where she first moved to has been replaced by one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city… Evelien Delgouffe currently lives in a crack house in Neukölln which she shares with a handful of trippy drag queens, one one-legged pirate, the songwriter of ’99 Luftballons’ and other creatures from the underground. And I don’t mean the Velvet Underground. There’s something rotten in Berlin and it’s much worse than the pop art bananas of Andy Warhol…

(FYI: I, Lois Lane, am still top banana) 

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On a Tuesday afternoon I meet Evelien in her humble abode. It took me a while to convince her to do this interview, but then she said she would do anything for a quick look at her Instagram account, since that was her favorite pastime before she hit rock bottom.

“I’ve lost 12 followers”, she grunts. “I thought I had become a legend by now… But I guess I am officially a hasbeen…”

Lois: “Could you tell us what has happened to you, Evelien?”

Evelien: “What difference does it make…”

Lois: “People want to know if you’re alright and if they can help.”

Evelien: “People huh? People can fuck right off. I’m done with people.”

She removes some pieces of cardboard from the floor to dig up a rusty tin box and opens it. As far as my knowledge goes, there seems to be something inside that looks like a crack pipe… Or possibly a shriveled baby carrot… She takes out a ready-rolled cigarette and a package of matches and places the cigarette in the left corner of her mouth. She grabs a piece of paper and lights it with a match. The paper bursts into flames, which she then uses to light her cigarette. After one second all that’s left of the piece of paper is chunks of dark grey ashes on the floor.

Later I, Lois Lane, would learn she used a page of her own book to light that cigarette.

Evelien: “I also re-use the pages sometimes to make LSD. Or whenever I’m out of toilet paper. Or when I want to cut (…)”

“You see that guy over there with the needle in his arm? That’s Yuri… He composed ’99 Luftballons’ in the late eighties on those little kids’ pianos. He was only 4 years old at that time.”

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“He thought it would become his golden ticket to showbusiness, but he never got any acclaim for it. He ended on the street. Broke and creatively sodomized. He can’t stand the song ever since and goes crazy every time he hears it.”

Lois: “Maybe we shouldn’t mention it too loud then…”

Evelien: “Don’t worry, he has ripped out his ear canal 20 years ago…”

Lois: (Gulp)

Evelien: “You’re wasting your time here Miss Lane. I’m sure there’s better stories to stick your perky nose into.”

Lois: “I am not the only one who wonders how a talented young woman like you has ended up in a crack house like this. You were a promising writer. Remember your birthday last year? You were so proud to have finished your very first book. Your debut as an author.”

Evelien: “My book… My book is good to light cigarettes… and one day my coffin.”

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Lois: “But why?” 

Evelien: “It’s not the city Lois, it’s life. Life swallows you up. You learn from your mistakes only to make them over and over again. I don’t have time to sit down with you and smell your expensive perfume. I was once like you. Always dressed to the nines, as if I came straight from the hairdresser every day. But I have quit that life a long time ago Lois. Never will I be remembered for my immaculate beauty. Forever will I be remembered for my failure and my rotting body and brain. Now get out of here and never come back.”

When I walked out of the room, Evelien called my name. I turned around and she said:

Evelien: “Lois, you have always been a better reporter than me. Please take my place. You have my blessing.”

And that’s the last I, and thus the rest of the world, heard of Evelien Delgouffe.

In case you forgot: My name is Lois Lane. The only real reporter out there. 

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Me: “That TRAMP!”

That Lois Lane is out to ruin me! Ever since I started out as a journalist in 2011 she has been trying to sabotage my career. First by sleeping with Superman and now by creating fake stories. This is nothing more than a disgusting smear campaign!

I call together a press conference!

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To my dear readers, followers, friends and family: I know I have been absent from this blog but that’s only because I have been very busy being REALLY REALLY HAPPY.

  • I am not living in a crack house with the author of ’99 Luftballons’,
  • I am not lighting cigarettes with pages of my book. (Although I did think about it once…),
  • I am still very much working as a freelance journalist/copywriter so if you want the best content, it is still ME you should contract and not that shade throwing palmtree of a Lois Lane. She’s just bitter because she got fired from ‘The Daily Planet’ after they found out she was earning money on the side as a stripper.

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This is why I declare ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless’ officially as re-opened for business. I will not promise I will blog every week like I used to, but expect more frequent updates from my side with fresh memes, gifs, puns and adventures!

Auf wienerschnitzel boys and gurls!

Stay tuned for more jaw dropping, straw missing, air sipping content to come!

XO

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

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

Find out in the following bit!

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

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

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The traveling threesome ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Cooking with honey, I mean, Hany

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come and live FREE with ME next to the SPREE!

It is such a GREAT city!! ❤ ❤ ❤

XO

Aftermath

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

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And what did you want? 

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

(Raymond Carver, Late Fragment)

***

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

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(This was your cue to laugh)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Relax, it’s a snapchat filter)

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

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

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I had three choices: 

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

B: Prostitution;

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

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

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

I pick C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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on my way from Yokohama station

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

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

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

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

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

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At one point the ride just disappears under ground!

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

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Post roller coaster selfie. It was WILD!

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

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

  1. I defo became wiser

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

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

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

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

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3. I frigging love myself 

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

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4. I’ve met some pretty amazing people

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

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

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

6. I quit smoking

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

7. I learned to trust

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

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

But for now:

Lientje Out.

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Domo arigato for your support these past months.

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Daisuki! ❤

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

XO