"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Brussels

Translating the Abandoned German Letters from 1946

Last year when I was living in Brussels, I was frequenting my absolute favourite flea market in the world Jeu de Balle, buying photographs and love letters and other trinkets. As usual, when the flea market is over, the vendors usually leave a whole trove of junk just lying on the cobblestone grounds that either they couldn’t sell, that broke, that was damaged, that got soaked from the rain, or that they just don’t want to transport back to their warehouses. The thing is, the street cleaners come in very quickly after the market is over to pick up all the trash and wash the square clean! So if you’re crafty, quick, and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can get your hands on some amazing antique and vintage gems.

Seeing as how I’m an excellent scavenger (and I don’t like paying for things), I would always scour the cobbles (and in between the cobbles!), go through the piles of trash, kick over soaked boxes and rifle through all the discarded remains for whatever meant something to me. From my scavenges, I have procured monochrome photographs from the 1920s, gold-rimmed picture frames, and these two letters written in German in 1946.

As you can see from the very top picture, the stamps were ripped from the envelopes (probably because 1946 stamps are worth a lot!) but I was more interested in the contents of the letters!

Luckily, the internet loves to help! I tweeted out for help in translating them, and a wonderful follower of mine from Berlin, who wants to be referenced here as Resa Lamego, offered to help! She was able to translate the letters very quickly because her English is amazing, and even though she was busy travelling down to Heidelberg, she still did a fabulous job.

The letters mostly just contain mundane minutiae of these women’s lives from 1946, nothing mind-blowing or tragic or epic, but the language employed is quite nice!

Here’s an excerpt from the 1st letter (edited for content… really just the most interesting parts!)

Malmö, the 28-08-1946

My dear Mady,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter! I’m glad to hear you are in Switzerland. It is wonderful that they all who have been/ used to be in Germany gain such a trip. From the photo I can tell that the nature must be very beautiful. I hope you are completely recovered/healthy when you travel back home! Do you really believe you will be able to come to Sweden? I would be so happy if it was possible. Then you must come to Malmö. As before I got the children from (..)? Now we got the Karl-Jo-Haus-School back. Last year sick children from France and Austria were living there […] One always needs to be with the children, one needs to help them to eat, to play and to bathe. […] It is very hard to write in German and I make many mistakes. I hope you are able to read it? I have never been very good in German but maybe it is harder than usual because I was reading in English the whole winter long. I received my major and can now be a teacher of English. Half of my summer months this year I spent in an international school in Helsingor and there English was the conversational speech. Now my head is full of English words and phrases. So now I need to practice in this letter otherwise I will forget my German and that can’t be!

My dearest regards,

Anna-Kerstin

And here’s an excerpt from the 2nd letter, unedited because the whole thing was totally cool.

Malmö, 13-10-1946

My dear Mady,

Thank you so much for your letter! From the date I can tell that it has been already over a month before I received your letter. I can’t really understand why. Time has passed so quickly. Now you probably are back in Belgium? If so, I send this to your home. Have you recovered dear Mady? Oh, I hope you are from the bottom of my heart!

So, Mady, you think I am chubby/big? Oh well, that is possible. I love to eat and maybe I do it too much. The photo was from summer and then I am always bigger because then I don’t have my work. So I think now it’s better. One doesn’t like to be big!

I got from your letter that you are glad to be back in Belgium. Here in Sweden we have a saying: Foreign countries are good, but home is always the best. And I believe that is very true. I haven’t been to foreign countries, you know, except Denmark and Norway and that for us aren’t really foreign countries. For the next summer I hope I will be allowed to travel to England. I am supposed to have English classes with children, you know and of course it should be very good for me to spend a few months in England. That way one learns the language much better.

Dear Mady, you say that maybe you will come back to Sweden. How happy I should be if that was possible. Will you come alone or with other people? Oh, it would be wonderful to meet you again. Please Mady, if you can, so come, come! I am telling you my dearest welcome!

And now, Mady, to a quick ‘hear-you-again’, I hope!

My dearest regards!

Anna-Kerstin

P.S. May I also send my regards to your family?

Oh Anna-Kerstin, you sweet Danish-living-English-teaching friend! How wonderful and sweet you were to your friend Mady! And such a shame that someone saw fit to discard your beautiful letters into a trash heap in Brussels. So glad I recovered them and saved them!

As I wrote about for VICE, the main reason why personal items like this end up on the fleas is because the owner passed away and their family just wanted to liquidate all the belongings. Why? They probably weren’t on very good terms.

So Mady, I hope you had a good life. Your surviving family is shit.

To the flea markets!!

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Nuit Blanche Brussels: If you undress me, I’ll undress you

In the past I have frequented Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, so I knew that the event in Brussels would encompass performance art, light installations, concerts, film, and a mash of everything in between. The entire city was alive with ideas and provocative thoughts from 8pm until 5am. As I ran around all night in the rainy, haunted, winding streets of Brussels, I couldn’t have been giddier. I love Brussels so much. It is the city that saved me, and suffused me.

This poetic light installation was in Place Des Martyrs.

Always take the stairs.

If you undress me, I’ll undress you.

The body as a pendulum.

Homoeroticisms projected onto Place de  la Monnaie.

Inside the beautiful Bourse, which has been empty for many years because of the expanding Stock Exchange, they projected 14 moving images (and when I say moving, I mean emotive and literally moving in slow mo) of a modern day crucifixion with a live quintet playing an aria called 14 Emotions.

I stumbled home sometime around 2am, after having taken the nightbus (which was free for Nuit Blanchers), and as the bus wound through the streets, I just kept repeating to myself, “I love this fucking town. I love it so much.”


#SpaceInvader in Amsterdam and Brussels

I had previously photographed what I thought were genuine Invaders in Amsterdam, but it turns out there is an Invader-imposter! I realized they were fake when I tried to flash them on the Flash Invaders app, and then some graff-friends confirmed they were bogus. So it took a lot of digging and searching, but I managed to find some of the few genuine ‘Vaders still poking about my beloved ‘Dam.

You know what really bothers me about this? I’ve been to Amsterdam six times now, and all of these ‘Vaders, I must have walked obliviously past them a gazillion times, they’re all on streets I frequent a lot. Normally I have a very keen eye for these types of things. How did I miss them?!

For example, this one was across from the English Bookshop that I go to often.

I must have sauntered past this one a bazillion times. It’s down below and on a pillar that doesn’t face the sidewalk, it’s on the edge of the street, so I probably missed it because had I walked on the street-side, I would have gotten hit by a car. I’ll let myself off the hook for this one.


This one was hard to get, it was on the other side of a bridge. I had to hang my camera-hand over the railing just to get the shot. Those are my knobby-knees in the background.

This was on the Blauwbrug, a bridge I have crossed a bazillion times. How could I have been so blind? DAMMIT ESTIMA.

 

Now onto Brussels. Seeing as how I lived in Brussels last year, I had already found so many ‘Vaders, but I didn’t realize how many I had missed! And what’s worse, a lot of the ‘Vaders I photographed last year were audaciously taken down, so I couldn’t flash them on the app! SACRILEGE! But at least there are still some gems to be found in my beautiful, belle Bruxelles. Behold!


I think this one is my favourite. It’s down below, it’s unblemished, it’s colourful, and I just love it.


It wraps!


I don’t have a smartphone, but this ‘Vader is actually a QR code that when scanned on your smartphone, reveals the locations of all the Brussels ‘Vaders. There once was 40. Now there’s only 24 left.


Again, must have walked by this one a bajillion times before I found it. FOR SHAME!


Last year I photographed many peeing ‘Vaders (Brussels has a thing about statues peeing… it’s a whole piss-thing). But I didn’t know about this one, it’s down a dead-end alley next to another one of Brussels’ pissing-commemorations… I mean, jeez.


A million times…


… and I never saw it.


I love this photograph.


The colours of the Belgian flag 🙂


This one has haunted me. I was in a car last year, someone else behind the wheel, and we sped past this one, and I tried to make a mental note of where it was, but I never found it again… until now.


And last but not least…


Yes you do.

Check out my Space Invader category for more of his work that I’ve photographed all around the world!


The Best Life

I’ve been on the road for three weeks now, and I’m so glad I decided to throw off the shackles of suspended animation and stationary living that were cutting into my skin (In short, paying rent is for suckers). I’ve been a backpacker for nine years now, and even though I have been to so many places, and learned a lot, I always seem to discover new places and learn new things. So far all the cities on this journey are places I have been to/lived in before (Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and soon Berlin), but it’s hard to be bored in these cities. I’ve forsaken flying, and have been taking the delightful European trains like a civilized person. I’ve been Couchsurfing and house-sitting, which has allowed me to make new friends, snuggle with some snuggle-pets, and take the time to really explore without feeling rushed. My days consist of drinking sweet lattes, writing in my journal while sneaking glances at the pretty bearded hipster dudebro behind the counter, walking around a European metropolis in the sunshine, taking photographs of provocative street art and urban art, indulging in Pain au Chocolat’s without a trace of guilt, going to flea markets, spending hours at enthralling museums, rocking out to Nils Frahm, and partaking in SO MUCH EUROVISION (I had no idea when I came to Copenhagen that I’d be here at the same time as the Eurovision Song Contest, but boy has it been fun! Go Conchita go).

A friend of mine recently sent me this message:

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I am forced to agree.

Here are some highlights and urban art from my travels this past month.

Brussels


In Brussels, of course my first stop was the Jeu de Balle flea market to spend hours upon hours rummaging through boxes to find some love letters. Remember this? Anyway, I found 10 love letters written between a husband and wife from 1956-8 in Brussels. He was a military doctor and so he was stationed away from home quite often. Look at that lipstick kiss in the letter! They totally got it bad for each other. I also found a letter written during WWII (it’s undated but I’m guessing from the letters’ contents that it’s from about 1944) written between cousins about how “les sales boches” (aka The Nazis) have invaded Belgium and the family misses their homeland. They are in exile in an area of France that was not occupied by the Nazis and 12 family members are living in a small flat. The cousin writes to the other cousin, begging him to join her, saying, “we will make space on the mattress for you.”

I love you, Jeu de Balle.


Jef Aerosol has an ongoing exhibit just around the corner from Jeu de Balle.

Amsterdam


Of course no trip to Amsterdam is complete without going hunting for a few Laser 314‘s 🙂


I also spent a great deal of time at Amsterdam’s Resistance Museum, and then following a map to all of the important locations in the city during the Nazi occupation, including where Jews had to buy their Star of David armbands, the theatre converted for mass deportations, the Carlton hotel that a war plane smashed into, the bombs that dropped on a home on the Herengracht, the air-raid shelters, and more. Highly recommended if you’re into WWII history like me


This is Laser’s nod to 1984.

 

Copenhagen


When you take the train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, the train (which is only 4 small carriages) goes ONTO THE FERRY. No one ever believes me when I tell them this.


SELFIE.


Ah, Copenhagen. I was last here in 2006 (read my post from that time here, and this post has all my photographs from back then). If I’m being honest, my memory of my time here in 2006 is rather hazy, so I’m glad I’m spending a good chunk of time here.


This is wonderful. An underwater sculpture in one of the canals.


The boats have to be careful, otherwise their propellers will be destroyed.


Kirekegaard’s grave!


Hans Christian Andersen’s grave!


I swear, Copenhagen is filled with so much antiquity, and so few people, that sometimes, you can walk down a street, preserved in detail for 200 years, and wonder if you’ve stepped through time, without the presence of cars and technology to distract you.

I’m still in Copenhagen, so this section is a work in progress. More photographs to come! I have SO MUCH STREET ART TO SHARE!

Stay glued.

 


The Farewell Love Letter from August 20th, 1945

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Yesterday, at the Jeu De Balle flea market in Brussels, I bought this love letter for €1. It was written August 20th, 1945 from an unnamed man to an unnamed woman. It was written in French but I will do my best to translate it here. This reminds me of a letter I once had to write.

“20/8/45

My love,

I love you so much that it is necessary to tell you that again and right now. It’s 11:30 am, maybe you are thinking a lot about me right now — I don’t know. But I feel your love around me like a protection and a caress. Forgive me my love for not loving you more, but I still have a heart very much broken. I still feel quite often alone and abandoned, very close to hopelessness and craziness. I very much need your softness, your warmth, your presence. You should treat me a bit like a sickness. I still suffer a lot, without end and I very much need that you don’t switch on me too much. Now, you are to me peace and calm; near you, I can finally calm my nerves. I pray that one day you will be complete happiness to me.

It’s when I take you in my arms and kiss you that I feel so much happiness and that the world could turn around me without destroying my happiness.

Forgive me for stealing your life and for giving you worry. I hate myself sometimes for the bad stuff I have done involuntarily to you, for the worries and the pains I have given you, but I can’t do anything about it, it’s stronger than me. I would like so much to change and become more normal, I want so much to be worthy of you.

I detest all the moments in my life where you weren’t there, and that I am now in exile from you.

Goodbye, my dear.”

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The original French:

“20/8/45

Mon Amour,

Je t’aime tellement qu’il faut que je te le dire encore et tout de suite. Il est 11,30h. Peut-être pense-tu tellement à moi maintenant — je ne sais pas. Mais je sens ton amour autour de moi comme une protection et une caresse. pardonne-moi mon amour de ne pas t’aimer plus, mais j’ai encoure le coeur tellement déchiré. Je me sens encore si souvent seul et abandonné, tout pret du désespoir et de la folie. J’ai tellement besoin de ta douceur, de ta chaleur, de ta présence, il faut me traiter un peu comme un malade. Je souffre encore trop et sans arrèt et j’ai tellement besoin que l’on ne me bascule pas-trop. Maintenant, tu es pour moi, la paix et le calme; près de toi, je puis enfin une reposer détendre mes nerfs. Je prie pour qu’un jour, tu sois pour moi le bonheur complet.

C’est quand je te tiens dans mes bras et que je t’embrasse que je me sens tellement heureux que le monde pourrait rouler autour de moi sans détruire mon bonheur.

Pardonne-moi de te voler ta vie et de te donner du souci. Je me hais parfois pour le mal que je te fais involontairement, pour les soucis et les peines que je te donne, mais je ne peux faire autrement, c’est plus fort que moi. Je voudrais tellement changer et devenir plus normal, je vourdrais tellement devenir digne de toi.

Je deteste tous les moments de ma vie où tu n’a pas été et que j’ai passé en exil de toi.

Au revoir, Chérie.”

I’m going to keep this letter safe.


When I leave, it will be the last you’ll ever see of me

Walking along the ancient city walls in Maastricht

The Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, which is a converted church. Fitting, seeing as how A) books are more useful than churches and B) churches used to ban books and burn them.

The view from my loft in Amsterdam


Gloria Swanson at the Foam museum in Amsterdam


More stuff on the walls at Foam in Amsterdam.


In a garage in Ghent.


She was displayed for no reason on Rue des Tanneurs, Brussels.


Penthouse flat I’ve been housesitting for 3 weeks, built in the 1920s. Oh what a tough life this is.


Especially when I’m forced to watch the sun set over Brussels.


A chateau hidden in a forest in La Hulpe.


The garden of the chateau in La Hulpe.


See me?


Jere snapped a pic of me riding off into the sunset, as it were.

Stupid cherubs and cupids (photo by Jere).


I went to a talk and reading of fellow-Torontonian Margaret Atwood at Flagey. She named-dropped Canada so much. The Arrogant Worms. North West Territories. The CBC. The Axe-Throwing League of Toronto.


Oh and I got to ask her a question from the balcony. I felt pretty sweet.


Cook & Book store in Woluwe. There are books on the ceiling. THE CEILING!


Oh what a feeling! When we’re reading on the ceiling!


And so many places to sip a cuppa whilst reading 🙂


Of course this was on the ceiling.


In Halles St. Gery, I stumbled upon a free symphony orchestra performance that had set up inside.


I went to the Jeu de Balle flea market and came back with 15 love letters between a man named Kenneth and a woman named Nathalie.


This one says, “je t’écris pour te dire que tu as été, que tu es, que tu seras la femme la plus belle, la plus douce, la plus importante  de ma vie.”

AWWW!


Speaking of letters …. when I’m sad, my friends send me gifts and letters of encouragement in the mail. My friends could beat up your friends. First, I found this in my mail box.

Then this.


And finally this.

I have a great support team.


And when I don’t have my friends, I can always rely on a snugglecat for a kiss.


Space Invader does Bender from Futurama

I had read in Space Invader’s book that he had done this in Paris, but I had no idea it was also in Brussels. It’s been tagged a lot, but it’s still loaded with awesomesauce! BENDER!!!

Check out my Space Invader category to see his pieces that I’ve photographed all around the world!


Belgian Catfish

Time for a photo-dump! I’ve taken hundreds of street art pics in the past two months since I arrived in Brussels, and haven’t done all that much blogging.

I’ve had this blog for eight years but and have lovingly updated it frequently (dedication + tenacity), but while I sort things out in my life, please excuse the quietude around here.

Also, before I get to the pictures, I would like to state something for the record: Twice now (or at least twice THAT I KNOW ABOUT), I have been the victim of a Catfish, in that someone has ripped my photos off of here (or my Twitter or Instagram), and created fake profiles with them. The first time happened with a fake Twitter account a few years ago, and last year it was a fake Facebook account (both of which I had successfully shut down by contacting both Twitter HQ and Facebook HQ). Now, I have been informed someone has created an OkCupid profile using my photos. FOR THE RECORD, I am NOT on OkCupid nor am I on any dating website! So if you ever see my face or my photos on ANY dating website, you can rest assured that it is fake! Please report them!

When I was alerted to the fake OkCupid profile, the guy who found it confronted the pathetic loser, who was using the username SweetTea (eww), and they immediately freaked and deleted the account. But that doesn’t mean they won’t create another one using my pics.

Seriously what kind of sad, pathetic person uses someone else’s photos like that? IT’S CREEPY, and just like the people who are fooled, I feel violated.

STOP USING MY PHOTOS. I’M SURE YOU LOOK FINE IN YOUR PHOTOS, USE THEM

Anyway, you Catfishes should know that I’m well-connected on the internet, and all your thievery will get back to me. Duncecaps.

Anyway, here’s the photo dump I promised!

First, MORE SPACE INVADER!

I invade Bruxelles!

This is the same colour scheme as the Belgian flag 🙂


This one was in Ghent 🙂


Another peeing ‘Vader.

Check out my Space Invader category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!

Next – ROA!


Roa is from Belgium (Ghent, to be specific), so I have been searching really hard for his work, but so far have come up with only this one, and another I found in Ghent! WHERE ARE ALL THE ROA’S?


This is the Ghent Roa I found. I thought I’d find many more there! Gutted!

Check out my Roa category for more of his work I’ve photographed around the world!

Next – Sonke!


These were next to the Roa up above!

Check out my Sonke category!

And now some randoms:


This says, “le chemin de bonheur n’est pas une autoroute,” which translates to “the road to happiness is not a highway.”


A Jef Aerosol… beyond those doors is his exhibition, but I didn’t both to go in.


PAC MAN NOM NOM NOM.


People keep naming streets after me.


That’s a small but very noticeable Shepard Fairey (aka Obey)


This was in Ghent.


Ghent


ha! yeah right.

One of my favs.


This is the end.


A Symphony Pathetique

A testament to how strange and wonderfully sync’d life can be sometimes:

Remember last month when I asked if anyone could put me in touch with the band A Winged Victory For The Sullen? (Read that blog post here). Well, as these pictures can attest to, currently playing an aria on my piano is none other than Sir Adam Wiltzie of A Winged Victory For The Sullen.

The band makes house calls!

We exchanged music for a dip in the pool. Hence the reason he’s shirtless and in swimming trunks.

I lead a charmed/strange life.


My Brussels photo shoot

IMG_2300Last week in Place Jeu de Balle, a photographer asked me if I would pose for some pictures. I said okay, naturally, seeing as how I’ve done that lotsa times before. We took a whole bunch of shots as the sun set over the normally crowded marché aux puces, and I think this is the best of the lot. Everyone on Facebook seems to agree. One of my friends said, “it’s not just ‘hot!’ or whatever, it is a really nice picture that looks like you, and when I think of you in my remembery, this is what you look like. You look smart, confident, well dressed (creative, based on the ensemble). Yes. C’est toi, cherie.”

Your life is in shambles, but somehow you find a way to get dressed in the morning. Even though you run back under the covers ten times, eventually your dignity wins out over your depression. You decide that happiness is not a house you might build one day. It has got to be a choice. So you put on your favourite cowboy boots that he always hated, swath on the chocolate-black mascara, and you fucking pull yourself together. Now is the time for guts and guile.

And voilà: a damned fine photograph.

 

 


The sore, serene invader

These are all the Space Invaders I have found thus far over the past month in Belgium (and one outside the country….)


This is near the Grand Place.


The ‘Vader is peeing because the most famous symbol of Brussels is the peeing boy…. I just try to remind myself that there’s no accounting for taste.


I saw this huge guy from three blocks away. It’s hard to miss.


Now a pissing dog? This city may not smell like infectious human waste, but it definitely is l’air du temps.


This is at Saint-Cathérine. I was with my friend Adam, who lives in the area, when I noticed it. He has lived here for 12 years and never noticed it. He was baffled by my keen eye.


The ‘Vaders are bigger in Brussels. Usually he uses the small bathroom tiles which are the size of Rubix cube sections. He’s using massive floor tiles here.

See it? I found it wandering around Ixelles, trying to avoid that Rastafarian guy in the red car who was blaring his music and trying to catch my attention.


This is deffo a Vader because that painting-hand is a motif of his, but I can’t make out what it is he’s painting?


I’m short so this is my angle… sorry about that.


I saw this one from the train that I take to get into the Brussels city centre, and had to wander through the city for hours just to find it, without knowing the street name, or even where the hell I was going.


It’s probably the biggest one I’ve found in the country.

I hope you like more peeing!


When ‘Vader starts pooping, that’s when I will call it a day.


This was the Vader in another country that I found by accident. It’s a one-eyed monster. I love it.


This particular city in this particular country had hundreds of ‘Vaders, but I wasn’t in the headspace to actually go looking or hunting. I had lost an interest. But this one I found by accident, so I thought, “When am I going to be here ever again? Might as well…”

Check out my Space Invader category for all of his work that I’ve photographed around the world.


Belgian lights aflare

This is by artist Ernest Zacharevic. That’s actually a shopping cart, sliced in half and installed in the wall. I hope this is never removed. I hope no one ever tags over her beautiful face.


I found this on Rue Léon Lepage, Brussels.


“The thread end of an idea burns away and I’m pulled in—on the momentum of whatever was there waiting”


A Winged Victory for the Sullen

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This is where I’ll be living for the next little while, at least until mid-September. I’m house sitting and catsitting for some friends of mine in Belgium. I have this place all to myself.
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Six bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms (I know, I counted… Twice), a grand piano and a pool. I’ve never lived in a gated community before but this is the perfect environment for me to work on my writing and shut out the 21st century.
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So much space, I don’t really know what to do with all this space to myself.
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If only I knew how to play that piano. I would love to invite a post-classical pianist to dinner in exchange for some tunes. Can anyone put me in touch with A Winged Victory For The Sullen?
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The days here are warm and balmy, the evenings are fragrant with fresh rain mingling with chopped pine and grass.
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The view of the pool from the main bedroom.
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Did I mention they bought me a bike right before they left? So lightweight and fun and easy to handle. Life isn’t complete without daily rides through forests, cornfields and wheat husks.
20130728-200011.jpgSay hello Annie. This is my ward. She’s diabetic so I have to give her insulin injections twice daily. She’s not bothered by it at all, she’s used to it and purrs whilst I do it.

I’m the one crying.

When I return to civilization in September, at least I will have the first draft of my second novel done. This lovely house and that blessed accomplishment are my severance pay … a winged victory for the sullen.

(PS: Knock loud, I’m home.)


>brussel sprouts part deux: people know stuff

>two years ago when i was backpacking around europe, i got thrown out of a hostel in brussels. (you can read about it here ,scroll down to the end of the entry).

this past week, i tentatively walked into the same hostel with jeannine, and hoped to god he didn’t remember me.

he spent the entire time staring at my chest. nope, he didn’t remember!

woo!


i only spent 3 days in brussels two years ago, but it’s funny how walking through the streets, i remembered where everything was. jeannine and i would be walking around, and i’d suddenly be like, “there’s a mosaic on the other side of this wall,” and sure enough, there it would be. by instinct, i led us around to where the tourist attractions were, without a map.

usually, i don’t like revisiting a city i’ve already toured because i don’t want to sully my memory of it. i want my first impression of it to stay embedded in that dream world, mine and mine alone. no presend-day updates. but this trip was leaps and bounds beyond the last. we had such a giggle. and brussels is capsizing and heaving with life i never knew was there….this video i took of a morroccan block party is case-in-point:

wine and salads on sunlit patios. picnics in parks. children playing cache-cache. geriatric couples playing tonsil hockey. dutch movies. kicking loud families out of cinemas (they were fat and obnoxious anyway). practicing our french. walking and walking and walking. chatting about sex and girth. belgian french fries. recounting old memories (u-phill!). creating new ones (“people know stuff.”)

look how gorge she is.

if i were a lesbian, i’d totally do her

small streets, cafes, restos, signs and flags crawling up to the sky.



oh yeah, drugs. you gotta have drugs.

the french waiters bartered with us, each one promising us free wine and champagne. apparently, they told us it’s their job to hit on the ladies who walk by.

and let’s not forget our main reason for hitting brussels….PORTISHEAD!!!

they disbanded 10 years ago, so we thought we’d never get the chance to see them again….but there they were, blowing us away!

put your hands up for detroit.


aww, aren’t we just so sweaty and gross?

of course i took a few videos of their performance! this first one is of their amazing song Numb and the second down below is of my favourite song of their, Sour Times. yeah, the cameraworks is shoddy so what. can you hear me yelling in the first one at people to sit the fuck down inbetween singing my heart out?


red bull minis everywhere, so let’s all have a drink


that table is reserved for me and my future ex-husband.


i just turned my head, and there she was all pretty!

aww, bff!

before-shot.

our picnic in the park consisted of grapes, strawberries, boursin cheese, brie cheese, red win, praline chocolates, and french bread.

after shot.

burrrrrrrrrp.




i love this shot.


me hiding underneath the violets.

it’s sexy-sexy time. my wife is the third greatest prostitute in all of kazakhstan.

jeannine knuckle deep in snot.


me digging for gold.



thumbs up, bitches.


jeannine is ravenous.


but i have the i-want-to-suck-cock look on my face. (boys,take a mental note )

jeannine and i have been friends since 2002 and although we’re both evolving into these unknowable new beings, we’re still so alike, it’s eerie. she’s off backpacking through the rest of europe again, and i hope to meet up with her in either germany or france again. read her blog, it’s a fucking trip!

on the eurostar train down to brussels, and back to london, i kept looking at yellow fields of flowers and pastures of cows. distant towns and belgian farms. and i thought about all the times in my life i’ve seen the horizon blurred into one big mesh as i’ve traveled throughout continents. but after all those trips, and countless more to come, all i can think of is one particular bus ride to a hometown last summer. where things were new and changed, and never would be the same again.

this weekend, Lu’s new boy-toy Chris was DJ’ing at an event called SE1, a rave. and of course, i had to rock out with my cock out.


why does it look like there’s cocaine dripping down my nose?


i don’t know if you’ll be able to see this video, considering the privacy settings on facebook, but if you can, it’s of me rocking out to some raging beats this past weekend, i was so trashed!

the summer is rocketing through my skin. warm breezes and parks full of lovers. cobbles stones bumped by bicycle tires and high heels running toward open arms. the summer suffuses us. our passions are heightened and we fall in and out of love like changing brands of cereals. the fervour is delicious. and we hope we never change being flighty. the birds have it right. we are all just learning as we stumble through the night. shadows devour. fingers twine. life begins and ends in this.

i had my first official date with Niko last night. greek man with blue eyes and tennis on the mind. he’s actually not what i expected. i figured he’d be like all the greek men i knew in highschool, stereotypes and easy to predict. he’s actually quite soulful.

so….we’ll see.


>brussel sprouts

>except here, they just call them “sprouts.”

rereading the past few entries . . . fuck i’m scrappy.

speaker’s corner, the hostel owner, assholes on the street . . . do i like fighting? is there something about me that incites it in others?

it’s been really hard to lift my spirits here in brussels. when you stay in hotels, you don’t meet anybody, and i have no one to talk to really. i did my bus tour this morning (they forgot to make me pay for it, which is good, because it was disappointing. i’m such a thief.), and then walked around and around the narrow streets.

cobblestones make my feet ache, but i can’t imagine anything else under my toes. they rise and fall through the winding roads.

everything here, from the architecture to the people, is a memory of a memory. wreckage upon wreckage. disaster upon disaster.

14th century gothic towers, good-luck gilt sculptures you rug for good luck, a pissy boy who is the city’s emblem, parisian-esque cafés, patio waiters who inhale the girls as they pass, street performers in elaborate get-ups blowing ‘hit the road jack’ on saxophones, kids riding on dad’s shoulders, balloon animals, pin-wheels, musical festivals in large public squares, odd-sounding police & ambulance sirens echoing through the districts.

i popped into a church 1000 years old, but if you’ve seen as many ancient churches as i have in the past year, you’ve seen them all.

connection lost, wires cut, electricity severed.

feeling restless, i went to the central train station to reserve all my seats for the upcoming 7 weeks on the eurail. my interaction with the man behind the ticket wicket was lively, fun, and boisterous. put me in a better mood.

giggle and tease.

reminded me that i’m not a bitch. shit happens in life, it’s no one’s fault.

as i left the station, there was finally a bounce in my step.

sang along to mobile’s “outta my head.” smiled at a dread-locked backpacker. used up the batteries on my camera. window-shopped. played with gadgets and oddities sold by street vendors. grew hungry. ate cherries.

stained lips and fingertips.

patio waiters here are ravenous, ballistic, governed by pheromones. in the space of 2 minutes i was approached and sexually harrassed FIVE TIMES.

“voulez vous boire quelque chose avec moi? une mauresque? un kir? assiez-vous avec moi chérie!”

“non, je ne bois pas d’alcool.”

“ben, mangez quelque chose avec moi, chérie! ici sur mon patio! restez ici!”

“non, je n’ai pas faim.”

“voulez vouz m’accompagner ce soir? on pourrait dancer ensemble!”

“non!”

one waiter blocked my path, wouldn’t let me pass, and actually grabbed my wrist at this point.

“que vous etes sexy, mais pourquoi pas?”

“PARCE QUE VOUS VOULEZ BAISER, MAUDIT ENFANT DE CHIENNE!…tabernac!”

i shoved them away and didn’t look back.

all the waiters together – “oooooooooooooooooooo!”

assholes.

yeah, i’m a scrapper.

can’t i just be a faceless tourist for once? a ghost, completely anonymous?

as much as i talk about sex on here (which is quite often), it’s always in good humour, nothing sexual should ever be taken too seriously. it’s all a joke, something we do for fun like rollerblading, only we look like complete morons when we do it.

the other day on myspace, i received an email message from a man describing his particulars to me, lavishing me with physical compliments, insisting we meet, and then adding, “by the way, i’m married.”

first of all, since when did myspace become a fucking dating service?

secondly, if he had actually taken the time to read my profile, he might have taken the time to consider the futility in indecently propositioning a feminist.

i wrote back, “go home and kiss your wife’s feet for putting up with someone like you. no thanks.”

i’ve seen what cheating does to a family. and how in the messiest of ends, the women are the ones left broken.

hasn’t anyone seen fatal attraction?

anxiously awaiting luxembourg in a few days . . . and especially amsterdam after that.