Brussels Revisited

Exactly one year ago, I traveled to Uganda via Brussels airport. I arrived at the terminal the same second three suicide bombers, at the other terminal, pulled their triggers. Killing fourteen innocent people and leaving eighty-one injured. I was stuck in nearby Leuven for four days where I wrote this following text. Then I continued my travels via Paris CDG, arriving in Uganda on Easter Sunday.

3/22/2016 Brussels Airport 

I was at Brussels Airport when the bombs exploded. I didn’t hear nor see it. But I saw hundreds of people running in my direction. My first thought was „how can so many people be late for their flight?“. How little did I know.

We then assumed that there was some sort of attack. One Swede threw up his hands „seriously, this is my fifth terrorist attack“, as if he had a collecting album. We stood at the A Terminals and waited for news. The sudden, eery silence was only interrupted by a school class playing fussball. They didn’t worry. Each of their loud cheers was answered by other people’s yelp. The mood was tangled and tensed.

Fifteen minutes later the airport announced evacuation. Most travelers didn’t follow the instructions at first and thought it was a fire drill. One officers pulled me gently off the restrooms. People had to leave all their luggage. One woman said „back home I announced I wanted to be less controlling, less attached to material things and have a blast. I didn’t mean it this way“. It was sad to find out later it was real and people died.

While walking outside the terminal, I overheard a couple saying „ah evacuation, thank God we wear functional clothing“. One person rejoiced „finally, I can also mark myself safe on facebook“. Some ordinary tourists discovered their inner journalist and metamorphosed into realtime reporters with selfie sticks. They got this ambitious look on their face like they’re part of something bigger. Now anything was suspicious, the floor, the planes, the weather. Me, I was just cold. I wore summer cloths and a rain coat.

Back in Hamburg, I was worried „will this raincoat warm me for five minutes between the bus station and airport? And protect me from the warm African highland monsoon?“ Little did I know that I was about to stand outside the airport for 5 hours. There I was freezing and thus started dancing, imagining minimalism music. Some people complimented my sweet moves. I was thankful I didn’t start a sad flashmob. In fact, I felt horrible. I also hadn’t slept or eaten in two days. I started crying and put on sunglasses. I was cool crying. I ate all the chocolate that I initially bought for my hosts in Uganda. Me, dancing and crying with sunglasses, raincoat and eating chocolate. This image will stay with me for a while. Still, I had no idea what really happened.

Hours later me and all the other hundreds of people were escorted out of the airport area, followed by journalists and cameras. No one really knew what was going on. I was hoping planes would leave soon. My first stop was at a gym hall where I rested on the floor. We then were advised to go to Leuven, a small town outside of Brussels that was not affected by the attacks. We were told to look for hotels and return to the airport the next day. At the train station, I became friends with two young American women on their way to Delhi. On top of everything, one of them had food poisoning. All hotels were booked. We became friends with despair.

Eventually, we got the last beds at Leuven City Hostel. It was packed only with people who were there involuntarily. There were Turkish guys interrupted on their way to Berlin, two Czech couples trying to get to Havana, and two girls from Bielefeld because they wanted to go to Louvain-la Neuve but confused it with Leuven (Leuven in French is called Louvain). 

 

3/23/2016 Leuven

We still don’t know how to go on. First, we were so happy to be able to sleep. This morning, I woke up at seven from the construction on the other side of our hostel wall. They started working to The Final Countdown. I didn’t care. So far it seems there will be no flights until further notice. The airport is still marked a crime scene. The airlines seem to be as uninformed as us. I’ve been waiting in their phone line for about five coffees. It seems like I will stay for even more coffees in Leuven. Me and my new friends spend time together. For example, we go into stores just to be warm. The hostel life feels a little bit like an involuntarily Erasmus experience but without luggage. I made so many friends, also because I’m the only one with an iPhone charger.

Leuven is a cute Flemish university town. Our first encounter was a blessing. Three Belgian guys gave us free food. An entire cake, a baguette and oranges! Everyone here is dressed nicely. Us not so. Rather three girls in oversized bulky raincoats. We felt so foreign. We weren’t underdressed enough to look like we dressed up like that. We three just stuck out like accidentally stranded backpackers. It’s small details like that, a silly rain coat, which made one feel foreign. What must bigger differences feel like?
My thoughts are with everyone affected by the attacks.

3/24/2016 Leuven at night

It’s astonishing how fast I can get used to a standard. Even though it’s involuntarily, I’m enjoying the hostel life. On Tuesday, I was plain grateful that I’m alive and that I could sleep in a crowded gym hall. On Wednesday, I didn’t mind my sleep being interrupted by The Final Countdown constructions workers. Because any time is the time for The Final Countdown. But today I’m already complaining about the cold shower and other people having fun: Last night my sleep was ruined by a huge party.

National mourning does not apply to university students. It’s semester end party in Leuven, a city whose main essence is the university. Fifty thousand students celebrated before their exam period. And the main party seemed to be outside my window. I looked out and was greeted by young, innocent faces, not yet corrupted by the many dirty years of university.

They partied it up right in front of us while we tried to sleep.  Someone peed against our window, thinking it was a wall(?). Then I did something I haven’t done since the military. Not shooting! Geez! I rolled in my ear plugs so hard that I could only hear my own heartbeat. My desperate hostel mates, for the first time since food poisoning able to sleep, went outside to complain like we were forty years older. Hey can you party quieter? Was I angry because I was still recovering from the shock of terror while they were partying? Or because I wasn’t partying but they were? DJ Ingrid needs some rest.

Now my bed was as quiet as a shooting range. I googled „how do deaf people know when to get up in the morning“. I was worried that I wouldn’t hear my alarm clock. Because I have a train to catch. Also, as a suspicious German tourist, I slept on my traveller checks. I hoped no one would mug me. Or if they did mug me, at least wake me up afterwards. Thanks mugger. I woke up again in the middle of the night because I lost my one ear plug. I looked for it closely as if it was a spider or gold. It was 6.30 and the party was still going on. Now they really got my DJ Ingrid street cred.

I got up. That one old dude still blasted youtube videos in the lobby. (The last two days – and nights – he has been playing the same video of people doing the time warp again and again and again. And again. Btw, he’s not stranded here but apparently lives at the hostel those past ten years. Maybe he doesn’t know who he is. And the time warp is the only thing that connects him to his past self). At 7.00, The Final Countdown began as usual. My hostel mate asked politely how I slept and we just burst out in hysterical laughter. Like cocaine addicts asking each other how they liked their mediation.

Today my voyage continues. I said farewell to all my wonderful hostel friends, all departing in different directions. Frankfurt, Amsterdam, blablacar. Only that one old dude stays. He’s having the time warp again for breakfast. In a few hours, I will try to get to Brussels main station. I bought the last available train ticket to Paris Charles de Gaulles. For the first time I will have a big birthday party with hundreds of guests – I will celebrate it on the airplane to Addis Abeba. My flight has been rescheduled for the fourth time now.

 

I got safely to Brussels main station. Boarded the TGV to Paris CDG. Met up with my Indian friend from Stockholm, who happened to be there. Boarded the airplane and continued trip, that would shape my view of terrorism, of Africa, politics, and western beauty standard forever. 

A trip to the Gym

„I was at the gym today“, I told my friend proudly. He replied „did you have a gig there?“.
Wow. Was it that out-of-the-way of me to be at a gym? Guess so. I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in years. And that one time doesn’t count, when I was just handing out flyers for my close-by comedy show. (No one came).

A few weeks ago, I ran to an open mic to get a spot. That’s when it hit me. When the only work out I get is sprinting to an open mic, there’s clearly something wrong with my fitness. And career, because I didn’t even get the spot.

I used to be athletic, though. I mean, I was on a Bundesliga team. (Granted, it was Rugby. There are so few players, when you start, you’re automatically Bundesliga. In Germany, Rugby has the same development index as Comedy. Okay, who am I kidding, I never actually played a Bundesliga match, but I saw one, from the bench, park bench). But Rugby wasn’t my only exotic sport, I also played Headis regularly. So regular, I even modeled for it (was accidentally at practice when a curious photo team showed up):

That one time I was athletic and a camera team showed up.

 

 

So, I need to work out again. But I would never sign up for a gym deliberately. I hate gyms. Hanging onto some work out device while I think everyone stares at me because I probably use it wrong? Is there an anxiety-gym? At the entry of any gym’s atmosphere, my motivation burns up in a split second. And it’s too cold to be running outside. And no group sport, since my ankle is broken from when I once tried high heels. And no yoga, because I always fall asleep. Yes, I have many excuses. I have more, need one? So what now?

 

Am I doing this right? Why is everyone looking? Help. (c) Ingrid Wenzel

 

So one day, on my way to getting my daily dose of cake, I saw a little raffle next to a bakery. I could win something. How exciting! Oh, just a personal training. You almost got me!
I participated in this raffle. It was my way of effort to work out: Now it was in their hands. Leave fitness up to fate. I did draw a big smiley on my raffle card, awkwardly waving it into the personal trainers’ faces. Heyyy pick me right. I really like winning.

Guess what. I did win. Or they did pick me, having seen my untrained body. (They probably marked my card “Winner! She needs it the most!!!”). Or they let everyone win, cuz that’s marketing right? Anyway.

Sooo, I went to my first class on Monday morning. I was out of shape and nervous. What should I wear? How close will I be standing next to the personal trainer? I took a shower before my training, applied body lotion, did my nails, even flossed. The last time I did all that, I got myself a new boyfriend.

My prize wasn’t a normal, awful gym. It was a gym where you get black, skin tight suits and electric shots (EMS)! What?! What have I gotten myself into? But the trainer calmed me down by saying “you would be the first person to pass out this week”. The first one this week? It was just Monday morning! He hooked my functional sausage-skin to the power. Bzzzzz. 
Here’s what it looked like. Also, I think this is the best self-portrait I’ve ever drawn:

EMS: Elektromyostimulationstraining or Egon M. Schiele? (c) Ingrid Wenzel

This electric shock work out lasts only 20 minutes. I can do that. It tickled, I didn’t go out of my way. Wasn’t even sweating. (I only took a shower afterwards because the suit smells of other people’s sweat.) I even enjoyed it (not the sweat). I must have looked like someone, who chills while being electrocuted. Back at home, I felt accomplished and had more cake.

The backlash awaited me the next day: a surprise muscle ache in places, I didn’t even know I had muscles. I will do it again. Bring it on! Turns out, EMS is not only super efficient, it’s also expensive. Looking at my fellow gym partners, I’m never sure if they’re rich or lazy. Good small talk topic for my next workout. Make Ingrid’s body great again.

 

 

 

Stand-up for the Ladies and Men

There were several nice things going on these past days. On Saturday, I spontaneously performed at a comedy show in Hamburg. Also that day, my friend from Detroit, currently living in London, visited me. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to take her to a German comedy show. Turns out, it was hilarious and she can now tell the world: Germany is catching up in comedy!
Yesterday, I hosted my beloved comedyshow called “Stand-up for the Ladies”. And guess what. You can book more than one woman, if you want to! We had a lovely show with three female and three male comedians.
What would be a blog post without photos? And a show without picture proof that there was a show? Thanks to photographer Sergey Sanin, me and the other comedians got these amazing photos. Check out more of Sergey’s work on www.sergeysanin.de and more of the show’s photos here.

Lastly, after a gig, people that don’t have anything to do with comedy want to give me advice. Well, I myself don’t feel in position to give comedy advice to anyone, either. Better stop reading right now. Though today, I was asked for advice in front of a group of people that want to do stand-up comedy. (Yeah, I accidentally mistook the comedy workshop with the improv workshop but then they started asking me these questions and I kinda liked it). Because it made me think. And I came up with some answers that feel right. At least to me. Maybe to you, too? Did I miss anything? Let me know. Here we go, I made a list. That’s what bloggers do:

– Don’t listen to anyone’s advice unless you want to become that person. Follow advice of people who you appreciate.
– Don’t show a bad attitude. Care for the audience.
– Be present, be in the moment, have fun.
– Fuck up as much as you can. Learn from it.
– What do you really think is funny and why?
– Write everything down that interests you.
– Know yourself. Be yourself. What makes you unique? Could your set be told by any other person?
– Before doing an edgy topic, maybe start talking about yourself first.
– Every bit you put into comedy pays off. Unless you only post selfies.
– You don’t have to know all comedians. Don’t copy anyone. But kinda have an idea of what’s already out there. How can you contribute to the art?
– Identify what you want: Attention? Money? Fame? Or become a good comedian?
– Just do it and see where it takes you.
– Yeah, and of course basics like don’t steal jokes, be kind, speak clearly, learn to hold the mic.

 

Now, showtime:

Martin Niemeyer, Alexandra Schiller, Christin Jugsch, le Wenzel, Majbritt Bartelsen, Axel Heckmann and Headliner Stefan Danziger. (c) Sergey Sanin
100 % büttenredenfrei (c) Sergey Sanin
Half Ingo half Inge (c) Sergey Sanin
Danke to (c) Sergey Sanin and all artists!

 

 

Next show: March 22nd!

Google search words

Guys, I’m not Luke Mockridge’s Girlfriend!

The google search term, that (mis)directs most visitors to my page is: „Luke Mockridge Freundin“. (Luke is a German comedian and Freundin is German for girlfriend.) Since when did my website become just the girlfriend of someone else? Isn’t it so much more than just Luke’s girlfriend? His father maybe? (This is the first and only Star Wars reference on my website ok). So now, whenever my website gets extraordinary traffic, I get immediately suspicious. I mean I’m awesome but not that awesome that thousands of people a day check out my open mic dates. Damn right: Whenever visits go up, I found out it’s either Chinese hackers or Luke’s fans. (Don’t think they overlap).

According to google, there are four Ingrid Wenzels in Germany. One has a hardware store, one is a doctor and one runs a gay club in Bochum. I’m the comedian, just making sure okay. I get it why some look for a different Ingrid and accidentally find me. Just recently, a man emailed me and asked me if I can rent out the gay club to him. But also every day, people search something completely differently – not even remotely Ingrid-related – and still get directed to my website. And thanks to google analytics, I know now what these people were originally looking for.

 

Screenshot (Freundin = girlfriend).

 

 

This picture is brought to you by my awesome photo editing skills

 

 

How did it happened that my number one search term is “Luke Mockridge Freundin”? And why do people search/wish/are afraid that I’m Luke’s girlfriend? The answer is pretty dull. (And if you belong to the elite, that has read my old infamous blog, before it got hacked, you can skip this paragraph.)

Google’s algorithm simply mismatched my usage of the word “Freundin” in one of my old blog post with the picture of me and Luke from a comedyshow in another posting. So whenever you try to find out who his girlfriend is and click on “google picture search” – you’ll see that pic of me. To make matters even worse, it’s a pic where we hold hands – just for fun. It’s not what it looks like. I deleted my website months ago for safety reasons (damn hackers). But that rumor is still out there. The internet doesn’t forget. Not even rumors it created itself. So here’s the Corpus Delicti:

 

This is not what it looks likes (c) Nightwash

 

Besides that, these many searches may have changed the algorithm and thus the suggestions, that pop up after my name, when searching for me. You know, it’s like when you type into google “why are all Russians…”, “all men want…” and you’re shocked by what google presents you after those dots. Actually, nowadays you can sue google, if you’re not happy with whatever insults pops up after your name. So did Germany’s former First Lady, because google suggested “prostitute” for her name. One of my girlfriends googled my name recently and was suggested „Ingrid Wenzel girlfriend“. She was like „do they mean me?“. Or are people trying to figure out if I am a lesbian? I’m totally cool with it. As long as they stop googling “Ingrid Wenzel Weight” and “Ingrid Wenzel Age”. Like I’m sort of a quartet card game. “The Comedians edition”. Ah, my Louis CK card beats the Ingrid Wenzel card, in weight. But there are more absurd search words! May I now present to you marvelous search terms, that mislead people to my homepage:

 

Who’s my girlfriend?

 

 

Best of Search Words:

Even though I finally found an explanation for this “girlfriend situation”, I often can’t explain other search words. How big of a disappointment is my website to those, who got here searching „getting tattooedod today“ and „Männerstrip im Dorfkrug“. Sorry I can’t provide that (yet).

Other search terms are more personal, e.g. „wedding first night with Inge“.
I mean, I’m also dying to find out how my first wedding night will be. Maybe I should google it, too. Or maybe they were just searching for my favorite Baseball player Brandon Inge. And his wedding night. Which is weird, too. Unless there was some crazy Baseball action involved. Then I wanna know as well.

Detroit Tigers Wedding Gown

 

 

There are some more search words, which lead to me, that I’m actually happy about.  Someone googled „room heater for comedy events“ and somehow got to me. Thanks I guess? Where I perform the room blows up. Also, do “room heater for comedy events” not work in other facilities?

Others are random like “bean art project”, “German party snack” and “DJ Ingeborg” (Granted: Sometimes, when I think my name „DJ Ingrid“ is too cool, I name myself „DJ Ingeborg“ to not intimidate people). One other recurrent search word theme is “trash”. Totally fine with that. I love trash. How else would I craft my collages and low budget birthday presents.

 

room heating devices

 

Bean Art Project (c) Takao Sakai / Wenzel

 

My biggest Achievement in life: When you google “German party snack”, this photography of mine comes up on page four. (c) Wenzel

 

 

 

trash related search words: “castrop-rauxel sperrmüll onlinedienst”, “müllmann mottoparty reeperbahn falsch”, “männer von stadtreinigung”, “suchbild frau Müll”, “trashmen fetish”

 

 

I now installed new SEO programs. Because Ingrid means big business. No, geez, I just hope to provide you with more silly search words soon! Keep googling!

Love,

Dj Ingeborg, SEO

 

 

Comedy Hosting

I love hosting comedyshows. And I love hosting comedians.
My guest couch has seen more comics than civilians. And lovers.
If my comedy career won’t take me around the globe, I might as well open a hotel and let the comedy world come here. Last Wednesday, I hosted my Show Stand-up for the Ladies with three comics from out of town.
We had 7 female stand-up comedians in one show, is that German record? And also three amazing male comedians. From a newcomer’s second performance ever to professionals, who have been doing Comedy for decades – Thanks everyone for coming! Next episode is February 22nd. And thanks to Sergey Sanin, we got some great shots from the show (for more pics, click on the link):

 

From left to right: Ingrid Wenzel, Thomas Schwieger, Sarah Schmerse, Jacqueline Feldmann, Don Clarke, Lena Liebkind & Birte Rehberg (c) Sergey Sanin

 

 

Ingrid Wenzel, Regina Pichler, Sarah Schmerse, Lena Liebkind // Birte Rehberg, Christin Jugsch, Jacqueline Feldmann, Feli rockt // Axel Schossen, Don Clarke, Thomas Schwieger (c) Sergey Sanin

 

 

Love these gals! (c) Sergey Sanin