So I went. But reality didn't live up to the fantasy. It didn't even come close.

There were signs before I even boarded the plane: her practising signing her name "Mrs. Avery-North", her obsession with "The Secret", (the latest ancient mystic secret to life fad) wanting me to sell Nikken products (new age magnetic health products in a pyramid scheme) and the flat tire on the way to the airport.

But hey, I was going to Europe for free, to live in her flat and teach English at her new school. Don't over analyse, just enjoy.

We were lovers, my vow of celibacy ended. Too bad the sex flatlined and there was no chemistry in person.

As for teaching, the school was her living room, (she'd just ordered business cards) and had six students, three of them typical teenage girls (who got discounts as I learned after my first lesson).

Factor in it was a month before Christmas, when English lessons are low priority, and the money I'd imagined wasn't there either.

At least I was in Europe.

Unfortunately, I had no money, a credit card I didn't want to max out (but wound up having to) and no traveling companion (or even tour guide for that matter).

Susie said she was sick from stress and never wanted to leave her flat, preferring to chain smoke and play on her computer. Other than forays for food or trips to a café, we went out a half dozen times at best.

Being left to your own devices in a foreign country, where you don't speak the language, after being sold on a song isn't much of a vacation, especially when you've no pocket money. I walked around some but that's only entertaining for so long.

I had my acoustic guitar with me and briefly considered busking but only briefly. I'd given up on being a serious singer/songwriter a decade ago and would be lucky if I could make it through ten songs now.

Nor did I get to meet any gorgeous European women by playing the role of the charming Canadian traveler.