HOW I SURVIVED EUROPE  Podcast

Hello there!

My apologies for being away from you for so long, but a three month tour to Europe can take a lot out of you! 

When I arrived home i had 2 dollars to my name!! Rebuidling a life at home was a little rough, thank GOD I have an awesome family that ensured I was fed and had a place to sleep :)

Europe was amazing in a nutshell I must say. I know I didn't post any blogs from then until this point , but I decided to start NOW! I will be posting a series of blogs about how I survived Europe. The first portion is featured below, it talks about the first leg of my journey to Amsterdam. 

I will also  let you know whats on with me currently. David  Alexander and I are back at it in the studio trying to come up with our next album , which of course is going to take some time. But more importantly we are working on our live set, and are currently booking upcoming shows for the fall! We are aiming to play in Los Angeles area of course, but we are also planning on playing in places like San Francisco and San Diego as well. 

I will be playing various open mic nights during the week at different venues, stay updated on my Facebook page !

Please like my page here if you haven't already!

www.facebook.com/ralmusic


Stay tuned for more updates! Until then, check out the first portion of my "HOW I SURVIVED EUROPE " series 


HOW I SURVIVED EUROPE- AMSTERDAM (The first leg)


Leaving for Europe was a roller coaster of emotions as people always say. I was quite scared to go to Europe for 3 months on my own, but received much encouragement from friends, and an offer to stay with a  a friend for FREE in Amsterdam as a home base as long as I wanted. Riding my bike down the streets in Reseda to go to my job, I pondered in my mind the possibilities of what it would be like to go there. To play shows there, how scary that would be alone, how much would it cost ? I thought...I could die any day anything could happen to me at any time, should I cease the day? should I stay or should I go? A few moments later as I rode on a car hit me from the side, I jumped off my bike somehow in an instant. My bike crashed into a telephone pole. I stood there shaking ,staring into the sky , frozen. The guy got out of the car, and kept asking if I was okay . I couldnt hear anything, it was as if the world silenced, and all I could think was ," Praise the Lord, and Im going to Europe!!!" Thankfully i wasn't injured ,just shaken up, I knew then for certain I was going to Europe!

That night I bought my plane ticket with all the money I'd saved up from lifeguarding all summer. I bought my ticket for a three month span, decided that I would just figure out where to go as I went a long. I knew a few people in different countries, and I trusted that it would work out for me. Where there is a will, there is a way. As the days approached I spent time with family and friends of all types. My cd release show was amazingly packed with people, I was busy with last minute errands. But I was very emotional. Change always scares me, leaving my family one of those changes I fear particularly. As a Californian I seriously feared the cold, I was going to Europe in the winter. Also a 15 hour flight to boot was another 

I packed, and counted down to the last day, and suddenly it was the day and we were all at the airport. There were some tears, and some over the luggage I had overpacked and had to leave :/ But in the end I excitedly got onto the plane smiling. SO excited, ready to face the world, I got onto the plane. 


About 12 hours later I arrived In Instabul ,Turkey for my lay over. I recall I saw the most beautiful sunset 


I would fly to Amsterdam from there. It was one of the most confusing stations that I have ever been to! In all airports that I have been to, there are multiple signs telling you what time your flight is leaving , if its on time, what gate etc. This place had ONE board , and it loaded as time passed, so not everyones flight information would be listed. This however was quite hard for me to figure out. I was wearing flip flops and shorts (i get really hot on flights!) people were looking at me like I was crazy. I walked around and they had a delicious turkish delight store , in which they sold many flavors and had TONS of free samples...mmm!!!! 

I spoke with a young woman who was going to a small country in Turkey where she went to school. She wore a scarf around her hair, and said that she decided on her own to keep her hair hidden though she didn't have to. She was very curious girl, asked me many questions. I gave her my cd, and a bushiness card that has all my links and told her to listen to my music. She was so happy and honored to have been given a cd, she thanked me profusely. We chatted until I had to go to my gate (which I had finally managed to figure out) 

I boarded my flight to Amsterdam when it was dark, this turned out to be the most turbulence I'd ever faced. 


 

Jesse Brett -friend! Host!

Alexandria (Allee) Brett -Friend! Host!

The 'sleeping bag jacket' i wore for 3 months

Arrival to amsterdam, after traveling for almost 24 hours was a wonderful thing. We did have to carry  my luggage about 1 mile (seemed like 20 miles ) from the train station to get the  apartment where I would be staying. Amsterdam at first sight was a little overwhelming. All the big historical buildings everywhere as soon as you step out of the train station, and people everywhere , drinking beer! As soon as I arrived Allee and her husband Jesse were waiting for me at the airport. Jesse promptly told me of a store that we would be stopping by to grab some 50 cent beers. I was tired, yet very hyper from the excitement for arriving so to beers it was. The common store in Amsterdam is called "Albter Heinz" a store I would end up frequenting the whole trip. I right away noticed that everything was of course in dutch, all the food in the stores, looked weird, and I had no idea what anything said. But thankfully beer doesn't need much of a label, we grabbed a few and went on our journey to the apartment.

As I first time euro traveler, I will say, i definitly think I brought just a LITTLE TOO MUCH stuff. Two bags , a backpack, a guitar and a piano. I insisted that I needed to bring all my recording music equipment as well as my electric guitar and keyboard. The electric guitar was best because well, I didn't have an acoustic guitar, and I planned to tap dance and play guitar at the same time. So needless to say, there was a ton of stuff, that would definitly present a problem that rest of the trip. ha! 
As we drank beers, and walked toward the apartment I was so excited. My life for the next three months could be anything that I wanted it to be, I was my own boss with an agenda. Play music and have fun traveling! We went back to the apartment where I promptly fell asleep and snoring rather loudly as Allee would mention later. 

Her apartment was student living as she was going to school, and there was a really neat looking building with a  great view of the sunsets. 

view of Funen Park

 

out for drinks with friends

this was my land mark to find home





My first few days in Europe were spent adventuring around and checking out the sights, I was SO thankful that there was a little bit of sun as well. I was feeling withdrawals from the warmth and sunshine! It was so very cold in Amsterdam, 0 degrees! I was wearing a huge jacket, that I dubbed "the sleeping bag jacket" a joke that makes all forgeiners laugh. Amsterdams streets and buildings are so unique and breathtaking that I felt like I was walking around in a fake reality. As if I stepped into a dream, much of Europe ends up feeling like that. I spent the next few days exploring Amsterdam with my friends, not spending almost a single dime. Walking around and looking at the cities was beautiful enough. who needed to pay to go into some "sex museum" or whatever else? The nature alone was surreal, trees and plants that were so different from home. A city surrounded by canals , that you can get lost in so easily. I was SO tired and so jet lagged though, that I had to take a few naps per day ha! 

I decided to purchase groceries right of the bat, I had a very limited fund, and surviving for three months was going tone tricky. Grocery stores in Amsterdam are a lot smaller then the ones that I am used to at home. nothing was in english, so it wasn't always easy to figure out what something was. But I got a few items that i would survive on. A majority of what I ate those next few weeks would be mostly cheese, bread and beer. Sometimes I would skip the meals, and just have beer. ha! Its filling! I call it Beer dinner. 

So my first show was coming up just a few days after I arrived in Amsterdam and I wanted to make certain that I would be able to find the place safely. So I pack up my stuff, and I go to find the venue the night before my show to meet the owner. So many nerves had taken over once I got to Europe, it was like I was preforming for the very first time in my life jitters. Being in a foreign country, I didn't have any cell phone service at all, but  had to depend on rouge wifi ( Iater became a champ at guessing passwords ) so I didn't have a map or any gps system. Trying to be smart, i just took some photos of directions and maps then was on my way. 

Of course i got lost RIGHT AWAY! The very first street I stop on, I get lost and have no clue as to where I am or how to get back to where I was.  I wander for about 30 mins, asking people for directions who keep pointing me in the wrong way. It was hard enough to ask, "Hello sir do you know where the street "Roostenburrgerstraat is?" How you even proncouce that?!?! Most people didn't even know where the street was anyway I said it or showed them the photo of my map. 

Feeling so angry I stop and look up into the sky,  I could see the moon poking out of the heavy cloud that always hang out in Amsterdam. I was feeling defeated , lost , stupid, then I realized....YOUR STUPID RHIANA! Who CARES if you are lost? Who CARES that I have NO idea where I was...! I AM in EUROPE! The whole point is to see the place, what better way then to be lost. Instead of being lost, I started exploring. I stopped at ol Alby Henz got me some 50 cent beers, put some music on my iPhone and biked along singing. Suddenly, I noticed that there was a metro, and that this metro station had a map on it! I was saved!! I used these maps to eventually lead me to the place that I was going CCs Muzik Cafe. 

This whole journey had taken about 3 hours time to find so it was already about 2am when I got to the place and it was closed. My high spirits burst as soon as I realized that, still I  sulked over to the front door. A light inside me lit when i realized there were still lights on in the place! I knocked on the door.  My thoughts were " I didn't come THIS far to just turn around! I want to see this place, ask questions about the show tomorrow!" I knocked loudly again, this time I heard a voice 
"Hello, who is there"
"Its me Rhiana, I emailed you about coming to look at the place"
the door opens.
The owner Renee opens the door, a big stout man, with a gentle smile opens the door and welcomes me in. I tell him that I've been wondering lost for the last 3 hours, and he laughs at me. His girlfriend, (whose name slips my mind) was there as well behind the bar smiles and welcomes me as well. She is Italian and glad to hear that I am as well. (even though is may only be a mere 25%) He pours me a beer, a Heineken off of the tap. He tells me that this is where Heineken is made, and that this is the best place Ill ever have it. Boy was he right, it was quite delicious! The three of us chatted for a few hours, we talked about life , America, and Amsterdam, and of course about my show the next day. It was hours before I headed back home on my bike with a huge smile on my face.

Riding my bike through the streets , i knew them a little better now after having been lost on them for three hours. I found my way back home easily thankfully. There was such a beautiful acoustic through out Amsterdam because of the closeness of the buildings. I found myself singing softly and hearing such a lovely echo ,I continued on my bike ride singing the whole way home. When I heard someone yelling, telling me to wait for him. For some reason although it was about 430 in the morning, I wasn't afraid and I waited for him. He told me he had heard me singing while he was under the bridge and came after me to tell me he loved my singing. I thanked him, and gave him one of my cds. He thanked me whole heartily as if I had given him a thousand dollars. A cd for him!? We bid our goodbyes and I was on my way to my temporary home in Funen Park, Amsterdam. 

The next day was show day! I woke up in the afternoon, and went for a run around the city. Thankfully, I didn't get lost this time as I just ran in one direction and ran the same exact way to get back. I decided that these little daily runs would help me to get around the city a bit better. Allee and Jesse would be coming with me to the show that night, I was filled with excitement for them to share it with me, and because they would ensure I didn't get lost. 



The show went really well and though there weren't THAT many people, the people who were there enjoyed it. I played with two different acts , one acoustic set by a chap from London,Paul Murray  and another band a group of Italian guys called Boxerin Club . They smoked a lot and spoke a little English, we had a few laughs together and I called it a night. The next day I would be flying to Portugal. It was such an amazing feeling that just a week prior I had been at home working, now I was In Europe, where everyday there was something new and fun to look forward to doing.


Stat tuned for my next blog-- PORTUGAL!!  
 
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  1. The WKND

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