Okay, so here’s my outside outfit: two pairs of tights, one pair of socks and another pair of very long wooly socks over those. Then a pair of thick corduroy pants. Also one long sleeve t-shirt, one short sleeve t-shirt, a thin wool sweater, a cashmere cardigan, another pullover cashmere sweater. A very long wool scarf, wrapped around my neck five times. An awesome thin hat, specially made to be worn under bike helmets made by Pilot Rider in Vancouver (go, Greg!). Over that, another hat with ear flaps, wool, lined with fleece. On the hands, one pair of cashmere gloves and over them another pair of wool gloves. Oh, and to top it all off: a down jacket, big sunglasses and boots. This seems like a lot of clothes to me but within half an hour of walking or riding around my feet are freezing and the rest is barely hanging in there. I’m going to have to ask Joel about this. Joel runs Blaak10 Gallery and he knows the answer to every question we have about Holland. If you have any suggestions, I’ll take those too.
Today we toured Cool with Freek Homan, a project leader at Sonor, a community agency that is helping with youth recruitment for The Sound We See: Rotterdam. Not just a state of being, Cool is the neighborhood in Central Rotterdam where many of our potential students live and also where WORM, the workshop site, is located. Freek’s been a community activist here for decades and he brings the history of the neighborhood alive, from its origins as a hangout for sailors and other “outsiders” going back 400 years, through its transition from a “hot spot” of drugs and prostitution in the 70’s into an ethnically diverse neighborhood of affordable housing, community centers and museums, to the current inklings of gentrification. Good things to know: the supermarket is the true egalitarian neighborhood meeting place, public art keeps communities safe and engaged, gay nightclubs and elementary schools can co-exist, and everyone is happier when parking lots give way to public plazas. Freek is Cool.