Saturday was Codarts’ “Big Day,” which is kind of like a collage concert, except it was a series of concerts that lasted the whole day. All the concert halls were totally booked with back-to-back performances from the classical, jazz, pop, world music, dance, and circus schools (now we can’t even say, “What is this, clown college?” when we get frustrated). Will had 2 chamber performances: one at 3 PM and another at 8:45 PM. His call time was at 12, and I had a meeting at 12:30 (more on that another post), so we ended up walking around the city center to kill time between activities.

Much more people bike, walk, and take public transport than drive, so as a pedestrian, you can be pretty brave crossing the street. Well, as long as you’re dealing with cars and not bikes. If you don’t yield to a bike, you’re dead. But drivers are really good at watching for people and they come to a stop quickly. I’m usually a pretty careful person, so at crosswalks I want the little light-up stick figure man on the sign to be green, not red, and I make sure no cars are trying to sneak through at the last minute. My husband is not like that. Usually he checks to see if it’s clear and marches decidedly across, regardless of the traffic signal (while I wait for it to turn green). When we meet back up, he says, “I’m very cavalier.”

Saturday, he decided it would be fun to, in his concert attire with his bass clarinet on his back, run across every crosswalk screaming.


Now, I’m not a big draw-lots-of-attention-to-yourself-in-public kind of person, and while this was happening all the Dutch people looked at him, and then at me, and then back at him like this:


One time we were walking and holding hands when he went into running-and-screaming mode, so I ended up walking/being dragged behind yelling, “Really?! Oh my GOSH.” Betcha don’t hear many “One time when we were walking and holding hands” stories end like THAT. I am rarely bored.

I enjoyed getting to go to the Big Day. The performances I heard were all pretty good. Will’s first performance was Pierrot lunaire, and for some reason people kept coming into the hall in the middle of movements and making lots of noise in general. The conductor stopped in the middle and told everyone that this is a difficult piece that requires a lot of concentration and if you can’t be quiet until the end, you should leave. Then this man in the audience immediately popped up and said, shaking his finger at the conductor, “But now we have more people inside!” The conductor then said, “That is not good,” turned around, and started the next movement. Oh, Dutch people.

I also got to meet some more of Will’s colleagues. I got some Dutch practice in, too, and I realized that now when I first meet people, I feel much less awkward speaking Dutch than when I speak English. Weird. I think it’s because in Dutch, I’m more limited in what I can say, but I know I have to practice, so I just blurt out as much as I possibly can. Also, I’ve learned that if I smile and try to make jokes, mistakes I might make with pronunciation or grammar are more likely to be overlooked.

I think that because English is my first language, I end up overthinking things when I’m trying to engage someone new. Would they think it would be funny if I said something about (subject)? Nah, I don’t know if that’s funny in (country)’s culture. Oh! I like their shoes, say something about that! Oh, they’re talking to someone else now… 

So then I end up standing there like this:


Zo gezellig!