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“Are you into drinking and being rowdy?”

“Are you into drinking and being rowdy?”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Observant

Professor Maria Jansen shares a meal with Christian association Lux ad Mosam

It takes a while for Professor Maria Jansen to find her way up to the students of Lux ad Mosam, who live above their clubhouse on the Bogaardenstraat. In the three years the students have lived there, the intercom has never worked. “That’s why we installed a normal bell”, says Nadine de Hoog. The problem is that it’s a black bell on a black wall, so finding it is no easy task.

Once inside, Jansen is invited to take a seat at the table. On tonight’s menu are wraps that everyone can fill as they like, with vegetables, cheese, salad and meat. “Not very culinary”, says Minke Janssen apologetically. “That’s what happens when there are so many of you.” The table is set for eleven. Jansen is not fazed: “I come from a family of twelve children. We all sat neatly in a row: father at the head of the table, next to him my mother, and then the children, from oldest to youngest.” A graduate of human nutrition, she has only good things to say about the food. “Delicious. And very responsible; whole grain wraps, legumes, some fat from the cheese.” The students give thanks before they eat – Lux ad Mosam is a Christian association. Janneke Schouten takes the lead: “Lord, bless this food. Thank you for giving us a good day and a nice evening.”

De Hoog says her mother comes from a family of thirteen. “She always had to clean all the shoes. Did you have a special chore?” Jansen nods. “I had to vacuum the kitchen and the living room every morning before I went to school.” She talks about her own family with three children, and how she only began her PhD later in life. “I didn’t follow a strictly planned career path; I just let life take its course.” Things are very different these days, observes Janssen, a medical student. “I recently went to a career day and it was all spelt out very concretely: at this age you do this, at that age you do that. They even talked about when you should start having children.”

Schouten asks if it was difficult for Jansen to do her PhD part time. “That’s what I wanted, so it worked. That’s my motto. Sometimes I think young people today are too pampered, don’t you?” The students are not entirely in agreement, especially since the scrapping of the basic grant. “My degree is going to take seven years because my board work,” says De Hoog, “but I’ll be paying for it myself.”

The conversation turns to mice. Schouten: “It’s an old house, so they’re hard to get rid of.” By way of precaution, the food is wrapped up immediately. Then De Hoog tells a story about a large rat that was found downstairs. “Luckily we all live upstairs; they don’t get up there so easily.” When she starts describing in graphic detail the skull fracture that led to the beast’s ultimate demise, cries of protest come from the other end of the table. “Hey, people are eating here!”

“So are you all into drinking and being rowdy?” Jansen asks. “Yesterday we were”, chuckles Jeffrey Naaijen. “Yesterday was cantus.” According to Schouten, however, “things never get properly out of hand. Someone might slink away really sloshed now and then, but that’s not the norm.” De Hoog: “Compared to other associations we’re pretty well-behaved. Don’t write that down!” This weekend the entire club is going camping, where the new students will be hazed. “What kind of crazy things does that involve?” Jansen asks. The first-years at the table prick up their ears: “Good that you’re here!” De Hoog: “An initiation is no walk in the park, but we do treat people just as we normally would.” Schouten: “It’s never aimed at the person, we don’t get verbally abusive.”

“Do you believe in God?” De Hoog asks Jansen. “I find norms and values very important, but I’m not really religious. When I was young we had to go to church, twice on Sundays and every morning at 7 am during Lent and Advent. It was boring. The Mass was in Latin, so it didn’t mean much to us, and the preaching wasn’t particularly exciting or inspiring. But it was mindful – you had time to reflect. Do you all go to church every week?” It differs per member, Naaijen explains. “We all come from different backgrounds, from Catholic to strictly Reformed.” Others come into contact with Christianity only during their time at university. “Everyone expresses their faith in their own way, be it in church or elsewhere.”

The dessert comes around: Greek yoghurt with walnuts and honey. “Again so healthy”, Jansen says. Naaijen laughs. “My mother still thinks I eat pizza every night.” Jansen: “Maybe you should send her a photo every now and then.”

 

Maria Jansen * 60 * endowed professor of Population Health Policy * married, three children * lives in Eijsden

Minke Janssen * Anne Smit * Anna Wagner *Robbert van de Riet *Jeffrey Naaijen * Nadine de Hoog * Janneke Schouten * Stephen Smith * Channah Barneveld

Scores (up to 5 stars) given by the guest, professor Jansen:

Hospitality: 5 stars

Food: 5 stars

Cleanliness: 4 stars (“Especially for a student house. You should have seen the places my kids lived!”)

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