Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts
MAASTRICHT. They were busy preparing for their Secret Santa – drawing lots and planning ‘pakjesavond’ as one does for the Dutch Sinterklaas – when the group of exchange students on the fourth floor of the Guesthouse on the Brouwersweg suddenly felt the need for a real Christmas tree. Priyanka Kanthan, Ilesha Bapat (both from Australia), Francesca Palmiotto Ettore, Sara Vetulli (both from Italy), and David Ƈevnik and Martin Fric (both from the Czech Republic) came to the conclusion that the small plastic one adorning their table was not doing it. But how to get a tree? Buy one? No. Chopping one down was out of the question; so it was time for some DIY. Many ‘make your own tree’ ideas were found using Google, but they liked the one from old newspapers best. So, now there is a real Observant Christmas tree in the communal space, with a star on top. “The making of the tree is one of my best memories,” says Palmiotto Ettore who received immediate support. They feel like a real family, they say. So real that the Australians are going to celebrate Christmas with their Italian friends in Turin, and then travel to the Czech Republic for New Year’s Eve.