Guitar music, heavy metal and construction noise

Guitar music, heavy metal and construction noise

A room of one’s own

22-11-2022 · Interview

Maja Kryjer (19) from Poland, a first-year bachelor’s student of Biomedical Sciences, pays 660 euros per month for a 16 m2 studio in Randwyck, Maastricht.

“The noise gets pretty crazy here. They started drilling at 7:00 AM today”, says Maja Kryjer. She lives in one of the six new blocks of ‘container homes’ in the Randwyck neighbourhood, which were hastily built this summer to prevent another student housing crisis in Maastricht. The housing block where she lives was completed on 1 September, but several others are still under construction. The path to the building looks like a construction site, including fences, construction equipment, and duckboards.

“But oh well”, shrugs Kryjer, “it’ll probably be over soon, when all the buildings are completed.” She’s just happy to have a roof over her head. She had never been to Maastricht before and didn’t know anyone here. From Poland, she and her father scoured the internet for a room this spring. “There wasn’t much choice. My father chose this from the limited options available, as the building is just a few minutes’ walk from my faculty. It’s a significant improvement over the hour it took me to get to my secondary school in Poland.”

The move was hectic. “This is the only housing block with unfurnished studio apartments. My father had missed that part; his English isn’t great. We had to rush to Ikea. It caused quite a bit of stress and additional costs.”

Introverted

The dust has settled by now. Kryjer doesn’t mind living alone. “I was already quite good at cooking. I was the only vegetarian in my family, so I frequently cooked my own food. I also keep my studio tidier than my room back home. I can’t just flee to another part of the house here, which forces me to keep things clean. Sometimes when I can’t stay focused during an online lecture, I’ll impulsively start cleaning.”

She has her own kitchen and bathroom, but she would’ve preferred to have “the real student experience” in a student house with shared facilities. Here, she only runs into her neighbours in the hallway or outside the building. “We’ll have a nice chat, but that’s usually it. Most people seem to have more friends than I do. But I’m pretty introverted, so I don’t mind. Having a few good friends is enough for me.”

Recording equipment

Finding those friends, however, also proved quite difficult. “I wanted to attend the introduction week, but it was sold out. My study programme also hasn’t given me a lot of opportunities to meet people; a lot of my lectures and tutorials so far have been online, partly due to public transport strikes. But things are better this course period, with more on-campus teaching.” She’s also meeting new people through a fellow Polish student who lives in the same building. “I overheard her speak Polish in the hallway, that’s how we met. We’ve become good friends.”

Still, she misses her friends back home. And her band, Lunescent, in which she plays bass guitar. “Our guitar player came up with that name; it means something like ‘scent of the moon’. We play progressive doom metal – quite niche”, she laughs. The band was formed only a few months before Kryjer left for Maastricht. They have plans to record an album and play live shows, but the distance makes it difficult. “My parents gave me recording equipment for my birthday, so I can record my parts from here.”

Wild mushrooms

Her band isn’t the only thing she misses about her life in Poland. “I miss my three cats. I’m not allowed to keep pets here. If I could, I would’ve bought rats. They’re intelligent, social creatures.” Dutch nature is also different from what she’s used to. She misses going for walks or runs in the vast forests, and the wild mushrooms. “Back home, I liked to pick mushrooms for dinner. There aren’t nearly as many mushrooms here, and I’ve only found poisonous varieties so far. People here seem to have a fear of eating wild mushrooms in general, even though the poisonous ones are quite easy to identify.”

But there is also one thing she doesn’t miss a bit – Polish politics. “There’s so much wrong with our politics, I don’t even know where to start. The Netherlands is a lot calmer in that respect.”

In the weekly series 'A room of one's own' Observant interviews students about their rooms, in their rooms. Are you interested to be interviewed for this series? Send a mail to [email protected]

Photo: Ellen Oosterhof

Categories: news_top, People
Tags: aroomofone'sown,randwyck,container homes,students,instagram

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