“My morning coffee is very important to me”

“My morning coffee is very important to me”

Series: A room of one's own

06-03-2023 · Interview

Tsveti Ivanova (24, from Bulgaria), a master’s student in European Law School, lives in a studio apartment in the Wyck neighbourhood. She spends €760 per month on rent, excluding utilities.

Tsveti Ivanova doesn’t know the exact size of her studio apartment in square metres, but the kitchen and living area is large enough to house a sofa, a dining table with four chairs, and a small desk. An arch leads to the bedroom, with enough space for a double bed with storage drawers and two wardrobes. And a huge swing seat – a chair connected to a frame with a chain. “I’ll eventually put it outside”, says Ivanova. She points out her bedroom window, where a small set of stairs leads down to a small outdoor space. She started fixing it up last summer, but she’s not quite finished yet. There’s an outdoor furniture set covered with tarpaulin, with empty planters next to it. “I also have solar-powered lights.”

€760 for an apartment like this in Maastricht is a pretty good deal, but it’s still a high rent for a student. How can she afford it? “I work at least twenty hours per week at the university library.” She works as a library student, reshelving books and staffing the service desk, and also at PeerPoint, “a peer-to-peer service students can turn to with questions about research – literature searching, methodology, writing style, and so on.” It’s interesting work, she says. “I like research. I’ve thought about doing a PhD after getting my master’s degree.”

Robot vacuum

Like most of the students interviewed for this series, Ivanova does not have a television. “You really don’t need a TV these days. Maybe if you have a PlayStation.” She goes to one of the wardrobes in the bedroom and pulls out a bag with a projector in it. “This is much more convenient. I can connect it to my laptop and project the image onto any wall.”

And there are more gadgets in the house. A robot vacuum is sitting in the corner of the bedroom, charging. “I hate cleaning”, laughs Ivanova. Her apartment is clean and tidy today, though. Is that because Observant was coming over? “I’ve kept it clean all week”, she says proudly. “I’m trying to make it a habit.” Her home doesn’t have to be spotless, but she won’t let it descend into chaos and mess, either. Her first house in Maastricht had mice, she says. It was one of the reasons why she wanted to get a place of her own. “And because I like the peace and quiet when I come home, getting to switch off for a bit. In a student house, there’s always noise and activity around you.”

Stereotype

On the kitchen table are several bags of protein powder. “I’ve been frequenting the gym lately. At least three times per week, sometimes even five. I actively played volleyball and tennis in secondary school. I quit when I moved to Maastricht, but exercise is important to me.”

Is it because she wants to stay in shape? After all, you could interpret the large mirror in the bedroom as a sign that Ivanova may be a little vain. Not really, she says – it’s a stereotype that Eastern European women are always well dressed and wearing a full face of make-up. Yes, she is wearing a nice outfit and some make-up today, and she has done her hair, “but I regularly go outside without make-up and with my hair in a bun. And my friends see me in my sweatpants, too.”

Morning coffee

The small kitchen boasts an electric stove and an oven. “I like to cook, although I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve been buying ready-made meals or salads more often. It’s just quicker.” On the worktop sits a rather fancy coffee machine. “I drink about two cups of coffee per day. My morning coffee is very important to me.” It needs to have a lot of caffeine, she says, “or it’ll be a shitty day. I like to take my time waking up in the morning – having a leisurely shower and breakfast.”

Author: Yuri Meesen

Photo: Ellen Oosterhof

Categories: People
Tags: aroomofone'sown,student room,peerpoint,instagram

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