News - January 17, 2013

With a view to a room

Resource follows fro now the experiences in the Mortierstraat 14B, a student house in Wageningen


 A soggy veggie burger sits on her plate next to slimy green endives. 'Welcome to Grand CafĂ© Forum,' thinks Vera. She prods her food with her fork and sighs. This was a big mistake. She would have been better off going to Passantje; at least that's close to the Mortierstraat where she is about to be interviewed for a room in a student house.  
Five minutes later she is on her bike cycling to the town centre and feeling incredibly nervous. This is already the tenth attempt to find a room - might she be successful this time? She actually got lucky straight off the first time, about a year ago. They offered her a damp cubbyhole measuring ten square metres, but she wasn't prepared to leave her parents' home for that. Now she would be delighted with that offer.
Every time she has one of these interviews, she feels humiliated. The worst was when she sat in a room full of boys leering at her who asked whether she could clean the loo for them. Thinking back to that makes her blood boil. The last time she had a really great evening but still wasn't chosen. Why? Perhaps it's that stupid village she comes from. Saying 'I still live with my parents' sounds rather pathetic when you're 20. Or perhaps she was too shy again.
By the time Vera enters the kitchen she is feeling hot and bothered. Bianca, the girl who let her in, babbles non-stop in a raucous voice. A smartass with a mobile is sitting on the sofa, a beer in his hand.
'We're getting swamped by boring wannabe lodgers,' he says, with a glazed look at Vera. Vera already hates him with a vengeance. Bianca takes her up the steep stairs to the stuffy attic room. To think she is having to beg for this.
'We'll go down and give you a quick interview so we can get to know you and all that,' announces Bianca. Oh joy.
The conversation in the living room starts awkwardly but goes reasonably well. Until the smartass on the sofa sneers: 'So you still live with your parents?' Vera nods stiffly. Here we go again, she thinks. She might as well leave now.
'Do you think you'll be able to cope in this huge, scary house?' His flatmates all snigger. That's the last straw.
'Oh, shut up! This is a really crappy house with a tiny crappy room. Perhaps I'm just about crap enough to live here too.' There's a moment of silence - then Bianca and the others start to laugh. The smartass is lost for words.
Bianca calls the next day: Vera can have the room if she wants it. They like her sense of humour.