How Huize MAZE got through the lockdown
‘It’ll be weird not knowing exactly where everyone is’
Dirty laundry spills across the landing as journalism master student Nikki walks in and knocks over the hamper. After a long day of studying in the Noorderplantsoen, she’s finally home. The UB is still closed, but the park is a great alternative. By now it’s 8 p.m. and she’s exhausted. She can hear the bed in her sizeable room in all-girls house MAZE calling her name. But then she sees the lights are still on in her roommate An’s room, and she decides to drop in.
‘Come in!’ says An in a sing-song voice to her knock.
Walking in, Nikki sees her other roommates are in An’s room as well. Huize MAZE doesn’t have a common room, so people often hang out in Lisa’s or An’s rooms. The law and communication students, respectively, have the biggest rooms, which means they can accommodate all twelve girls at once.
Music plays on Kim’s wireless speaker. Tessa is French-brading Mila’s hair, Ines and Alexandra are scrolling through their Instagram feeds, and Boer zoekt vrouw is showing on the television. It’s Sunday night. Everyone is trying to watch the show, but they keep getting distracted by the chaos. It’s pandemonium.
Huize MAZE is a motley crew
‘Huize MAZE is a motley crew’, says Ines. ‘That’s what we tell people who come here to interview for a room.’ One thing this motley crew found out during the lockdown: they get along great and don’t need much in life to have fun.
The house itself is old, as evidenced by the crooked walls. Walking across the landing is disorienting, as though you might fall over at any moment. But it’s a student house; it’s part of the charm. Visitors will ask them why the house is called MAZE, to which they always say: ‘Just walk around the house for a while. It’s a complete maze.’
Even the people who live there get lost sometimes, especially when they’re tipsy. It’s no wonder, since the house has two front doors. What’s now one house used to be two. The landlord figured, ‘the more the merrier’, and made a door between the two houses. Now the residents can easily get from one side to the other. That’s nice, since they share two kitchens, showers, and toilets. Unfortunately, they can’t shower simultaneously. ‘It’s so annoying’, says Lisa. ‘But when one person is showering, the other only gets cold water.’ No one knows why this happens; even the landlord and the handyman are stumped.
Ezra and Esmee, social work students, and Eva, a student of forensic psychology, arrive home shortly after Nikki. The three of them were TAW – in-house lingo for ‘taking a walk’. They would sometimes TAW after dinner before the lockdown, but it’s become a tradition by now. They use the opportunity to talk and get some fresh air.
Ezra tries to open the door but can’t. The laundry hamper is blocking it once again. ‘Typical’, Esmee grumbles as she picks it up and flings it aside. The group chat says everyone is in An’s room, so they make a beeline for it.
The girls decided to stop by the supermarket for some late night snacks. ‘OMG, so good’, yells Nikki. Everyone is ecstatic when the chocolate comes out. How do you make the girls in Huize MAZE happy? Some chocolate, a box of candy, or some nice beer will do the trick, but they go nuts over a nice pearl barley salad they can eat in the Noorderplantsoen.
After the party, we could go straight to bed
The girls in Huize MAZE always got along, but the lockdown has only made them closer. Before corona, they would often attend festivals together and organise things like Christmas dinner and blind date nights. Now, they can’t do any of those things. Instead, they organised a small ‘home festival’ on King’s Day. ‘It turned out to be more fun than going to an actual festival’, says movement sciences student Mila. ‘And after the party, we could go straight to bed.’
They also organise a house weekend every year, or rather, two weekends: one with all the current roommates, and one with former roommates. That, too, has been cancelled. The girls are sad that they had to cancel all the house activities, but they’ve realised they don’t need them to have fun together. They do yoga together, TAW (while social distancing, of course), have a drink on their small roof terrace, or just hang out in each other’s rooms. Right now, it’s all they need in Huize MAZE.
Comfort teddy bear
Things in the house are running pretty smoothly. ‘There’s not a lot of drama, and we all support each other’, says business student Kimberly. There’s also a resident ‘comfort teddy bear’, for when someone isn’t doing so great. ‘It’s nice to come home and see that bear. It means people are thinking of you, and it kind of feels like we’re a family’, says Kimberly. Sure, the place could be cleaner, but it lends character to the house. ‘We all cleaned up during the quarantine, and now the house looks a lot better’, says psychology student Alexandra. It’s nice to have the house free of mice poop for a while.
We all cleaned up during the quarantine
Finally, human resource management student Myrthe stumbles in after her run. With the laundry hamper out of the way, she has a clear path to An’s room. Everyone in Huize MAZE is home.
It’s Sunday night, Boer zoekt vrouw is on, they have chocolate, and the neighbours are annoyed by their loud laughter and chatter. Corona has changed so much. They feel the changes inside MAZE, but at least the house is still the same. ‘Everyone feels safe and supported, no matter how different we might be’, says Ezra. ‘With so many people in the house there’s always someone home and our doors are always open. It’s nice to have that kind of security, especially since everything is so uncertain right now.’
Nevertheless, the girls are relieved that the lockdown might be ending soon. ‘It’ll be weird not knowing exactly where everyone is at all times’, says Alexandra. ‘They might be relaxing the rules, but the bonds in this house have been strengthened.’