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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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S&B Cribs: “La Casa Matta”

A short walk south from campus and across Sixth Avenue takes one from the Burling Library to High Street. Situated amid the contrast of weekday studying at Burling and weekend High Street partying, “La Casa Matta,” 1021 High Street, the home of Mithila Iyer, Sofia Mendez, Vivien Makos, Mariam Nadiradze and Ana Segebre, currently studying abroad, all ’19.

Tinged in beige and brown, La Casa Matta stands out from the other houses on High Street due to its comparatively small size and proximity to campus. With walls of vibrant red, purple, green and more within — upon which hang several artworks created by Mendez — the house of these fourth-years produces a warm, artistic feel.

“A good friend of mine lived here last year, and I thought it was a really cute house when I visited,” said Iyer. “I think, you [the other housemates] can also speak for this, it is very close to campus as it is right across the Burling, Bucksbaum. I do a lot of theater, Sofi [Mendez] does a lot of art.”

“And I am an art history major,” Makos said. Nadiradze, despite being a computer science major, also agreed with the others on the benefit of living so close to campus by citing a relatively close distance to the Noyce Science Center.

Regarding their reasons behind choosing to live off-campus for their last year at the College, the housemates had their own unique reasons, one of which was the money saved not paying room and board.

“I moved here because I wanted to move in with my friends, but also, my family wanted to save some money,” Makos said. “It is much cheaper to live here; I have saved my family about a thousand dollars just by living here for a semester, and that was very important to them.”

“Even by cooking for yourself, you save so much money,” Nadiradze said. “Plus, the whole cooking-for-yourself is just, like, very good or very frustrating.”

For other house residents, the draw of communal spaces filled with friends was an important reason to venture out of dorm living for their final year.

“I really like having common spaces, the living room and the kitchen,” Mendez said. “In dorms, you are in your room, and I like having spaces where you can hang out and work.” 

“Something that I also like is that senior year is a really stressful time, all across the board,” added Iyer. “Coming home at the end of the day and seeing these good, comforting faces can be really nice.” 

Living off-campus has provided the house mates with a taste of what awaits them in the world post-graduation. 

“Backpacking off of that, as a senior, it’s really nice to have your first experience in living in your own place with multiple roommates before you go off and potentially have to do that in a bigger city or a smaller living situation,” Makos said. “It has really taught me about myself and what my pet peeves are, and what I should look for a roommate in the future.” 

However, moving off campus also comes with a cost; in fact, it is called “La Casa Matta” or “the crazy house” in Italian, for a reason. In preparation for settling into the house, several exterminator visits were needed to deal with a cockroach infestation. Mendez, who had stayed in the house for the summer, gave the house the name in honor of this and other initial house mishaps. 

“We found a bat!” Iyer recounted.

When students consider moving off-campus, there are often these unexpected costs that pop up that were not previously responsibilities of students living on-campus, such as cleaning supplies and furniture. 

“The con of moving into a house is the prep of it,” Makos said. “I’d say that anyone considering living in a house should think about what is something that the entire house might generally need that you are going to have to pitch in for.”

All housemates of “La Casa Matta” have not only been close friends since their first year but also have had experiences of living together in previous years. Their chemistry helps create a sense of community and enjoy doing things together. 

“We try to do meals together every once in a while,” Mendez said. “We also watch movies and shows together. ‘La Casa de Las Flores;’ it’s a Netflix show.”

With several months remaining in their life at Grinnell, the residents of “La Casa Matta” are looking forward to more memories to come. 

The housemates of “La Casa Matta” gather on their porch. From left to right: Sofia Mendez, Mariam Nadiradze,Vivien Makos and Mithila Iyer, all ’19. Not pictured, Ana Segebre ’19.
Photo by Tommy Lee
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