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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

S&B Cribs: Moon Signs on Main Street

Andrea+Baumgartel+19%2C+Caroline+Loftus+20+and+Lizzy+Rabchuk+19+in+Baumgartel+and+Rabchuk%E2%80%99s+apartment.+%0APhoto+by+Liz+Paik.+
Andrea Baumgartel ’19, Caroline Loftus ’20 and Lizzy Rabchuk ’19 in Baumgartel and Rabchuk’s apartment. Photo by Liz Paik.

By Monserrat Castro Gomez 
castromo@grinnell.edu

Apartment One of 916 ½  Main Street is the residence of Lizzy Rabchuk and Andrea Baumgartel, both ’19. Considered to be a movie house and a fairy house by its inhabitants, the apartment is a creative, warm and welcoming space. The walls have paintings left behind from previous owners, as well as drawings from the current residents (such as a huge blue hand giving the middle finger, random chalk stains and poetic phrases).

“We draw on the walls, because our landlord never comes. He doesn’t care,” said Rabchuk.

The living room is the center of the apartment. Between two sofas, there is a table full of books, crafts, random silverware, and plants, as well as a pot containing a completely dead plant.

“This is our ash plant,” said Baumgartel. “We keep it for aesthetic and utilitarian purposes. It is a mixture of decomposing plant, apple cores and ash. There’s some paper in there, I think.”

“It’s a representation of, like, my innermost self. Decomposing and ashy,” Rabchuk said.

Their favorite part about living together is that they are never lonely. They have debriefings after particularly hard days. They both share an interest in art, astrology, crafts and ego-death.

“My favorite part about living with Lizzy is … so, we have the same moon sign, essentially, so we really understand each other on a deep emotional level. I’m completely serious,” Baumgartel said.

“It’s like having a second brain that I can think through,” Rabchuk said.

The two friends met each other the first day of first year and have been friends ever since. “I honestly don’t even remember our first interaction, I feel like Lizzy was just a part of my life since, like, day one,” Baumgartel said.

After trying to live in a Cowles apartment, which in the end did not work out, they finally decided to live together off-campus and wrote a frantic application right before the deadline.

Their decision was mainly based on the ability to be outside of the Grinnell bubble that is provided by living off-campus. They particularly enjoy the trip to campus in the mornings. They both own scooters, so they scooter together to their 8 a.m. classes on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“It’s actually kind of nice, the actual time to walk, because you just get to think, and we complain about existential problems,” Baumgartel said.

“Yeah, it’s a nice way to transition into the day. Instead of having, like, a two-minute dash to class, it’s a ten-minute long walk,” Rabchuk said.

They both agree that living off-campus feels for them like a preparation for life after college. “Fourth year is definitely a time when you’re like, ‘I’m on the brink. Here we go.’ And that’s how it’s supposed to be,” Baumgartel said.

“I think that living in an apartment has pushed it further towards the precipice, whereas if we

 were living in dorms we would still be caught up in Grinnell,” Rabchuk said.

Baumgartel describes living downtown as “fun and funky.” “There are so many cool things always happening downtown, and you just see so many things happening. I feel like a snoopy eavesdropper. I just crack the window open and get to listen to things happening on the street that you wouldn’t hear about or see when you’re living in school,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s not fun and funky, like when I’m walking home and get cat-called from trucks and stuff, but that’s part of life. Small-town Midwest,” Rabchuk said.

They mention that one of the disadvantages of living together is the mess. “Well, Andrea’s messy, I’m also messy, and so then our messes like compound, and it just gets worse,” Rabchuk said.

However, there are sometimes advantages. “I think Lizzy definitely made me aware of some things I do that I never realized that I did, so it’s made me more self aware,” Baumgartel said.

They describe the apartment as a very judgement-free zone with a caring and open vibe. They stopped leaving their door unlocked recently due to an assault incident that happened on campus, but some of their friends have keys in case they want to spend time away from campus. Whenever they have some free time, they’ll invite people over to sit and talk in their apartment.

“Whenever anyone comes over, I give them floss,” Baumgartel said. “Especially on the weekends it’s like ‘have some wine, have some floss’ and we just kind of sit here and talk and floss, and it’s kind of wholesome.”

Andrea Baumgartel ’19, Caroline Loftus ’20 and Lizzy Rabchuk ’19 in Baumgartel and Rabchuk’s apartment.
Photo by Liz Paik.
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