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Cultural Column: Olivia Howey

September 22, 2017

Lily Guillen / The Courier

Tucked in between Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Serbia is Romania, the seventh most-populous nation in the European Union. For your average American, there really isn’t much reason to think of the former Warsaw nation. It isn’t a nation often found in American news, and there isn’t much focus on the nation in the West. But Romania holds a special place in the heart of junior Olivia Howey, considering that it’s her home. To be specific, her home is in Râ?nov, Romania. Home of, according to Howey, “Prince Vlad III, better known as Dracula or Vlad the Impaler.” I got the chance to chat with her about where she is from and got to hear a little bit about what she loves most about where she comes from.

Almost immediately, Olivia started reminiscing about the scenery. One of her favorite things about Romania is the blend between urban and more natural environments. She grew up in a more urban area, so I asked for a little more, hoping to get a better picture of what Romania is like, and boy did she deliver. Thinking about her childhood, she told me:

“When I was younger and my family lived in an apartment in the city, my dad used to take me out to play in parks by the foot of the mountain. But, as soon as the sun would set, he would hurry me off of the playground equipment, warning me that the bears would be coming down the mountain soon to rummage through the trash bins, so we had to go.”

I can’t say I would particularly enjoy the thought of bears mucking about my trash, but Olivia seemed to really enjoy it. It’s so easy to talk about what Americans might get from Olivia or what we could learn. But I found myself much more interested in what Olivia got from Romania, not what we get from Olivia. Needless to say, she loves Romania. In her own words, “I love the sense of adventure every day, there’s always something to do and someone interesting to meet, even just people watching or something in the old city center. It’s a very different life than my life here in Monmouth.”

For her, being from Romania isn’t just some bonus that makes the campus richer, nor is it some number to slap on a brochure touting the diversity of the campus. It’s a home to talk about, go back to, and be proud of. There is something undeniably magical about the way a Scot’s face lights up when they get to talk about home is, whatever that means for them. In that sense, Olivia isn’t much different.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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