RUSSIA THROUGH THE EYES OF A NATIVE
On Tuesday, Mar. 2, Eastern New Mexico University kicked off Women’s History Month with a presentation about Russia from Dr. Olga Gould.
Gould, an assistant professor of reading at ENMU, is a native of Russia; in the presentation, she described her life and family growing there. She also went in depth about the immense art and culture in Russia, and the importance it has played in her life. Gould also showed pictures and discussed two of Russia’s most famous cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Gould began her presentation with discussion about how Russia is covered on the news here in the United States, and said that it is “not how she views it.”
“The world is big, diverse, and beautiful,” Gould stated.
However, she grew up not having the opportunity to see it yet; she was born in a small town outside of Moscow, the capital city of Russia. Being this close to the city she was able to visit the city when she was young; she also often visited St. Petersburg, because her father’s family was from that area.
As Gould grew up, education played a large part of her life; in her family, she said there are 37 Doctors of Medicine and many other respectable fields, including education and the arts. The reason education is so important in her family, is because they are members of a church where a priest will only bless a marriage between two people if both have already completed their education.
During the summer holidays, her parents would organize an “intensive” exploration of the arts Gould said, it was “very intense, really.” She visited museums and other historical location to admire the beauty of ancient Russian architecture. She also mentioned that she loves ballet, from watching and listening to the performance to learning about the composers and performers. She added that she “gives the credit to her parents and family” for introducing her to the arts at a young age.
Gould also discussed the history of St. Petersburg, she mentioned that her ancestors were there before the city was even built. She showed pictures of the city and felt that it “could be beautiful in any season,” but said it is very beautiful covered in snow.
She also talked about her love for Moscow, and how she will always “cherish” her memories of the theatre and arts scene there.
She ended her presentation by showing her a prerecorded video of herself singing a song called “Maple Tree” in English. The song is a Russian folk song about a man who compares himself to a maple tree that has lost its’ leaves. While she was singing in the video, she showed her collection of scarves that she called “wearable art.” All of the scarves were hand painted, which is part of an old Russian tradition.
After that, she answered questions from the audience; she said that her best memories of Russia are connected to her father, because he worked hard to give her a “fairytale” life. Gould also added that some of the “most enchanting moments of her life” come from seeing the beauty of her country.
Gould also talked about the beauty of New Mexico compared to that of Russia, and said “look at through the eyes of someone” who has never been here or seen anything like it.