Street: We hear you had a pretty unique abroad experience. What happened?
Olivia Route: I studied abroad in Ukraine. It was amazing. I didn’t get to stay there very long, because of the war...They just bounced me around a little bit. I took this abroad “buffet tour” kind of thing. I went to a lot of meat and potatoes kind of countries.
OR: Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia...To this day I’m not really sure why we moved to Georgia. We just went to Moldova briefly. The president [of Ukraine] fled, and so we went to Moldova for a week while the government settled down. It’s absurd.
Street: And you’re a Russian major? What got you into that?
OR: In middle school, I was taking a drama class that I really didn’t like and I was like, “Please, switch me out of this, anything is better.” And they switched me into Russian.
Street: Do you want to go back that area of the world?
OR: Definitely. I’m actually trying to get back next year, if at all possible. I may end up trying to do something to make money instead...but it would be nice to go back and really get language skills solidified and get work experience in the region.
Street: What would you do there?
OR: I’d like to be an aid worker for children. There are a lot of displaced kids and refugee kids, in the post-Soviet world in general.
Street: Now that you’re back, what’s on your Penn bucket list?
OR: I wouldn’t like this, but I haven’t pulled an all nighter yet and I feel like that’s a very college thing to do. Actually...coming out of undergraduate being like “I never pulled an all nighter” would be nice too.
Street: What’s your favorite Penn Quest moment?
OR: When you see a freshman decide they’re comfortable. A lot of them come in and you can see them freaking out and watching everyone else and, I don’t know, there’s this moment...When you can see it, it’s the best thing ever.
Street: When did you have that moment as a freshman?
OR: We take these buses out to our trail sites, and the leaders stand at the front and lead really loud songs and everyone bounces around and screams. I got caught up in it...and just decided it didn’t matter who was looking at me funny or anything.
Street: If Penn Quest had a mascot, what would it be?
OR: A bear, definitely. Black bear. They’re the most fierce.
Street: Tell us about Bloomers.
OR: It’s all female musical sketch comedy on campus. It’s kind of SNL-esque.
Street: Do you have any fun Bloomers’ traditions?
OR: Yeah, yeah we do. Some of them are a little inappropriate...mostly just chants and stuff. We eat a lot of cookies.
Street: What’s your favorite character you’ve played?
OR: I’ve actually been a dinosaur a lot. Which is not so much a character, you don’t really have to do very much for it. Just put on the head. But I was a dinosaur in a show my freshman year, and the head has been back in probably every show since. At this point it’s kind of a punchline in our shows.
Street: So you’re strutting down locust—which song are you listening to?
OR: Hall and Oates—"You Make My Dreams Come True."
Street: If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be?
OR: I want to get a drink with a generation above the generation I’ve met in my family...I had a great-grandma who ran a farm entirely by herself.
Street: What’s your secret to a good hair day?
OR: I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s really hit or miss. I can do the same exact thing that I’ve done today and be like “Yes, today is the day!” and then it’s horrendous and I just put it in a bun and cry a little.
Street: Who’s your current celebrity crush?
OR: Matt Damon... I like him in the "Oceans" series and obviously "Bourne." He’s just such a cool guy and is always trying to help humanity out. And he’s cute, so cute.
Street: What’s your guilty pleasure?
OR: Chocolate! Chocolate and reruns of "The Office" on Netflix.
Street: What is your spirit animal?
OR: An arctic fox.
Street: If you are what you eat, what are you?
OR: Quinoa stir–fry with mushrooms, carrots, peas and maybe some tofu if I’m getting feisty.
Street: Are you a vegetarian?
OR: Yes, unfortunately...Meat is so wonderful.
Street: So...why are you a vegetarian?
OR: Cooking meat just freaks me out...I do it because it makes me feel better.
Street: What was the first concert you ever went to?
OR: A capella as a kid.
Street: What’s the best thing you’ve ever found in a thrift store?
OR: These clogs! Clogs are popular in Alaska... I don’t know where it came from but lots and lots of people wear them. The cool thing at my high school was to wear clogs with your jeans cuffed.
Street: What’s the weather like at home?
OR: Where I live, Anchorage, isn’t so bad. Probably, in an average winter, the worst it’s probably is –5 or –10 (Ed. note: BRR!) But there’s always the wind chill factor...We have a couple of days of 80 every year...People lie on their lawns under their sprinklers. Or sometimes it just rains all summer.
Street: Can you tell us a joke?
OR: A man walks into a bar—ouch.