Olivia Maria Hărşan











Exorcising and Identity
Olivia Maria Hărşan

Fragments of innocence

Memories of my grandfather’s farm: Ajax the Great Dane weaving through the sheep.
My pets are two ducklings.
They follow me everywhere until one day they disappear.
I feel betrayed: No one or thing wants to stay small like me.

Even Enikő from next door starts to play with older children.
Between washed-out, green walls, I watch my mother and grandparents glaring at a small screen, resembling statues. Inside the square box is a man with grey hair, stuttering declarations to a mass crowd.
On Christmas Eve, Ceausescu and his wife will be executed.


They replace a communist leader with another communist leader.
No future here. Daddy leaves for work in Germany. Eight months pass.
Three years old and on my mother’s hip, I depart from all I know:
Anton Pann Street, Sighisoara.
I watch the man throw our mustard yellow suitcase into a compartment under the bus.
Grandma holds me tight in her arms, crying. It will be 5 years until we reunite.
But I know we are going to see daddy.

The Great Hungarian Plain, Vienna, Nuremberg Bus Station

A man runs over and embraces mum and I. I had forgotten what my dad looked like.
In November I am exposed to an unknown world.
Foreign heat, strange speech.
This is a dream. No, this is a nightmare.
This is our home now

Fear of the unknown


‘Where are you from again, Rome?’
‘Oh, Armenia! Where is that again?’


‘Your parents sound funny. Where are you from?’

Kindergarten in Preston
Sisi was from China
Rochelle was from Somalia


I returned to Romania at 14.
Home: Neither here nor there.

Olivia Maria Hărşan is a freelance writer and Masters candidate at La Trobe University in Melbourne. She has written for a number of academic journals and publications including Screening the Past, Senses of Cinema and Screen Education. Most recently, Olivia presented at Gothic Migrations conference in Vancouver. She is head of PR & Publicity for The Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia and composes and manages the Triple R ad campaigns for the Melbourne Cinémathèque. She updates her thought processes on her blog thecinemaofeasterneurope.blogspot.com