Photo courtesy of Nicholas Olson
Junior Biology major Nicholas Olson finds peace in both the world around him and the people in it.
He finds peace in such varied locations as crowded cafes, Malibu canyons, hanging out at the beach or outdoors looking at the stars. But spending time with his girlfriend, Valentina Monteagudo, who he met while studying abroad in Buenos Aires, brings him the most tranquility.
“There’s a lot of times where we’re together, and things just kind of like, slow down, and in a way, it seems like we almost separate from the reality that’s going on around us,” Olson said.
Monteagudo lives in Argentina, which can make seeing each other difficult, Olson said. Monteagudo is friends with a lot of the students in the program, and she and Olson began dating while he was abroad in Fall 2019. COVID-19 restrictions have made international travel more difficult. While Olson cannot visit his girlfriend, she was able to visit him over winter break.
“Thank God we live in today’s times [where] we have FaceTime and like Snapchat so we can talk a lot, even if we can’t be like, physically next to each other talking, which is so crucial, just so we can remain in contact,” Olson said.
Something Olson said he has struggled with is seeing other couples who live near each other and are able to spend time together often and enjoy going out on conventional dates with each other.
“You can kind of make up for it when you’re together,” Olson said. “You can kind of jam pack them all in, and it makes, in a lot of ways, a lot of those moments more special because you realize that each time you’re together you only have another week or like another month.”
When they are apart, Olson said he and Monteagudo find ways to talk to each other nearly every day. They connect with each other through online games such as Mario Kart or by watching movies together using the Netflix Watch Party app. These virtual interactions help them stay close emotionally when they are physically far apart.
Olson said being long distance makes him and Monteagudo lose out on a lot of time that could be spent together. It is important for him to make the most out of each moment with her.
“You have to be way more intentional with what you do when you’re together because you don’t have an endless amount of time to do things,” Olson said.
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