Community Stories

A visionary note from our HORA Board President, Cleopatra (“Cleo”) Cabuz

I feel honored and excited for being elected the President of HORA.

HORA has filled a gap in the landscape of the Romanian Community in Minnesota, and demonstrated, over its short 5 years of existence, the capacity to deliver on ambitious projects.

I want to congratulate former President Monica Erickson, the Board and the many HORA members, volunteers and sponsors for the remarkable accomplishments of the last two years: the 1000 Dollars and Back Documentary, the Romanian Language Classes, the highly successful Gala Event, and many cultural and social events.

I look forward for taking on new challenges and realizing new aspirations: maybe together we can create a small Museum of Romanian History in Minnesota, maybe establish a Romanian Community Center…

Join me in making Minnesota a most wonderful home for the Romanian community!

Here are just a few of you who are already doing just that.

Alvin Alexsi Currier

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Forever a seeker, adventurer, author, artist, illustrator, historian, and amateur Anthropologist.

He’s most widely known for his children’s books and his passionate fascination with Eastern Orthodox European history, folklore, customs, and traditions. He is also recognized as an artist and illustrator. Born in 1932 in Minneapolis, he studied at Macalester College, Union Theological Seminary, and the Free University of Berlin. Ordained a Presbyterian pastor in 1956, he served for 35 years that included an exchange pastorate in Germany, and 11 years as a College Chaplain. Finding his spiritual roots in the ancient Eastern tradition, after retirement in 1991 he was received as a layman in the Orthodox Church. For the next 15 years he and his wife Anastasia supported themselves by arranging European tours and pilgrimages. This vocation allowed them to travel widely in the Orthodox world. They now live in retirement in Cumberland, Wisconsin.

The hidden valley of Maramures stretches for sixty miles through a fold in the rugged Carpathian Mountains of Romania along the Ukrainian border. Nestled among its rolling hills the village of Ieud spreads out along a mountain stream for nearly four miles. Population in the village is reckoned by counting the columns of smoke rising in the icy winter air. With five or six people huddled around each warm hearth, five hundred columns suggests that the village numbers around 3000 people.

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Valer Popa

Creative Writing MFA Program in English Literature at Cornell University

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Originally from Bucharest, Romania, Valer immigrated to Minnesota with his parents, Gina and Laurentiu Popa, in 1995. His passion for literature and storytelling began at a very young age, a passion he describes in heart-warming detail below.

When I was four years old, I discovered a taste for telling stories to an empty room. Back then, when we still lived in Bucharest, in the Drumul Taberei district, all I needed was a bit of open space, somewhere where no one could see me, where I could run endlessly in circles and leave behind little mists of spit – my lips trying tirelessly to mimic the sound of spinning helicopter blades and airplane propellers. For some reason, my stories could only be told in this way, because only in this way could they materialize, like films, inside my mind. Plot lines, characters, and intricate action scenes were always clearest to me as I jumped over toys and furniture, or as I dove, head-first, into a couch – enacting some catastrophic explosion that marked the climax of an epic melodrama. Three years later, when we moved to Minnesota, I learned to tell my stories in English (or at least what I felt sounded like English). Suddenly, they seemed more important when told in this other language. I almost felt responsible for them. I felt the need to improve them, to make them better and this brought along a new kind of pleasure, one I hadn’t experienced before. “Boy,” I’d say, pausing in the middle of a big scene to catch my breath, “I could totally do this for the rest of my life.”

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