My 11-year old niece Olivia may be the happiest kid I know.
She bounces through life in high-topped basketball shoes, eager for the next adventure and unconcerned about any incidental slipups.
That’s because, for those occasions, she has crafted an alter-ego, Bolivia.
Bolivia popped up last September following an unfortunate incident at her father’s company.
“I was at my dad’s office and I dropped a ball and it bounced right into the printer,” she said. “My dad said, ‘Olivia why did you do that?’ and I said it wasn’t me, it was Bolivia.”
Just like that, the legend was born.
Who cut the center piece out of a heart-shaped cookie cake?
Who left wet towels on the bathroom floor?
Her stalwart companion shows up, “Whenever I get in trouble,” according to Olivia. “And sometimes I get away with it.”
Charmed by Olivia (as most people are), we sent her some Bolivia T-shirts to support her campaign.
In truth, she rarely needs to summon Bolivia. Unfailingly kind, she eagerly jumps in to play My Little Ponies with her youngest cousin, and sits through a 10-set a cappella concert to support one of her older cousins. She polkas with her uncle, waltzes with her grandma, and misses her big brother when he’s away at school.
Her full social calendar and active sporting life leave little time for mischief anyway. She plays basketball, volleyball and golf, likes to read and hang out with her friends.
She’ll smile when you meet her and you’ll want to be her friend.
Just remember, she’s kind of a big deal in Bolivia.