My surname is Romanian (my paternal great-grandparents emigrated to Ohio from Beclean, Romania) and the first vowel is the same vowel as in father (=PALM). Plenty of people use the vowel in TRAP (or BAN, if you like), and that's just fine with me :).
My daughter's name (Imzadi) is taken from Star Trek (Betazed for 'beloved'). She goes by Zadi [ˈzɑ:di] for short.
If I had to do it all again, I'd study paleontology and paleobiology.