Updated: Oct 5, 2021
Twenty years ago, I took a leave of absence to teach English in Laos, learn the language, the culture, and daily life of the people. When interviewed for the job they asked what I would do when half a world away and lonely for family, friends, and a familiar way of life. I said, “paint, write and that I would be OK.” And I did that, every day. The journals became my best friend and confidant. Those journals taught me to see and love a life I shared with the people in my village. Many times, the painted images became the common language of communication. If I couldn’t say a word in Lao to my students or the women at the market, I would draw it and many times they would draw back. The first month in Laos was very sketchy with not much written in my journal. I was silent with the pen. The journal was evidence of that. However, stories and journeys are told through sketches and paintings in my watercolor journal. I painted over 30 of them in a month’s time.