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Go Wherever You Want: eight years in three countries
Single in my fifties, kids gone, job situation changing, nothing in my life was working right. Go Wherever You Want is a memoir about my eight years living and teaching abroad in three countries. At first little more than a visitor, I became increasingly involved with the people and culture in each place until, in the last, I became part of a community rather than an expat. Starting with a political demonstration in Guatemala that threatened to send me back home, finding a special friendship in the Czech Republic, and ending with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, these human and travel stories will draw you in.
My story could be compared to Anthony Bourdain’s stories, without the food, where he gets to know people and learns about their culture, but extended over years. And it’s a “time of life” story, about an older woman who reinvents herself. Not a typical travel memoir, there’s a depth and intimacy that travel writers do not uncover in short trips or passing through. It’s about human connection, cultural immersion, a little romance, and personal growth.
During those years abroad, I taught for three years in Guatemala City, two years in Prague in the Czech Republic, and three years in the Tokyo prefecture of Japan. In each place I took on a somewhat different challenge, starting with teaching high school computing and managing systems in an American school, then teaching English in a private language school, and conversational English in two universities.
And from each location (and before and after), I enjoyed exploring cultures within and around, so many exciting and different worlds. Beyond those three countries are countless travel stories and photos. I have visited over fifty countries.
The recent limitless possibilities of art and technology have made digital photography a fascinating medium for me. The altered black-and-white/color nature images on this web site have been with me for a long time, but recently became achievable with the flexibility of graphic design. Natural elements are in vivid color; human-made constructions in black-and-white. Images in the Altered Landscapes series have appeared in galleries and juried art shows in Colorado. Windows in the Thru the Window series have been in several galleries and shops in Colorado mountain towns. I have exhibited my photography in several places I have lived abroad, including a one-person show in Antigua, Guatemala.
In what seems like a past life, I considered myself a potter. As a Fine Arts major in college, I fell in love with the feel of the earth, shaping clay with gentle but firm movements, the spin of the wheel, centering, the absorption, like a meditation, of creating functional forms to be used in everyday life from natural elements. In my adult workaday world, I had kept, for decades, a handmade kickwheel and an electric kiln in a space that could be dusty and splattered. Now and then, for brief productive interludes, I listened to my muse and threw pots, peaceful and inspiring. As a traveler, I have sought out native crafts and have felt an affinity with those who work with ceramics. My story, “The Women Potters of Rural Guatemala,” based on an excerpt from my book, will appear in the October 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine. Stories of my explorations to pottery towns in various places have appeared on my blog, and some will be included in my upcoming book.