Several years ago I had the opportunity to join a work related visit to China. I had traveled before, mostly to Europe for personal vacation, but a trip to East Asia seemed to be a wholly different world. I wanted to share that experience with my family so each night I wrote an email home describing the day. Initially the content was a list of activities but as the electronic letters accumulated, my writing expanded into observations particularly of sights or practices which appeared out of the ordinary, at least to my western eyes. All of these emails were saved and every once in awhile I reread them and smile.
I have been very fortunate to have returned to China on several occasions, as well as Tanzania, and have continued the practice of writing home each night. My readers grew to selected colleagues, extended family and as importantly, my father. Dad was always keenly interested in these exotic destinations, particularly my very brief incursion to Uganda in 2017. But by then he had lost his capacity to speak and writing became my one consistent and durable form of communication to stay connected from a distance. Indeed I took to writing a note to him on a card each week and sending a postcard from wherever my personal and professional travels took me. My Dad passed away in the spring of 2019 and the writing of notes and postcards stopped. I have retained all of them and in rereading I realized how they form a memoir of sorts, a marking of the events of my world – some profound, some mundane, some needing to be read out loud, others to be savored privately.
my writing history encapsulates the spirit of this blog and my motivation to continue telling stories, to sharing my experience in writing and in pictures.