Half a lifetime ago, I took a break from advertising to be a youth pastor for a summer in London. I stayed with an American couple who worked for an oil company. On their wall was their wedding picture, obliterated with the treads of a boot .

“What’s with the footprint?” I asked.

“Oh that,” my host said. “It’s from the war.”

The couple was living in Kuwait when they had to be evacuated. My friend thought it would just be a few days and only packed an overnight bag. Well, several months later, they were allowed to return to their home only to find it looted by soldiers. Along with find most belongings destroyed and dead bodies washing up on their beach, one of the few things they were able to save was their wedding picture, imprinted with a soldier’s boot.

I think of their experience while I am in exile in Laos during the Corona frenzy,  where my only regret is not packing my yoga mat. Pity me.

I did bring my phone loaded with books, including The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

If you have never read it, pick it up. In a nutshell, Pooh the bear, who forgot his pants, reminds us not to  fret about things we can’t change. My favorite quote is:

As Eeyor frets….and Tigger bounces…and Owl pontificates…Pooh just is.

And Laos is the place to “just is”.

Novice monks are late for temple.

Loas Novice Monk Late for Temple

Hot air balloons rise every morning…

…and Nutella pancakes are part of a guilt-free breakfast.

In Laos, even pigs like Pooh, know to take it easy.

So my only headache? Getting a refund for my cancelled flight.


As for what will be?

I will begin teaching my students online soon, which, I am hyped about since I am a techno geek. Thank you, friends from afar, for offering ideas on how to have class going during this “Corona-virus crisis”. I mean this “just is”.

My biggest fear?  My students will be bored with regular class when things to return to “what shall be” and Nutella pancakes will not be allowed in the classroom.    Enjoy what is for now. And yes, that is chocolate on my lip.


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