Art inspired by entrepreneurial, social-minded painter’s volunteering stint with the Peace Corps in Moldova

"Agricolore" (c) B. England
“Agricolore” (c) B. England
“Free” (c) B. England
“Wall of Chisinau” (c) B. England
“Moldovanu cit Traieste” (c) B. England

Before I get all nostalgic about my friend Bonnie England, I’d rather get to her beautiful artwork, which is probably why you came here. So I put them as the first thing in this post, as you have probably noticed. Bonnie has been in Moldova volunteering with the Peace Corps (after raising three great kids and several businesses, besides being a successful painter, mind you). She always talks about how this experience has enriched her life so much. And I think it comes through in her paintings.

Here is what Bonnie says about the paintings digitally showcased here: “These are all acrylic on paper… I think they’re 24×36 (no ruler!) All were inspired by my experiences here (sights, music, landscape, people, food, drink, transitions).” Look above you again and click on the images to make them bigger.

For more from and about Bonnie, visit her aptly named site,

Now, what can I say about Bonnie? There are just too many memories. (If you care to “hear,” read on.)

The first time we met: at the arts-and-wine bar she ran in Wilmington, North Carolina. Bottega ( About the only bar I would feel comfortable going to alone. Because of Bonnie behind the bar. And the kindred souls who also called that place their second home. It was at the open mics and poetry jams there that I met the poets who would inspire me to put much of my energy into my poetry blog back then. It was there that I connected with and embraced my Bohemian self – and drank enough 3-dollar Mimosa specials for a 3-day hangover.

The times when we would bar-hop together in Wilmington: It was just always more interesting with Bonnie. The dancing. The life stories. The laughing about the absurdity and randomness we encountered together.

The afternoon looking for cognac together around the city: and finding Grand Marnier and boots that were too small for my feet, which I could not take off and had to have Bonnie help me. They were still stuck for several minutes, though. Bonnie had a fit of panting and laughing while vigorously trying to free me of the killer boots.

The long weekend of camping at a music festival in North Carolina: dancing to folk music, sleeping in a tent swarming with heat and collecting trash for free entry could not have been nearly as appealing and fun without Bonnie.

The Halloween party and “bad taste” fashion Oscar Party:  Bonnie always had the most creative, eye-catching outfits on. Like being a Basquiat painting for Halloween (that’s what that image beside the post heading is on the front page. Us in a photo booth at said Halloween party). She managed to make The Oscars watchable and a post-breakup Halloween party bearable for me.

The interpretive dancing at karaoke: We sang and acted out together the erudite classic “Total Eclipse of the Heart” like nothing you’ve ever seen.


Then she came to visit me in Leipzig. Then she was back in Wilmington, and off to Moldova. Moving so fast, everything, for both of us… and all over the place. But we managed to remain connected. And that’s how life-long travelers find out who their real friends are.

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

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