In 2003, spurred by the events of 9/11, 65-year-old Roberta Gubbins accepted the offer of a year-long volunteer/ lawyer position with the American Bar Association/Central & Eastern European Law Initiative in the Republic of Moldova. She left the practice of law, sold her house, and put her belongings in storage. Then, packing up what she thought she'd need in seven suitcases, her cat in his travel crate, her computer, and assorted items in a carry-on, she took the twenty-plus hour plane trip to Moldova.
While there, she discovered a different culture and learned how to adapt her skills in a new and impoverished environment. She left home a lawyer; she came back a writer. A Year in Moldova, A Year of Discovery, A Volunteer Memoir is a record of her personal growth and her efforts to help the legal community change from a Communist model to a Democratic one while encouraging self-determination and self-reliance. As one Judge said, "Roberta, you are giving them the pole, not the fish."
Roberta Gubbins earned her Batchelor's Degree in Journalism at the University of Michigan and a Masters of Education at the University of Cincinnati. After many years teaching elementary school, she earned a JD at Detroit College of Law. She now spends her time in Mason, MI, writing fiction under the pen name Alexandra Hawthorne and editing legal newsletters.