Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND
She doesn't talk about it much. And when she does, tears well up in her brown eyes.
There were the harrowing days cramped in a small boat on the South China Sea with a daily ration of three sips of water and a teaspoon of rice powder with sugar.
There was the trauma of being in a strange new city connected by so many bridges and with alien structures such as escalators.
And there was the emotional turmoil of being 17, far away from friends, unable to speak English, not knowing if she would see her parents again.
But these experiences shaped Mai Keisling's life and led to her career as an art teacher at Paxon School for Advanced Studies. Keisling, who came to Jacksonville from Vietnam in 1982, was so influenced by the teachers who enabled her to remain in school that she decided to become one.
Now the East Arlington resident is being recognized …