What we recalled about the courseworkSeptember 20, 2016

Geoff recommended Doi Inthanon, and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. This was his second visit to Chiang Mai, and this elevation was one of the reasons for coming back to this part of Indochina. It was the highest mountain in Thailand, and there won't be any need to don a mountaineering outfit. My new mate (at the hostel) insisted that a motorcycle should be enough. Two hours later, we were staring at a sign. It marked the highest spot in Thailand, surrounded by thick woods. There was an altar several meters away, adorned with elephant figurines. I didn't have an idea that the elephant was a sacred animal in Buddhism.

We opted to spend a few hours at the garden. It reminded me of Mum's backyard. Geoff thought about Holland. Two stupas towered above the rows of colorful flowers, which seemed to be dedicated to the royal family (of Thailand). It was my impression, and I didn't bother to ask a local (to confirm it). A cloud seemed to hover over Geoff. He didn't like the consequences of the Brexit, one of which would be the end of the Erasmus programme. This setup enabled him to spend five months in Montpellier and then another five months in Granada. He would recall every detail of his visit to Mirador St Nicolas, where his housemates let him savour the sunset.

It seemed like a great experience, which didn't make me green with envy. After all, we have different experiences. I may not have studied in England, but I had fond memories of the university. Professor Mills, who taught Modern literature, was my tutor. And he gave me a few pointers on paper writing. It wasn't important to enumerate the facts, as perspective would give it a different meaning. And this was what writing was all about. I looked around the garden, where tourists would take selfies of the bright colors around them. I was thinking of a possible premise. A getaway at the last minute. A joyride to forget about decisions that my characters haven't thought long and hard about it. And how this garden would prompt them to confront their bourgeois values. I rather surprised myself, as this seemed to be a premise of a French novella I read not long ago.

And what would this mean to the next generation

Geoff was amused at the number of bags I bought at the roadside. It contained organic fruits. It was my latest addiction. The Erasmus programme helped him discovered a taste for living abroad. He was thinking of teaching English in Singapore, if not in France. This was the opportunity that the next generation would miss. They may never found it out.

He had interesting things to say about the matter, which meant a lot to him. It happened to be my gap year, and Indochina was several hours away from home. Mum told me about the latest production of "My Fair Lady" the other night. She was lucky to catch a glimpse of Julie Andrews. I didn't fancy watching plays, having to force myself to see a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" last year. And I don't have a clue about Method Acting. We noticed our long shadows. It won't be long before dusk set it. We might be lucky to catch a waterfall or two.

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