Looking back, an idyll, a past to recapture. Young, naive, learning fast. Idealism with socialist inclinations, tempered by practicalities, the art of learning, coupled with frustrated romanticism.
I’ve never returned, much to my chagrin. Sometimes I feel I’d like to die there – there or at Angkor Wat. I’d like to put out my arms and be a beachcomber, year 2001 style, yielding to the people less than to heat and malaria.
This is where, wielding huge responsibilities on paper, I learned to be an adult. I learned to listen and to trust. I took the administration motto “If there’s a problem, solve it, do something about it” seriously, not cynically. Those I worked with, talked with, visited, created with, argued with, are almost certainly mostly dead. What do their children do, those I held in my arms, teased? Did any of the messages, the seeming achievements, remain? Were they destroyed, did they come again in new, better forms? Are the inevitable stories positive, or do they laugh, cry, at the mistakes?