The Rich Trip

Chapter Ten

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Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

– Candida had an induction hob instead of a stove

I met Alice 12 years ago, an exchange student from Sweden who stayed with my friend
– Her family hosted youngsters from various countries, which she found intriguing
– Unintentionally, she inspired me to attend this camp
– Candida made mushroom toast with freshly plucked mushrooms from the garden

and neighbour’s home-baked bread

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The Ninth Mood
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The Last Time | End of PART I

I built a gorgeous sandcastle. Embellished it with dazzling seashells. I’m adorning it with blue and yellow lilies, like the ones Candida gave me at Stockholm airport. Oh… but… no-no-no. A gigantic wave comes. Nooooo! It is gone… I have only sand and no castle.

“What if I sink?”
“Oh, but my darling,
what if you swim?”

“Do you wanna ride the metro?” Candida interrupted my intense sandcastle daydream. I was glaring fiercely at the blanket of blue flowers outside that window. They danced like the waves who wrecked my castle.

“Me-metro? Wh-where do you wa-wanna go?”


Hmm. Anyway, it was a much-needed break. Oh, and like right-on-cue, it started raining. Was I in The Truman Show? Haha!

People complain about the mess rain creates. But for me, rain means… something new. June, new class, new books, new teachers, it’s just… all new. It means ‘new chance’. There is something incredibly hopeful about it.

Rain was the perfect confetti from the sky
added to the weather of sweater
making us feel shy

I will be eternally grateful to Candida. I wanted to stay there, in heaven. The cool air with the warm melody of raindrops had set a lulling rhythm. A loud honk brought me to earth. Yeah, the metro train announced its arrival.

“Hey, what are you thinking?” Candida breezed.

“A moment ago, I was in paradise. Now, I know that tomorrow there will be 15 others at the camp, each from a strange nation.”

Better food, I hope. That is my strongest motivation right now!

“A week ago, wasn’t Sweden a strange nation too?”

“Yeah, but I-“

She had helped me become friends with this nation.

“You are brave and you will be fine. I’m sure.”

Those ten words meant more to me than anything in the world.

Candida continued after pausing to adjust her bag. We were riding the metro. It was smooth, serene and speedy.

“Isn’t the camp why you are here? Consider the next two weeks as a Land Of Learning. Observe, that’s all.”

“You make it sound so simple. But it’s-“

“Because it is! You have magnified it in your head. This is not the End, you see?”

“Err.. it is. It’s my last day here.”

“There is never an end. Not even to life. It just ‘goes on’. One journey to another, one soul to another.”

“Whoa. Kinda deep! I did not get it though.”

“Yeah, never mind. Just remember that tomorrow will be great.”

“How do you know? What if it’s not?”

“Then the day after tomorrow will be. Err… okay. Suppose you run to catch this train, but you miss it. Does that mean you ran for nothing? No. It made it easier for you to catch the next one.”

Strangely, this strange nation didn’t feel strange. Instead, it made me too curious to wait for more. I’m ready for the adventure that’s beginning tomorrow. From living with mom and dad to sleeping alone here to having a foreign roommate. Wow, what a great leap! Yay! I had googled all the tourist attractions before, but getting to see them in real? 

Aren’t the thorns privileged to have roses?

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at


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Just Do It

I hate it how you’re born out of nowhere, forced to go to school

And get an education so that you can get a job.

What if I wanted to be a duck!?

Okay, not exactly that but you sometimes must have had or will have a similar thought. The pointlessness of everything, you know? Or you must be going right now, ‘Oh yeah! Absolutely!’ Hey that can happen, but we are not ducks.

What comes after is something I wish was told to me earlier and you will too. But, better late than never, right? So, here it is: ‘Life’s not fair. We get no say in the world we are born into. We don’t decide our names or religion, not where we come from. We don’t decide if we have a place we can call home. Our families might have to leave the country. Yeah, it’s messed up. We don’t decide how the world judges a person like us.’

Ew! Nobody wishes to live with so much negativity. So, are we trapped? I have been puzzling myself for a couple of decades and… eureka! We can escape this madness. Not by carelessly quacking away. We are human beings and we will rise. We don’t decide how our story begins. But, we do get to decide how it ends. There is one thing you cannot give or take from someone. It is the fire – the fire in your belly. All you need to do is ignite, which is the beginning of anything you want. That little spark may burst into a fire that lies deep within you and suddenly everything is possible.

Don’t stop. Don’t wait until you have reached your goal and proudly take steps towards it. Your goal might seem to be like soup right now and you might be a fork. But you didn’t come this far for nothing, did you? On one hand, sleeping without setting the alarm clock does mean happiness but on the other, it also means sleeping without having a purpose. And you’ll agree that none of us want to wake up as ‘mediocre’. So, set a goal. A goal that makes you jump out the bed every morning. A goal that is so meaningful that it creates a drive inside you. A drive to become better and stronger.

And one day she discovered that she was fierce,

And strong and full of fire,

And that not even she could hold herself back,

Because her passion burned brighter than her fears.


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