This afternoon, Patty, Carl, Jackie, and Matt ran the third annual Underhill Half-Marathon, an (almost) yearly boxing-day tradition for those wishing to work off their holiday indulgences over 19 kilometers of Vermont’s prettiest and coldest roads. I’m not going to get specific about who ran how fast, or how long the whole thing took, but Carl and Jackie don’t have to worry about their shared record any time soon.
On Friday Patty headlined the opening of an exhibit at Dublin Castle, called Beyond the Three Perfections. Adjacent to the famous Chester Beatty Library, one of the two exhibit rooms in the castle coach house is almost entirely given over to her large work “Sailing to Byzantium” – inspired by the Yeats poem – that she created in Vermont and Beijing, as well as a series of 18 ink paintings based on two poems of Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, that she created in Tokyo. She also is exhibiting two other works inspired by him.
The installation is spectacular; Byzantium is elevated but almost within reach, so even more accessible than when she showed it in Beijing in 2014. The other paintings are contained in individual alcoves that were openings in the coach house stalls, seemingly framed by the old, weathered brick.
The show was curated by Emily de Wolfe Pettit and the opening night had a great reception and dinner in Dublin Castle’s St Patrick’s hall. Among the guests were Yue Xiaoyong, the Chinese ambassador to Ireland, who brought along a large crew. (That’s Patty, Ambassdor Yue, and Emily above.) Also attending was Mary Heffernan, the General Manager of the Irish Government Office of Public Works. The OPW was fundamental in the launch and sponsorship of the show, which will be up until December 8th.
That screaming banshee on the far right, the one holding his grandfather’s dress sword and leading his detailers (essentially his management team), followed by about a hundred awed plebes, is none other than Kilo Company Commander MIDN Lt Carl Chadwick Kolon. This is what he said to his detailers before these practice parades began:
Today is our first practice parade. Whether or not you think it develops you as a Naval Officer (I do!) parades are a valuable experience. They are one of the only things at the Naval Academy that is not all about you. I hear other Midshipmen complain a lot about parades and they say things like “how will this develop me as a Naval Officer”? It doesn’t matter, because we’re not out there for ourselves.
We’re out there for the moms and dads in the stands. We’re out there for the taxpayers, to prove that the Naval Academy actually does teach discipline. We’re out there for the one kid watching who dreams about coming here. We receive an entire education on the dime of others. Think about parades as the 5-hour-a-semester job which pays for it.
Despite the occasional cynicism, I know that everyone here feels a deep pride for this place. Performing well in a parade is how we show that pride to other people, without the arrogance or individualism of knocking our class ring on the table. When we perform as one precise unit, when all the bayonets flash at once, and when we march back to T-court in step all the way, we will have displayed the most important emotion we should all feel: gratitude. If you don’t buy that, try this: a key part of military discipline is performing enthusiastically no matter what the mission.
And we can’t perform well in a parade without performing well in a practice parade. So let’s kill it today.
Carl, I wish I was one of your detailers.
Kana, Nellie, Mia, Anaïs, and Minako Celebrate!
So that’s a wrap for Nellie’s High School career. On June 3, Nellie and a couple hundred other graduates were celebrated in a beautiful ceremony near her American School in Japan. But ASIJ wasn’t Nellie’s only high school. She spent her first two years at the Harrow School in Beijing, but embraced (even sought out) the challenge of moving high schools halfway though. That meant changing not just schools but systems (British to American) and of course countries (China to Japan.) What a killer.
Northeastern University, in Boston, is Nellie’s choice for her undergraduate tour. And tour it’s going to be, because she’s going to spend the first semester at University College Dublin, as part of Northeastern’s NU.in program. Perhaps a little odd that this international student with a school career spent entirely in China and Japan should go “overseas” for her introduction to college life, but after that she’ll be in Boston for the next 3 1/2 years.
Nellie plans to study biological science, which is one of the hottest majors in undergraduate education right now, and in which Northeastern has a great set of programs and fantastic co-op opportunities. Bioscience also covers the two most-valuable college degrees according to Forbes magazine.
Nell was accepted into a bunch of schools, and offered scholarships to a few too, but ultimately the program, city setting, and New England location sealed the deal for her.
We’re so proud of Nellie and can’t wait to watch her succeed!
Carl called yesterday with the exciting news that for the first assignment of his final year in Annapolis, he’s been appointed Commander of the USNA 20th Company for Plebe Summer 2017. This is very cool for a few reasons:
- He’ll begin his final, “firstie” year as he did last year – developing the 20th Company’s plebes “morally, mentally, and physically” as the USNA mission statement goes.
- This year though, he’ll be developing his own leadership skills even more than the plebes themselves, because all told, he’ll have about 100 mids reporting to him. I was well into my forties before I had responsibility like that.
- With three stripes he’ll become a “striper” which makes him one of the leaders of the brigade of midshipmen.
- Therefore, as a 1st -Class Midshipman Lieutenant, he’ll wear the insignia at the top of this post. Pretty sharp!
Hard to believe that Nellie is looking at colleges already. Here’s the map. We might not visit them all, but we expect to get to many of the ones in the Northeast this summer.
The map used to be here, but Google upgrades made is unusable after a while, so I’ll just say that Nell applied to schools in Montreal, Burlington, Boston, Amherst, New York City, Washington D.C., and a few other places. Above you can see what happened.
Nellie and her friend Hiroki went to the 2016 ASIJ Prom together, along with their friends Sae and David. What a couple of lovely couples! The parents were very busy taking pics to show their friends, so I took a pic of them for you too.
Now that the house is mostly complete, we are (finally) turning to the question of landscaping. We’re working with Chad Willard of Paints With Plants for the work itself. The above is his first plan for the stonework and planting, and while we’ve made a few changes, we think it’s pretty cool.
Posted in Home
As I often say, I’m a really lucky guy. From mid-March to mid-April, I had friends and family help me celebrate my 50th birthday in five cities and a town, in four countries, on two continents, beginning in Singapore and ending up in New York.
I also had some of my favorite people visit me in Tokyo: Carl and Jackie came on their school vacations, and Jesse visited the week after. If I had known turning fifty was going to be so much fun, I would have done it a lot sooner!
Thanks everyone who drank, ate, sang, danced, smoked, stumbled, and otherwise celebrated with me. Most of all, thanks to my lovely Patty who pulled together the amazing Ryokan visit in Hakone and who enabled (and allowed) all the others.