As I attended the ceremony celebrating your matrimony with Becca, I thought about our friendship–about how it all began, how it deepened over the years and how it’s thrived on our many differences.
I remember your joking once that I’m the first Republican you’d ever met, and it probably won’t surprise you that you’re the first Democrat I ever got to know really well. From the moment we met, through graduation and into today, we’ve spent so many countless hours talking about politics, bantering on topics ranging from my beloved George W. Bush to Middle East foreign policy and elections in-between. We found a common ground here and there–often in education policy, if I recall–but it is through our disagreements that you taught me a valuable lesson: that in this world, there are perfectly intelligent people who can also be perfectly incorrect.
It’s not just in politics that you and I differ. We have different attitude towards the unfamiliar that manifested itself in the different approaches we took to our college education.
At Boston College, you took a wide-range of courses outside of your major while I rarely strayed outside the comforts of mine. In taking advanced math, German and even drawing, you exhibited the spirit that always makes you say “Yes” to discovering the unknown. Looking back, I realize that BC, a quisitential liberal arts school, was the perfect match for your challenging ethos. When I wrote a blog piece encouraging current B.C. students to get a real liberal arts education a couple years back, you served as the inspiration.
While I mostly fought through our differences or noted them with amusement, on rare occasions, you did manage to make a small dent in my ways.
You have taste in art and, I concede, I really don’t. If I have my way with movies, I would choose a couple James Bond movies over an Oscar winner any day of the week and twice on Friday. It’s only because of you that somewhere along the line I’d managed to watch “Citizen Kane” (1941) and developed enough taste to talk intelligently about why the film is a classic, even if I refuse to rank it in my list of must-see-films.
As I give thought to these differences, I recall the fun we’ve had over the years.
When it comes to Kodak moments of my days at Boston College, you’re in more frames than anyone else I can remember. You were there in the dorm suite on any random evening, making dinner to satisfy my big appetite. You were there at BC football games in the frigid New England November as we watched our Eagles be just good enough to be mediocre. You were there for the trips to Chicago and Denver, the latter for the best skiing of my life.
But when I contemplate our friendship, I actually think more about the years after college, when our friendship deepened despite our paths going separate ways, both geographically and professionally. As I went back and forth between New Jersey and Boston before finally settling in New York, we always saw each other periodically, mostly when you came down to visit. There’s not much I recall about our conversations during those years, but when I chose to move back to Japan a couple years ago, one of the few reasons I had reservations was because I was going to miss those get-togethers.
That you have become one of my closest friends despite so many differences is a testament to the thoughtful, caring, dedicated friend you are, and in Becca, you have found the perfect compliment.
I first met her only a couple months before the wedding, but I liked her in an instant. I liked that she didn’t ostericize me for being a Republican, although you had probably helped soften the blow. I liked that she is an intelligent, thoughtful person, just like you. I liked that she brings out the best in you, by hopefully continuing to bring you new and exciting challenges. Above all, I liked how she cared deeply about you and the company you keep, including yours truly.
One of the greatest blessings in life is to have a great circle of friends, and you, Tristan, and now Becca, constitute one of my closest. For that, I am eternally thankful.
Congratulations, my friend, on your marriage to Becca. May the life you two share be full of care, challenges and even differences–for if our friendship has shown anything, it’s that a strong relationship can be build on the appreciation for the other’s dissimilarity .