Currently viewing the tag: "Fletcher couples"
Is it true that Admissions folks try to make matches among our applicants when we decide to admit them? No, of course not! But I can say that there are folks on this list whom I knew before they knew each other, so I’m more than willing to claim a role in their happiness. Continuing with our Valentine’s week celebration of Fletcher couples, please meet another twelve alumni.
Bria, F12, and Ivan, F12
We met on the first day of Fletcher orientation in 2010. We soon became good friends and often met for lunch in Mugar Café. During our second year, we stopped being shy and went on our first dates. Our favorite memory of that time was dancing away during Africana Night, the last cultural night of our Fletcher experience. We got married in 2015 and have since been living in South Asia, where we both work for the U.S. Foreign Service. Thanks for bringing us together, Fletcher!
Laura, F92, and Mark, F90 (MALD) and F93 (PhD)
Laura was working at Fletcher on a China education program. Mark had finished his PhD orals and needed a job. Mark was hired. Flirting ensued. Engagement six months later. Wedding at Tufts Goddard Chapel in the company of many Fletcher friends. Twenty-five years later, international adventures continue to unfold, including stints living in Hong Kong and Mexico. Mark and Laura now live in Denver, and have two boys, Nathan (21) and Theo (18).
Hammad, F11, and Manny, F12
Hammad and Manny met at the entrance of Blakeley Hall on Admitted Students Day in April 2010. What began as a simple friendship, after Manny enrolled at Fletcher, turned into a long-distance relationship — as those pursuing international careers might know all too well. In spring of 2011, Manny had one year left to complete his MALD program and Hammad was set to join the U.S. Foreign Service upon graduation. With some luck, Hammad’s first post was Washington, DC, paving the way for his frequent return visits to Fletcher. The relationship blossomed into a six-year courtship across five cities: Medford, Washington, Caracas, Tunis, and Mexico City. The couple fondly recall their memories from Medford: joint study sessions on the third floor of Ginn Library, staying up late to work on the demanding but rewarding DME course with Professor Church, and the active social calendars of the Green House (where Hammad lived his second year) and Blakeley Hall (where Manny lived his first year). They now both work for the U.S. State Department, and look forward to more globetrotting adventures together.
Filipa, F11, and Chris, F12
We met on October 9, 2010 during Chris’s first semester and Filipa’s last semester at Fletcher. We know the exact date because we were on our way to a comedy show in downtown Boston (“Arabs Gone Wild”) when we were introduced at a fellow Fletcherite’s house. After the show, we decided to have dinner in Chinatown and meet friends at a house-party in Porter Square. Chris walked Filipa home at the end of the night, and what followed were study sessions in the library and computer lab until we went on our first date, to watch a movie at the Somerville Theater. Filipa moved to New York in the spring, so we quickly got to know the MANY bus routes between New York and Boston. After Chris’s graduation in 2012 and subsequent move to Washington, DC, we continued to take advantage of the east coast buses to visit each other. Chris asked Filipa to marry him in June 2014 on the eve of traveling with Fletcher friends to the World Cup in Brazil. We were married the following year in Evora, Portugal in front of our families, friends, and, of course, our beloved Fletcher family. We have lived in Washington DC since 2013, where we continue to enjoy sports, comedy, movies, and the occasional inter-city bus ride.
Andrew, F12, and Arielle, F12
We were both very fortunate as students to have the opportunity to participate in the Asia Foundation Study Tour in China. During that trip we bonded over our mutual love of gorging on delicious food and exploring new places, both of which we continue to do today! We are currently living in Seoul, South Korea working at the U.S. Embassy. Should any fellow Fletcher grads make it out this way, we would love to grab a bite to eat with you!
Nathan, F13, and Ana, F13
We had common friends at Fletcher, but despite this, during our two years at Fletcher, we never got to know each other well. Nathan, a music-frisbee-development passionate guy. Ana, a zumba-library-Middle East club girl. It was only after graduation that our paths crossed in a strange but amazing way. Nathan found himself house searching and, at the insistence of one of Ana’s roommates — and Nathan’s amazing cookies — Nathan moved into the empty room of an apartment with Ana and her friends. Who would have predicted this was going to change our lives! During our early morning coffees, Ana got ready for work and Nathan would share his job-hunting stories, his latest guitar song, or just the quiet of the early morning summer in Boston. While he was looking for jobs away from Boston, Ana was also making plans — to move away from the U.S. In the meantime, we became good friends and Nathan stayed by Ana’s side during a surgery that summer. While she was recovering, he got a job in Washington, DC and he moved in late in August. And it was then when we both realized how much we meant to each other, and how much we wanted to be in each other’s lives. We skyped, talked, emailed, and saw each other as much as we could, mostly living in different places, adding up to more than 20 different cities around the world. Ana moved to southern Turkey, where we currently both live, in 2014, and Nathan joined in 2015. We got married in August 2016 in Boston, a city that will always have a special place in our lives.
And Nathan and Ana’s photo at the School is a fitting conclusion to our Fletcher Couples feature. I’m already looking forward to Valentine’s Day 2018 to reach out to more married alumni and hear their stories. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out the photo album on Fletcher Facebook page for more Fletcher couples.
I love learning about Fletcher couples! And this year, in time for today’s Valentine’s Day holiday, I’ve been working on a joyful project — seeking out couples among our alumni. I reached out to a few people whom I expected would be good sources, and soon my email was sprinkled with happy photos and the couples’ stories, which I’ve shared below in their own words.
I’ve written now and then about Fletcher couples, but they’ve usually been folks I knew. For this first Valentine’s Special, featured on the blog and the Fletcher Facebook page, recent graduates are a little over-represented. Now that I know how fun it is to gather these stories, I will commit myself to bringing more graduation-year diversity to the feature. But now, let’s meet some of the couples! ♥
Gerardo, F11, and Ana, F12 and current PhD candidate
Our families have been friends for decades. We’ve known each other since we were little. We planned our wedding as we were applying to schools in the U.S. and we went to several Open Houses. We both fell in love with Fletcher, and that is where we ended up having an extended honeymoon!
Jessica, F16, and Abishek, F14
We met during the 2013-2014 academic year while living in Blakeley Hall. We recently celebrated our wedding in Allahabad, India on January 22, 2017.
Chris, F93, and Hilary, F94
We met first in a Tufts Japanese class that we were both taking after returning from Japan on the JET Program, but the romance really happened at the first Blakeley Hall party that same night! Fletcher was a great place to find someone who had the same perspective on life: an understanding of global cultures and a love of adventure! Now, it’s more than 20 years later, and that is what still keeps us together, after years of living and working in Germany, New York, and Japan. Thank you Fletcher!
Gregor, F12, and Jenny, F12
Gregor and Jenny met during their Fletcher Orientation in 2010. They became good friends, and eventually started dating after working in the same econometrics study group in their second semester. As many of the Fletcher family do, they share a passion for exploring the world, and for good quantitative analysis! They both work in the international development field with a focus on monitoring & evaluation. Jenny and Gregor got engaged in Ireland in 2014. Gregor nervously carried a ring through a four-day hike while looking for an opportune place to propose. They were married in September 2015 in Annapolis, MD and currently live in Washington, DC with their dog, Lady.
Maddie, F14, and John, F14
Maddie and John met on the first day of MIB pre-orientation at Fletcher. Maddie sat in the seat directly in front of John in Dean Chakravorti’s Stategic Management course in Mugar 200. So naturally, Maddie talked to nearly every person in the class except for John. John tried to get Maddie’s attention for weeks, but to no avail.
Maddie had signed up for a half-marathon in Salem in the middle of September and, upon a fellow classmate’s suggestion, it just so happened that John signed up, too, despite zero training. Maddie and John ran the entire 13.1 miles together, talking and getting to know each other. Not long after that, they began dating!
After graduation, they moved to Minneapolis, MN (Maddie’s hometown). John proposed to Maddie a year later, in May 2015, on the historic Stone Arch Bridge, in the pouring rain. Their wedding was at the Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis and they were fortunate to have many Fletcher friends alongside them in their celebrations.
Leigh, F06 (MALD) and F11 (PhD) and Geoffrey, F07 (MALD) and F11 (PhD)
Professor Andrew Hess and Bernadette Kelley-Lecesse (former Fletcher staff member) played an important role in bringing us together. There were also some significant upsides to late nights in the Ginn Library.
We’ll meet more couples in tomorrow’s post!
I’ve decided to focus much more of my energy on finding Fletcher couples. My long-term goal will be to have a lovely collection to share on Valentine’s Day. Shorter term, I’m just delighted to hear from folks whose relationships formed on campus.
We first read about Hanneke when she told us how she heard about her admission to Fletcher. More recently, she reported on her first year post-Fletcher. And today, I’m so happy to tell you about her wedding last spring to Andrew, a fellow MALD student. Although Andrew started his Fletcher studies one year after Hanneke, they both graduated in 2014 because she took an extra year to complete a dual degree with The Friedman School. Hanneke was a multi-year friend of Admissions — volunteer interviewer, member of the Admissions Committee — and one of these students we are sorry to say goodbye to. But we’ve kept in touch and I couldn’t be happier that she and Andrew (whom I regret I didn’t get to know) met here!
Some details from their story that Hanneke provided:
- At the April 2012 Admitted Students Open House, Andrew sat in on a student panel. Hanneke was one of the presenting students. He mentioned this to her when they re-met in fall 2012.
- They started dating in fall 2013, during her third year and his second year, largely helped along by time spent together with Fletcher Runners.
- They got engaged in Johannesburg in 2015 while she was living in Malawi.
- Their wedding was in Austin, Texas, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. (Note the beautiful wildflowers in their photo.)
- Fletcher was very well represented at the wedding and on the dance floor.
- The tie that Andrew and his groomsmen wore is from their classmate Dan’s Corridor NYC clothing line.
Hanneke is currently working with the World Food Programme in their Siem Reap, Cambodia office, as part of the Leland International Hunger Fellows program. Andrew has been conducting research remotely for a U.S. based organization. Soon, they will be moving to Phnom Penh, where they will stay for another year.
And here’s the Fletcher contingent. So many familiar faces — I love Fletcher weddings!
Fletcher couples are just the best. I can’t keep up with all of them, but I love when I’m lucky enough to hear about their weddings. Recently, Liz told me about a newly married MIB couple. Fumi, F16, and Ryota, F15, met during her first year and his second year in the program. Ryota came to Fletcher from the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, to which he has since returned. After graduating just last May, Fumi has joined the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Both Ryota and Fumi were very active members of the Fletcher community, as you might guess from their Fletcher flag cake.
Naturally, Kristen (who, among the Admissions staff, works most closely with MIB applicants and students) takes full credit for bringing them together and their subsequent love story. The rest of the Admissions Staff simply wishes them all the best in their life together!
So I answer my office phone one day. I note the caller ID (“Farzana Hoque”), but the person on the other end is Matt Herbert, a PhD candidate. Matt and I chat about his reason for calling, but then I ask him about the caller ID. “Farzana is my wife,” he says. Then (at my prompting) he goes on to explain that he (a 2010 MALD graduate) met Farzana (a 2012 MALD graduate), during her final semester at Fletcher. He had just returned from a year living and working in Norway. They stayed in Boston from 2012 to 2013 (she was working, he continued with the PhD program) while they considered if their relationship might be a keeper. It was.
In 2013, Matt bought an engagement ring in Nairobi, Kenya, and in 2014, they were married. Three times. The first wedding was the one that made everything official, and yet it took place in a car speeding out of Washington, DC. They needed to fulfill the requirement imposed by their DC marriage license that the formal ceremony be performed in the District. Matt’s sister, who had obtained legal authority to conduct the wedding, was in the car. A kiss at the spotlight sealed their “I do’s.” The second was a “Flash Wedding” — Matt and Farzana’s secret plan to turn a small wedding shower into an actual, though low-key, wedding. (Matt’s sister officiated this time, too.)
The third wedding took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh — a three-day ceremony filled with dancers, food, and 400 friends and relatives. Several Fletcher alumni living in Dhaka even made an appearance.
Matt and Farzana now live and work in Washington, DC, except when Matt is in West or North Africa for work or research. Their life together has already touched on more than the average number of countries, in true Fletcher fashion.
I love Fletcher couples! So I was thrilled to hear about a wedding of two 2012 graduates with a special twist. Megan and Sebastián didn’t meet at Fletcher — they knew each other before, and applied to grad school hoping they would end up in the same place. I conducted Megan’s evaluative interview and, as I told her just before her graduation, it’s one that stands out in my mind, if only for the wonderful thank-you note she sent, complete with a map of the Dominican Republic (where she was working) and Haiti.
It wasn’t until I featured Fletcher Fútbol in the blog that I connected with Sebastián, but I very much enjoyed my interactions with him about a fun activity that had captured the attention of the entire community.
Naturally, when I heard about the wedding, I reached out to Sebastián, and asked for photos. He graciously sent several along. Don’t they look happy?
Sebastián called the wedding their “Hippy Celebration of Love,” and it took place in August at a lighthouse, in Oak Bluffs, MA.
But here’s the best part. The wedding was officiated over by Prof. John Hammock, who Sebastián said had “been a mentor for Megan before Fletcher, and I had the pleasure to take his class and receive his advice while in grad school.”
I don’t know if this is the first time a member of the faculty has conducted a wedding for two alumni, but I know it’s the first time I’ve ever heard about it. One of the best ever Fletcher weddings!
I’ve written before about my friend Charles, an alum dating back to my first (pre-Admissions) Fletcher career. There was his 2009 bike trip across the length of Japan with his son, Sho. And there was his 2011 trip around Iceland with both Sho and his daughter, Saya. I didn’t get around to profiling his lower-key trip over the Alps with extended family last summer, but they’re on the road again now.
Following a drive from New York to St. Louis — where Charles, his wife Eiko (Fletcher graduate working at the United Nations), Sho and Saya explored the starting point for the Lewis and Clark trek to the Pacific — and then a further drive to North Dakota, where Eiko turned back toward New York, Charles, Sho and Saya started cycling along the Lewis and Clark expedition route. They’re chronicling their adventure, which has also been featured in publications as diverse as Outside Magazine, National Geographic online, and a blog for Capital C, a documentary about crowd-funding. (In one of the better, but also stranger, areas of recognition, for Father’s Day a New York family-oriented website selected Charles as one of “New York City’s Coolest Dads.”) Connected with follow-up to the trip, Charles launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to write and lecture about their travels.
I should also provide the Fletcher context. Charles and Eiko met here at Fletcher and then moved off to New York to start their careers, Eiko with the UN, and Charles with a business association, followed by an extended stint with Intel Corporation. (All fairly Fletcherish up to that point, and we all love Fletcher couples!) But then, in July 2011, Charles decided to dedicate himself to promoting family adventure travel. One book, many talks and the bike trips mentioned above later, and he’s on his way to the Pacific Ocean. Eiko, meanwhile, continues to do serious work in peacekeeping for the UN (including an half-year stretch in Libya in 2012), while supporting the cycling adventures of her family.
I hope you’ll enjoy following the ride over the Rockies for Charles, Sho, and Saya!
It would be entirely frivolous for Admissions staff members to emphasize their role as match-makers. First, making matches is not an appropriate use of our time. Second, once we admit students, we can’t control who meets whom.
And yet…many students meet their spouses while at Fletcher, and I have decided to take credit for the happiness of two 2012 grads. I first met Ho-Ming in 2007, when she visited for an interview before she applied to Fletcher and, later, deferred her enrollment. Then, in the fall of 2009, I interviewed Aaron. Probably, I didn’t have wedded bliss in mind as I spoke to them as applicants. Probably. But just maybe, I knew, in the depths of my subconscious, that here were two prospective students who were meant for each other.
I think it’s fair to say that Ho-Ming and Aaron left campus after graduation in May with a lot of balls in the air, creating some uncertainty in their lives, but one thing was clear — they were going to drive cross-country before embarking on the next phase. So they bought an old van (Volkswagon Vanagon to be precise), adopted a puppy (Bean), and headed west. Along the way, they eloped!
Here they are, with Bean and the van:
And here they are, in Chicago, looking all married:
And now they’re in Indonesia, where Aaron has a job and Ho-Ming (last I heard) seemed well on her way to landing one of her own.
After I emailed Ho-Ming to ask if I could write about her and Aaron in the blog, she gave me the o.k. and noted that she had recently seen a photo of Fletcher alumni in Washington, DC and that there were four Fletcher couples from her year alone. “Definitely something about Fletcher,” she wrote. But most of those couples, I’ll guess, didn’t elope and then travel halfway around the world.
If, like me, you have a soft spot for happy endings, you can read more about the elopement here. And I should note that I borrowed the photos from that website, which credits them to “I Luv Photo.”
Bring together a few hundred similarly aged individuals with similar interests, and the result: Fletcher Couples. Some are relatively well known, such as Winston Lord and Bette Bao Lord (both from the Fletcher class of 1960), or Alice and Thomas Pickering (Fletcher class of 1954), but others travel forth, outside of the limelight, balancing two international careers and all that follows, including offspring.
I’ve recently been in touch with two Fletcher couples from my earlier pre-Admissions Fletcher career. Their news has started me thinking about the children of Fletcher grads, and about raising a new internationally minded generation.
The first of the couples is Laura Conti ‘92 and Mark Montgomery MALD’90, PhD’92. Laura and Mark took the standard Fletcher route from Medford/Somerville to their current lives as educators in Denver, Colorado – that is, through Hong Kong and Washington, DC. Thinking the time has come to give their sons Nathan and Theo a sense of the world, they arranged this year for Laura to teach English at a school in Ensenada, Mexico. The boys, and occasionally Mark or Laura, are documenting their adventure on their blog. Many of us can easily relate to the boys’ stories about life in a new language environment! With the ongoing challenges of balancing two careers, Laura is generally running the show, and Mark is commuting when possible from Denver.
Currently sharing an address in New York (having previously endured a bicoastal marriage), Charles Scott ’94 and Eiko Ikegaya ’94 are balancing the demands of their careers at Intel (Charlie) and the United Nations (Eiko) with plans for an adventure of their own. More precisely, next summer, Charlie will combine his love of motion and his interest in Eiko’s homeland with a father-son bike ride across the length of Japan, a 2,000-mile adventure that will take around two months to complete. He and his son, Sho, will be riding attached bicycles, while Eiko and their daughter, Saya, will drive a support vehicle for the first week of the journey. Charlie is planning to keep a blog of his adventures at www.japanbikeride.com, where you can already read details of their itinerary and preparation.
Though we don’t know where life will take Nathan, Theo, Sho, and Saya in the future, we can certainly guess that they’re likely to be comfortable in at least two languages and two cultures. Ten years from now, maybe the first of them will build on their early international experiences (and follow in their parents’ footsteps) with graduate study at Fletcher.
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