Sunday, 28 July 2013

Con-grad-ulations to Jon!

From the moment we sat down in the hall and saw the musicians setting up for the opening of the ceremony, it was obvious that this was going to be different to the other graduations that we had been to.  Jon's masters had been taken at SOAS - a truly multi-cultural centre which is famous for its degrees which specialise in the areas that its name suggest - Oriental and African Studies.  Jon's fascination with the politics of Africa was born while studying for his Politics degree in Sheffield. A tutor from Africa inspired him and his thirst for knowledge would not be quenched until he had studied in more depth. 
Whilst I loved the fact that SOAS was in London, and therefore within commuting distance from home which meant he was living at home for the year of studying, I also knew that a visit to Africa was inevitable!  A volunteer trip was booked and his time in Tanzania was a life changing experience.  It was also the longest 6 weeks of my life - tough being a mum sometimes.
So yesterday was his graduation ceremony and how proud we were when we saw him dressed in his cap and gown.  Official photos taken, we went outside to take less formal pictures.  Jon, being Jon, naturally had to pose with a statue of the Tamil philosopher Thiruva'l'luvar which is outside SOAS.

and kept his shades on for a family picture

We walked to Russell Square and as he sat on a bench in the sunshine, I realised I had found my ultimate 'outdoor bench' for the Scavenger hunt!


We went to the hall where graduands and guests were sent in opposite directions; students seated first and then we went to find our seats.  I scoured the hall for a sight of Jon.  Students who had gained a Masters were to be called up last so I knew he would be towards the back.  In fact we ended up sitting about 3 rows in front of him and just across the aisle. I  saw him chatting to a friend and as he looked up, he caught my eye and waved.  I was immediately transported back to primary school shows where he would sit on stage and anxiously scour the room until he saw us in the audience, then a huge grin would spread across his face and he would wave frantically.  Where have the years gone?

Silence fell in the hall and the musicians started, a Congolese Rumba group - so uplifting and happy.  We were all swaying in our seats and tapping our feet.  After this the formal part of the proceedings began.  Speeches, introductions and congratulations - all part of the centuries old traditions.  Mid way through the ceremony, a duet came on stage, a young guy playing guitar and a female singer.  They sang Stevie Wonder's 'I Wish' which was a perfect choice, the words felt so true.
Time for Jon's group to go on stage - my camera was in position and photos were taken as he made his way to the front, ready to have his name called and walk across the stage. 
 
Waiting at the edge of the stage to have his name called

Camera down as soon as he stepped forward, hands clapping as loud as I possibly could.  No way I was going to miss seeing him do this.  I don't need a photo of that important handshake to remember that moment.  Better to live it and see it with my own eyes, than to see it through a view finder and have a photo I think. 

12 comments:

Miriam said...

I can feel your pride and happiness, I have a lump in my throat. Congratulations again to Jon.

scrappyjacky said...

Congratulations to you all....what a wonderful day.

Sandie said...

You have every reason to be proud. Congraultations to Jon and a worthy bench for the scavenger hunt!!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Such a wonderful day for you all!

alexa said...

Such a happy and exciting day for you all - wonderful memories to treasure and feel proud about!

Karen said...

What a lovely, lovely post Deb, so full of a mother's pride and love x

Amy said...

Just simply wonderful and such a proud moment for your family!

Beverly said...

A very glorious day and I love the pics. I know what you mean about putting the camera down. I did that at the wedding. I knew there would be pics (and as I suspected many I would have taken and wanted to not get taken) and I wanted to be in the moment not be a photographer I wanted to truly lose myself in it and experience. No re dos on these life events. Congrats!

Sian said...

Hi Deb. It's so good to be catching up and dropping in to add my congratulations to the rest! wonderful pictures..you must be so proud :)

Denise said...

A fantastic achievement - and it looks like it was a brilliant day and way to celebrate too xxx

Maria Ontiveros said...

Thanks for taking us with you to graduation! I really felt like I was there, and congratulations to all of you!
Rinda

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Congratulations to Jon, Deb, and to you all. While I know this is ultimately his accomplishment, he couldn't have done it without the love and support of his family. So cool!!!