Speaking on Firsts

Considering the time of year, and being new to blogging, I thought it appropriate to speak about Firsts – or new Starts – they are connected are they not?

We all experience Firsts – blogging being my most recent!

But First’s appear to slow down a pace as we get older – or do they?  As adults do we forget to take off our blinkers and view the world differently?

Why not take a kids view on things? – the awe, the curiosity, the excitement, the in-the-moment concentration that they give a new discovery, be it a weird looking bug or tasting a lemon.

So in preparation of today’s post, and with the start to 2015 – I thought I would take a different look at MY view on the the new year – and look to my past Firsts, to perhaps prepare for some future ones – or for the adults out there who like to put a power word on it –  my 2015 ‘Goals’.

After all, isn’t a  Goal something we aspire to achieve (for clarification, I am not talking scoring between goal posts here) – and if it is a Goal, doesn’t this mean we have not done it before, and by consequence, it is a First.

I think Michelangelo is quoted somewhere as saying ‘I am still learning’ as he painted the Sistine Chapel.

But what about the small stuff, the bits that really only matter to us as individuals.

So for 2015 I am  not going to make any resolutions – as these are so often based on failures,  or trying to change the negative – I am going to revert to the past to go forward.  If that makes sense?

Not a bucket list – more an appreciation.  An appreciation of any Firsts that I may continue to experience, to recognise, and to celebrate them.  Even if I think I have done it all before, to approach it as if I have not – with awe, with curiosity, with excitement.

To that end, I am happy to share my first letter home from boarding school – written at the age of 12, back in 1983, having settled in a few days to Kylemore Abbey School for Girls, Connemara.  I don’t think it holds any life changing messages.  But I am happy to say that, thanks to my father’s archiving, that the letter remains (misspelling and all), as opposed to decomposing in some land fill – and I appreciate that, and it, on so many levels – my first letter home – the first of many letters that would follow, but this one capturing one girls’  mind set as a boarder, starting anew, making that fresh start to secondary school – and what was important to her at that time, in that moment when she took her new letter writing set and quickly penned a letter home.

I feel strangely reassured that, 30 years later, my needs haven’t changed much!

Here’s to yours for 2015.

first letter home page 1first letter home page 2

Transcript from letter:

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore

Co. Galway

Spet 1983

Dear Mum and Dad,

                                    It’s my second day here and its great fun. I thought I would be really homesick but I’m not (no offence).  By the^wayhow’s everyone, I’m just after remembering that I’ve left loads of things at home so would you please send the up the following:tourch, radio, cuddley toy, posters and some books and tuck Oh yah! And a picture of the family (scamp and shandy as well).  Say hallo the rest of the family and give Shandy, Scamp and Nillie a big X

 

I’ve made loads of friends so theres no need to worry.  Im sleepin in the farm house wle, which is great fun, one of my friends name is Jane and she’s very nice she sleep in the same bunck and bedroom as me.  I’ve got another friend whose very nice aswell she’s in 6th year and her name is (oh dear I’m after forgetting.)  I’ve got loads more to but I haven’t enough time sorry.  I’d better go now.

          Lot and lots of love

                              Daughter number 2

                                        (Lydia)

X a nice big kiss

P.S write back and don’t forget the things I need

Kylemore Abbey School – Crest and Moto

Pax et Nos Avi

Did your school have a school moto/crest?

I am not going to suppose that all of you do but if you did have one, is it something that you can quote and recall at a moment?

‘Kylemore Abbey School for Girls’ did – I can’t tell you how many of us ‘K-Girls’ would have seen this crest over the years.  Specifically the ‘Pax’ part remained with us –  Pax (‘Peace’) being the motto of the Benedictine order.

Our full school crest was ‘Pax et Nos Avi’ – but what did the ‘et Nos Avi’ mean?

There are conflicting theories of the true grasp of its essence as there appears to be no clear translation.

And so,  I contacted the Community at Kylemore,  and specifically the Abbess, Mother Maire Hickey, for more detail.

As it turns out, there IS no clear translation – and for good reason – the motto capturing the essence of what Dame Scholastica, the original Head Mistress at Kylemore Abbey School in 1923, first conceived for the new school.

For those not in the know, Kylemore Abbey School was founded by the small community of nuns that survived, having fled war torn Ypres in 1914.  I can’t imagine what the  ‘Irish Dames of Ypres’ must have experienced first hand in the battle torn city, and then the relief  to settle in Connemara’s bleak yet beautiful landscape.

Back to the crest.

I believe that ‘Pax’ couldn’t have been a more poignant and powerful motto at that  time.  But Dame Scholastica’s thinking I am told, was that something needed to be added for the new students that would be educated and excel at Kylemore.

And so, it has been suggested that the school motto incorporates both that of the Benedictine Order, and a reflection of what K-Girls, would carry forward,  that is  to inspire girls to seek peace, work for justice and peace, and commit ourselves to handing it on to the future population of the planet’ – Pax et Nos Avi – Peace is Our Heritage

And so, have we lived on to fulfill this?

I can only let others be the judge of that…………..

2013-06-28 17.32.00 School Blazer Crest 1984