Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Love Happens

In the summer of 1989 I had a market research internship at a multinational company in Hamburg, Germany. I didn't have much to do after work during the week, as my friends were up in Kiel and I could only visited them on weekends. One day a friend of the family I was living with stopped by to visit them. He was kind of cute and close to my age. He invited me to join him and his friends to play billiards. Sure, I thought, why not?

Billiards twice a week with a group was soon supplemented with walks in the park, dinners, an occasional night out dancing. We had a good time.

I was heading back to the States at the end of August and was just ending a long-distance relationship I'd been in for a couple years. I didn't want another overseas boyfriend.
But he and I had become good friends and since he didn't need to start his college classes until October, he decided to return to the States with me for a few weeks. Why not? We had fun together, why not hang out for one more month?

He returned to Germany in the fall and life went on. We stayed in touch. He wrote letters. Lots of letters. OK, he wrote a letter everyday we were apart for the next two years. Yes. EVERY. DAY. I still have the boxes of hand-written notes on pages of tissue-thin airmail paper. Maybe we've got something here?

On breaks from college, we visited each other. Then, April 28, 1992, he took the big leap, packed a large military-style Duffel bag, his computer and his stereo, and arrived in the US with an open return ticket. He thought he might stay a year. Or 20....

On June 26, 1993 I married my best friend. We've walked a long winding path together. Four kids, eight international exchange daughters, three apartments, three houses, two states, two countries, a German Shepherd, and countless good friends have all been on that path, so far....

Yeah, I think we have something here. We have fun together. We work well together. Why not hang out another 20 years or so?



  1. So romantic Karen, Happy Anniversary + Congratulations! I especially love the boxes of handwritten letters (coincidentally I just posted about that!). BTW, 4 kids and all the traveling and moving around, how did you manage that? For those of us who plan on becoming expats one day, perhaps you can share that in a future post... for now, thank you for sharing your story, it's quite inspiring :)

    1. Thanks, Catherine! Wish I had a recipe for my madness that I could share. I think sometimes I live by the "put one foot in front of the other and don't look down or back!" method. But I'll definitely be thinking of some Expat tips to post once I feel I've really mastered this adjustment :)

  2. Wow. This is absolutely encouraging to read, Karen! I happened across your blog via tweet from @Livwrites, and this is perfect. You hit a few notes with the box of letters and the long term visits. :-) I'm making a third visit in three weeks to Germany to be with my gf of 18 months, and I thank you for posting about this moment of your life. It is good to read & makes me smile to think others are doing the same. Thanks, Karen!

    1. I'm so glad I can offer some encouragement! Thanks for your comments and lots of luck and best wishes to you and your gf!