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How I Met My Wife

As hard as it is for me to believe, it has now been 20 years since I met my wife. To commemorate the event, and because it’s such a good story, I’d like to document it here.

I first met my wife in Frankfurt, Germany, while we were both on our high school senior trip. I guess some background would be in order.

I grew up in Davison, Michigan, which is a suburb of Flint. I attended a small private Christian school, and for as long as I can remember (which goes back to the late 1970s), the seniors from my school went to Europe for two weeks on their senior trip.

Group photo before the trip
Group photo before the trip

Because our class sizes were small — generally 20 or so students — it was common for one or two similar Christian schools would join the trip to make for a larger tour group.

Fast-forward to the summer before my senior year of high school, 1992, when a couple who had been on staff at my school in Davison went to work at a school in the Chicago area, where my wife was a student. Upon hearing about the possibility of a senior trip to Europe, the students in my wife’s class quickly voted to join our class in Europe in May 1993.

So in May 1993, the trip began. My school’s group of students took off from Detroit Metro Airport, my wife’s school’s group of students took off from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and we met up at Newark Liberty International Airport. I remember noticing my wife there at the airport in Newark, and thinking she was cute, but of course I didn’t actually talk to her there.

As one single group, we boarded the plane in Newark and took the overnight flight to Frankfurt, arriving in the morning of May 8. To help adjust to the time change difference, our chaperones encouraged us to stay awake throughout the day. We toured downtown Frankfurt, and then went to a youth hostel, where we would have dinner and spend the night. After dinner, we held a group meeting so that everyone could meet and so we could over some general ground rules. Just before the meeting started, the principal from my school sent me through the guy’s rooms in the hostel to make sure that no one had returned to a room after dinner and fallen asleep. So after I finished this task, I arrived to the meeting a few minutes after it had started, and the only open seat was next to my wife.

The group was going around, one by one, introducing themselves by stating their name and something they liked. When it was my turn, I said my name was Nathan and that I liked music. I guess that impressed my wife. When it was her turn, she said her name was Melissa and that she liked math. Her statement received a few boo’s from some of the other kids, but I thought it was neat. After the meeting, we talked for a few minutes, and I was definitely impressed, but had no idea where things would go. My wife was much more decisive — when I left the hostel to go out for ice cream with some friends, my wife and her best friend watched us walk away, and my wife turned to her friend and said, “I’m going to marry him.”

Sure enough, we soon found out that we were attending the same college, and had many shared interests. We dated all four years of college, and were married on June 14, 1997.

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