In 2002, I was working as a software engineer for the now-defunct Microware Systems Corporation in Iowa. The Munich office sent over one of their field application engineers for some training on a new networking product; he must have been tired of eating alone because he asked me to come to dinner. I thought, “Why not? I might have fun and if I don’t, he lives in Germany so it’s not like I’ll ever see him again.” It must not have been too bad, because we had dinner a second time before the training was finished. Within a year we had both been laid off–such is software engineering–but we had exchanged e-mail addresses to become pen-pals. For over a decade we exchanged e-mails and postcards, living our lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic, with occasional meet-ups whenever Roland was in the country for work or on vacation.
In 2006 I took a job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and for the first time began to explore German-American culture and heritage, including beginning language lessons and learning to appreciate good beer. In 2008, I made my first visit to Germany. Slowly, our lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic began to intertwine until eventually in September 2015 we will get married and I will move across the ocean to a whole new life.