In 2005, we hosted a dazzling young German exchange student named Philipp Beiter. He was in his final semester as an exchange student at Topeka High School. It was the start of a lifetime connection.
Although he returned to Germany for his University studies, he came to visit in the summer of 2007...
and in 2008 ...
when his parents and brother joined us as well.
It was about this time that we proclaimed ourselves to be Philipp's American parents. His parents graciously acquiesced.
Of course, he was at Samantha's and Jake's wedding in 2010
where he served as Helen's escort into the ceremony.
With Jonas and Samantha, we visited him in Paris in 2012
where he was doing his internship at the OECD.
Philipp visited us in 2013 when Ryan was living with us.
After he finished graduate school at the London School of Economics and Columbia University in 2014, he moved to Boulder. Then, in late 2014, he brought Nica for a visit. We could tell from the sparkle in his eye that Nica was special. From that point forward, it was no longer just Philipp, it was now Philipp AND Nica.
They came back for Halloween Weekend in 2015.
In 2016, along with Samantha and family, we met up with Philipp in Denver ...
and got to visit Philipp and Nica in Boulder - although I failed to get a picture. Suffice it to say that we were taking our "American Parent" role very seriously.
It was no surprise when Philipp and Nica decided to get married.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we traveled to Colorado to witness, and to be a part of, Phillip's marriage to Nica in the mountains and rustic settings of Pine, Colorado.
I was honored when Philipp asked me to be a Groomsman.
I was equally honored when he asked me to offer an after-dinner toast.
A giant Thank You to Phillip and Nica for allowing us to be a part of this special day.
An extra Thank You to Nica's wonderful family who was as gracious as Philipp's when we announced that we are a part of the Family Package.
Oh yes ... Philipp and Nica are moving to Rome for a year. The adventure continues.