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deutsch wedding
By Dennis Batchelder 1 April 2005

Alison, Holly, and Jonathan didn't get to see their Aunt and Uncle and the Grand Canyon over spring break this year because we got invited to Ingmar and Nina's wedding. We've been travelling through Norway, Denmark, and Sweden on our way to Germany, so we could make it to the service and reception.

Ingmar and Nina met online a couple of years ago - Nina was sitting at home in Zagreb, surfing the 'net, and she was looking for somebody to talk to. So she opened Yahoo messenger, chose Germany as her destination, found Ingmar in the directory, and sent him a message.

Ingmar was busy working on his computer, sitting at home in his office. All of a sudden a message pops up: "Hi, I'm Nina. Do you want to talk"?

Now Ingmar is an internet security consultant. He makes his living by helping companies figure out the best way to prevent unwanted people off the comapnies' networks and computers. He helps the good guys stay safe from script kiddies and others who are more than happy to infect your system with 'bots, spam, trojans, spyware, and other bad things. So he did the sensible thing and closed the window.

Wrong! Maybe Ingmar was bored, or lonely, or maybe he really liked the name Nina. Maybe he wanted to do some research on how to clean his system after an infection, or he was testing his latest security software. Or maybe he wanted to buy a new computer, and was looking for a good excuse to upgrade. Whatever the reason, Ingmar wrote back to Nina, called her, invited her to visit, asked her to move to Germany, and asked her to marry him. Not all in the same day, of course. There are lots of other details I skipped over, like getting rabbits, starting an online tea business, Nina learning German, and finding out that they're both vegetarians and dog lovers. In a nutshell: a true and successful Internet love story.

The 22 of us are eating vegetarian food at the reception in the Kugelofen restaurant in the Weinheim Marktplatz. The wedding was in the Rathaus, conducted in German by a very nice lady. Irina says that she understood two words: "Zagreb" and "computer". Ingmar and Nina both said "Ja" and exchanged rings, and the other guests were smiling, so they must have stuck to their lines. After the pictures were taken, we went to a fancy cafe and had champagne and cake. Ingmar and Nina cut the cake together, but neither one smashed it into the other's face. Germans haven't become that Americanized, I guess.

It's pretty cool that we've reached the age where computers are now a part of our everyday lives and help us meet people directly. It's still new and exciting for me to hear of this, but that said, I guess there was a time when it was novel to have met at work (like Irina and I), or at college (like my parents, here at the wedding), or in the lobby of Beijing Telecom (like Tom and Xiaoli, also here). But I was wondering if Internet introductions are still novel, or if I had just missed the news. At the reception, there's Ingmar and Nina, and when I asked if there was anybody else, Erika and Charly spoke up.

Erika and Charly met on a German singles web site. Shrouded behind Internet anonymity, Erika had "improved" on her age by 10 years, and Charly had omitted some important details about his past. Before they met in person, they both had to do some fancy footwork to adjust each others' expectations. Since they both were guilty of omission, they forgave each other and have had a great time together for the last five and a half years.

I asked if anybody else had met on-line. Holly and Alison raised their hands, smiling. "We did, Daddy!" Nice try, girls. As Charly said, you two met in the stork.

deutsch wedding - germany