Our youngest daughter, Emily, lives in New Zealand with her husband, Erlo. Here is my version of their story.
For the last two years I have watched as my daughter met, fell in love with and married the man of her dreams. We first heard of Erlo, practically on the day they met in Seoul, Korea, while we were on vacation in Alaska. Interestingly, we met a couple from New Zealand on that trip, and I remember how the fact that Emily had met and liked a young man from New Zealand came up often as we spent time with our new friends.
Later that summer, Emily came home to California on her way to her best friend Bethany’s wedding in Mexico. She told us then that she had met, in Erlo, someone very special. And he was waiting for her at the airport when she returned. In December, when Emily came home from Korea for Christmas, she brought Erlo with her, and we learned to love him from the very start. We took this picture when we took a family hike on January 1, 2010.
Emily came to our family vacation in Hawaii, in summer 2010 without Erlo. But the vacation was marked by talk of an upcoming wedding. Erlo and Emily came back to California when their contracts were over in Korea and lived with us for several weeks as they prepared to go to Thailand for their wedding. Technically, though, they got married in our living room, in our presence and in the presence of Erlo’s parents who joined us from New Zealand via Skype on March 25, 2011. It was a very special occasion in which we and Erlo’s parents told stories to Emily and Erlo about how and when we first recognized their love for each other and we toasted to their future.
While Erlo was here he helped me with several important landscaping tasks on our property. Since we were blessed only with daughters, it was pretty special to me to have a son around the house for several weeks. We all traveled to Koh Samui, Thailand during the first week of April for their wedding on the beach. That is where we met our new extended family and developed new friendships that will last the rest of our lives.
Emily and Erlo came back with us to California, to get their things, and for a reception for their US friends in Oakland, California on April 30. We said goodbye as they moved to New Zealand on May 5. We miss them very much, but we have enjoyed visiting with them by Skype and we plan to travel to New Zealand to spend their first Christmas as a married couple with them and with Erlo’s parents.
We are looking forward to that! Like I said above, we have learned to love Erlo and consider him just as much a part of our family as we do Emily.