Love in Freiburg - IES Abroad Alumni Chad and Marianne

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Jill Kruidenier
February 11, 2014

Chad Brumley and Marianne Judy Brumley never could have predicted what the spring of 1988 would hold when they chose the IES Abroad European Union Program. They were just two of 22 IES Abroad students from all over the United States studying in Freiburg.

The History
Chad, a Finance major at the University of Tulsa, and Marianne, an Economics major at Boston College, met on their first evening in Freiburg during a get-together in the common room of the house they all shared. Marianne explains, “Looking back, we can see that the feelings were probably there, but neither one of us was ready to acknowledge or deal with them.”

An Unofficial First Date
Marianne explains that the first time they did something just the two of them, they went to Heidelberg, where they visited the castle and the zoo, and went to Pizza Hut: “We had Hawaiian pizza, which neither of us had ever heard of, much less tried before. Now, it’s one of our favorite pizza choices, and when we do have it, we remember our time in Heidelberg.”

First Comes Love…
When the semester ended, Chad and Marianne parted as friends. Years later, in 2002, after a reunion with friends they had made on the EU Program, Chad visited Marianne in Boston, where she was living at the time. Marianne says, “Something clicked, and the romance began. We like to say we had a whirlwind courtship after 15 years of friendship.”

Just a year later, in October 2003, Chad and Marianne were married in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where Marianne spent most of her summer vacations on Lake Winnipesaukee. A few of their close friends from their time in Freiburg were also there to celebrate with the couple.

Today, Chad and Marianne live in Houston, Texas, where Chad works as a financial analyst for a Chinese energy company and Marianne is an accountant for a South African energy company. They have one son, Joshua, who is 18 months old. This year, they plan to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in Dallas with family and friends.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
If there’s one takeaway from their sweet love story, it’s that good things come to those who wait. Marianne's advice is, “Don’t rush it. If we had married right after college, it would have likely ended in divorce. We both had a lot of growing up to do, and the experiences we each had separately helped to prepare us for married life."

What's more, she says, “Marry your best friend, because when life’s challenges present themselves, you will want someone beside you who really and truly has your back. 

“And for those who are single, don’t give up, because you never know when love is going to enter, or in our case, re-enter your life. If someone had told us in our late 20s that we would someday be married to each other, we would have called them crazy!”

Read more stories like theirs all week long in our "Love in..." alumni series!

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Jill Kruidenier

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