The Carlins met in the spring of 1978 on the IES Abroad Vienna Program—Don, a Business major at Boston College and Nancy, a History major at Dickinson College.
They were first introduced at a friend’s apartment near the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. Nancy discovered Don went to high school with one of her college roommates at Dickinson and was thrilled to meet someone who knew a friend of hers back home. They became fast friends.
Saturday Night Fever
A few months later, they were invited by the U.S. Ambassador to Austria to watch the new hit movie in the U.S.—Saturday Night Fever (in German, of course!)—at a U.S. Marine's House. Nancy explains, “Don walked me home and the rest was history!”
A Single Red Rose, Single No More
When the semester ended, Nancy returned home while Don continued traveling with friends. She recalls, “He took me to the airport and gave me a single red rose, which I held the entire flight home (most of which I spent crying). I knew then that this was a very special person to me.”
Happily Ever After
Despite their colleges being eight hours apart, Don and Nancy remained a couple and, Nancy says, “our relationship grew stronger and we managed to see each other as often as possible.”
After graduation, they moved to New York together and lived there for six years until they married and moved to Boston. They have one daughter who entered Elon University last fall. According to Nancy, “She has known since a very early age that study abroad would be in her future—her first trip to Austria was at the age of four!”
Keeping the Memories Alive
The Carlins have returned to Austria more than 20 times, the last time to celebrate their 50th birthdays. Nancy explains, “Our time at IES [Abroad] not only gave us a big case of the travel bug, but also a love of all things Austrian and the Alps.” Although they will not be back for a romantic Valentine’s Day trip, they do plan to have dinner and spend the night in Boston.
Humor is Key
When asked for the secret to making a marriage last, Nancy avows, “We have remained best friends to this day. That can get you through anything. And of course, when all else fails—laugh. A sense of humor is critical!”