August 31, 2017. Our program featured Bob and Madeleine Brown who both had lengthy memberships in Rotary. They like to travel the world and bring their travels back in the form of self-made videos which they share at local senior centers. Their Rotary careers included involvement with the Youth Exchange program where they hosted students from Sweden, Japan, and Germany.
Hosting a boy from Sweden brought an unexpected dividend as it resulted in a surprising amount of visits from an exchange student from Spain. The Spanish student wound up going to school in Germany where she met her fiancé. They kept in touch with the Spanish girl and ultimately were invited to her wedding in the Bavarian Alps. Bob and Madeleine brought their cameras and recorded the event.
The wedding was held at a 16th century chalet in a gorgeous Alpine setting. Cattle and horses roamed freely amongst the amazing floral scenery. The multi-generational family guests sang traditional songs and enjoyed wine from South Africa. The wedding was held outside under an open tent. A special surprise for the bride included a serenade by an alphorn quartet. The bride and groom tried their best to play the horns with, well, limited success. Dozens of heart- shaped red balloons were released, two of which carried away a special message.
The after ceremony included the traditional tossing of the bouquet and a ceremonial crossing of the threshold as the bride was carried through a heart-shaped hole in a large piece of cloth. The soundtrack for the video included everything from Bach to Aerosmith. The real star was the Rotary Youth Exchange program which has resulted in countless happy stories that endure long after the exchange year is over.