Kinetic PT - February 2019


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I confess I can’t really remember the last time Emilie and I have gone out on Valentine’s Day. In fact, we’re both usually working here at the clinic when the 14th lands on a weekday. I don’t see this as a bad thing though. After all, physical therapy is what brought us together in the first place. As some of you may know, my wife and I met while studying at The Hogeschool Van Groningen in the Netherlands. The Dutch college had a highly respected manual therapy program, attracting many students from around the world. That’s how two Midwesterners met and fell in love half a world away from home. I was going into my second year at Van Groningen when Emilie arrived on campus. We started to bond inside and outside of class, and eventually, I asked her to a local restaurant I liked. The rest, as they say, is history. We both gave our respective parents panic attacks when the time came to call and tell them we’d each met somebody. Both were convinced we’d fallen for a Dutch person and wouldn’t be coming back to the States!

To our parents’ relief, we both returned to the U.S. eventually, but we still had time to explore Europe as we completed our studies. The best way I can describe living in the Netherlands is to ask you to imagine Seattle as a country. No matter what the weather is — rain, sleet, wind, or snow — people are riding their bikes. Most weekends, Emilie and I rode around town and window shopped (being poor college students). But I got her some locally grown tulips from time to time. On longer breaks, we ventured farther afield, even taking an extended trip to Prague. This not only gave us a better perspective of the world, but also of each other. There’s no better way to find out if you really and truly love a person than by traveling with them. You’re in such close proximity at all times, in good moments as well as the stressful ones. After all the bike rides, train travel, and less than sanitary youth hostels, we weren’t sick of each other. In fact, we became way closer than ever before. That’s

when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. While our time in Europe taught us how to be close, returning to the States taught us to deal with distance. Emilie did her clinicals in Denver while I returned to Illinois, but we made it work. It helped that Emilie’s brother-in-law was a pilot who didn’t mind giving me an airlift for a visit every once in a while. On March 13, 2004, we married and set off on our next great adventure. Sometimes people ask me if it’s a challenge running a clinic as husband and wife. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Beyond being an exceptional physical therapist, an amazingly supportive partner, and a fantastic mother, Emilie is my best friend. There’s no one else I’d rather work alongside. So, regardless of whether we go out or end up working at the clinic, I can say with confidence it’s going to be a happy Valentine’s Day.

–Mike Ulmer | 1

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