Mark:Born 10 January 1967 in Lakeland, Florida, USA
Lakeland, Florida is a town small enough to keep you out of trouble, but large enough to prevent you from dying of boredom... for at least 16-17 years... then it hits you like a rock from outer space.
I spent a typically floridian childhood swimming, hanging out at beaches, going to Disney and enjoying holidays under palm trees right through high school (Lakeland Senior High School, yep, I was a Dreadnaught, class of '85), with the exception of a year of school in Hamburg, Germany in the sixth grade ('77-'78): lived with relatives to learn the language and the culture of my parents' birth.
In 1985, I moved to Lexington, Virginia to study at Washington and Lee University: a (for US standards) very old institution nestled in the Shenandoah Valley in the Appalachian Mountains (right off the Blue Ridge Parkway). Life here was incredible: W&L prided itself in it's superb teacher:student ratio - small classes where the prof.'s knew you by name and people actually greeted each other.
Between classes, there was time to grab your books and head out into the countryside: Goshen Pass, a gorge where the Maury River passes through Little North Mountain, had quite a few rocks where I spent hours ready and studying with my feet dipped into the cool waters. To this day, I find the area around the Shenandoah to be one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
three semesters there before returning to Lexington for my final year
at W&L in 1989 - then grabbed my diploma and headed for Europe: lived in Hamburg (where my mother was born) for eleven years, then Düsseldorf (for a job with Citigroup which had me pendeling between Düsseldorf and Brussels), then Frankfurt (where I met Kalle) and finally to Munich: home of my father and my grandfather - and probably quite a few generations before that as well!
So, here I am today: a Floridian stuck inbetween the cold North Sea and a Alps - and I'm lovin' it!