Marks-Nino 2014 Merry Solstice Greeting

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s been an interesting year (not exactly in the “Chinese curse” sense of the word, but at least “drama filled”). Still we made it through all 12 months with our health intact, and many a high point including a wonderful whirlwind visit with Lauren and Sev in London for their first anniversary and visiting our German Family in Frankfurt and Berlin for a wedding and Octoberfest/birthday.


We visited old homes, old haunts, old friends, and old dinosaurs. The top of the wedding cake made it safely across the pond with all of its flavor. The traditional feeding your partner was greeted with some glee and some … skepticism. =) Lauren and Sev’s flat in London is in Crystal Palace, a bustling suburb of London, with a wonderful park across the street (literally a four minute walk) that features a garden of giant sculpted dinosaurs. We only had a day layover in London, and then we ran off to Frankfurt and Berlin.

In Germany we had a schedule: a Frankfurt wedding, a Berlin birthday, and research at the Evangelisches Zentralarchiv in Berlin. After that, Suzanne wanted to take time to revisit the places that made the City where we met so special, and see some sights we had never imagined we would ever see, because they were on the wrong side of the wall.


Natascha Bussinger, who we call our German daughter because she lived with us for a year when she and Lauren were in high school, invited us to be a part of her wedding and we were overjoyed. She was actually married in a civil ceremony in a government building that was 42 years old when Columbus discovered America.


Our first night in Berlin, Renate, Natascha’s mom, took us to Berlin’s finest Bayerishe Restaurant, where Octoberfest Bier and Schnitzle was consumed in great quantities. For Renate’s birthday, we turned her living room into a festive Bayerishe Bierhalle. Even the youngest guests got into the Octoberfest spirits. =)

After we completed our appointed tasks, we took a grand tour of old houses, old haunts, and beer (or Bier) which, no matter how you spell it, tastes as sweet. Sevag approved of the local brews, as did we all.



All in all it was a wonderful two weeks of sights and sounds long forgotten: tree-lined walking paths, beautiful broad meadows, farms and gardens, and the refurbished Berliner Ensemble, Berthold Brechts’ theater where the Three Penny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) was playing. It was wonderful, magical and over all too soon.



Now we are home again with Mike, who held down the fort while we were away, and the Holidays are upon us. With Mikes’s help (and Dane’s for a bit of the heavy lifting) we’ve dressed up the house for guests, friends and families. We have officially stopped all the creatures from stirring (unless it’s a sous-chef mouse whipping up a béarnaise sauce) and hung the traditional stockings by the chimney with care. The fire is lit. Sev and Lauren are in da Haus; the family is together, and all ‘tis right with the world.



From our family to yours, we wish you the merriest of Holidays for your own personal Soltice celebration of choice, and of course, the happiest, the happiest, the happiest New Year.

Love to you all.

The Festive Family Marks-Nino


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