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Meet your new neighbor – Mark Greene

Mark has lived many places, but right now Blue Earth is his home

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Oct 10, 2021

Mark Greene sips a cup of coffee at Average Joe’s. Though he chose black coffee this time, he shares he also enjoys pure black Caribbean rum, which, of course, is not offered on the restaurant’s menu.

Your new neighbor has actually lived in Blue Earth for two and a half years. He moved here after living in many places around the world.

We sat down for a cup of coffee and conversation about life around the world – as well as small town life – with Mark Greene, on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

What is your name?

“Mark Greene,” Mark confirms. “It’s English so it has an ‘e’ on the end, and it once was spelled DeGrene. My family changed it to Greene way back when.”

Will you share your age?

“Sure, I’m 67,” Mark says. “But I once told a little boy I was 247 and he believed me.”

Where are you from?

“My family was originally from England,” Mark says. “But I was born here, in America, in Connecticut.”

Since he has lived in so many places around the world, Mark says it is very hard for him to answer the question of where is he actually ‘from.’

“I moved to Blue Earth from Waterloo, Iowa, where I had lived for about three years,” he says as an attempted answer.

How would you describe that place in three words?

“Very much midwestern.”

Why did you leave?

“I only lived in Waterloo because it was the only place I could find a reasonable apartment when I moved back to the U.S. after living abroad,” Mark explains. “So when I bought a house in Blue Earth, I left there.”

How did you find Blue Earth?

“I found a house for sale here on the Internet,” Mark says. “But when I came to Blue Earth to look at it, I didn’t like it. But I did like the house nearby, and bought it instead.”

Who did you bring with you?

“No one,” he says. “I am alone, but I really don’t mind being solitary. I keep pretty busy.”

He adds, however, that since moving here he has acquired a cat named Kiki from his neighbors.

How would you describe Blue Earth in three words?

“Small town environment.”

What do you like to do in Blue Earth?

“I work on my truck and my car and my motorcycle,” Mark says. “And my house. I guess I am into maintenance, restoration and improvements.”

You may have seen Mark driving around Blue Earth in his little white convertible or his 350cc Harley Davidson motorcycle. 

What do you like to do no matter where you are?

“The same things,” Mark says quickly. “And I know this makes me sound strange, but I like to visit my pantry. It is always full of very interesting items.”

Since he spent years teaching English in several foreign countries, one thing he likes to do wherever he is, is to explore the country where he is living at the time. That included riding his motorcycle through the Cambodian countryside when he lived there.

What did you do for a job during your life?

“I’m actually on my third career, which I call house restoration,” Mark laughs. His first career was serving in the U.S. Navy, on submarines. That lasted 20 years. He was stationed in San Diego, Pearl Harbor and Connecticut.

“I was a machinist mate in the Navy,” he explains. “I ran the engine room on diesel subs.”

His second career was teaching English in countries such as China, Chile and Cambodia.

“After the Navy I went to Michigan Tech and got a degree in English and intercultural management,” he explains. “I taught English in Asia for quite a while, 15 years.”

What is something about you that would surprise people?

“That I have lived such a different life than they have,” he says. “But that I also get along with people well.”

How do you hope to surprise yourself in the future?

“I have what I want and need, so I really don’t need anything,” he says. “But maybe I’ll go back overseas sometime. But with COVID, who knows.”

He also talks about taking a motorcycle ride sometime up into Canada, to Labrador.

Do you see a future for yourself here in Blue Earth?

“I think of it as a transitory adventure,” Mark says, after a pause, about living in Blue Earth. “Who knows what will happen.”

Are you a Jolly Green Giant or a Sprout?

“I enjoy life wherever I am,” Mark says mysteriously. “And I always make the best of it.”

Maybe that means he is a little bit of both.

What is your favorite green vegetable?

“Asparagus,” Mark quickly replies. “Fresh asparagus, that is.”

What is your favorite thing to eat that is not a vegetable?

“Prahok,” Mark says with a big smile. “It is a Cambodian fish meal, like anchovies. I like it with hot sauce and black beer.”

What are you drinking today and what is your favorite beverage?

Mark was drinking black coffee, but he says he does have a favorite drink from his many travels around the world.

“I enjoy pure black Caribbean rum,” he says. “I drank it in the Virgin Islands.”