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Events 2011-2012

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  • Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On May 31st, we visited the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain. Our tour guide Ulrike welcomed us with home-made cake, watermelon and lemonade. What a treat!

     Ulrike told us the history and anecdotes about the various home owners, and about the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club, at the time an all women’s club, who saved the house in 1924 and has been in charge of its preservation ever since.
    The staircase’s hand carved spindles are all different!


    Across the street, as we exited theLoring-Greenough House, we took a peek into the oldest community theater, The Footlight Club.

    And finally, great Thai food for lunch with the group and our guide.

    Thank you Jocelyne for organizing the day and Ulrike for a wonderful tour !

  • Sunday, May 27, 2012 6:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our group met historical Rockport, located 40 miles northeast
    of downtown Boston. We had ample time to explore this picturesque postcard
    town, nestled next to Gloucester and enjoy a leisurely lunch.

    Farida K:
    “Doris planned a lovely visit to Rockport. We started our visit by having lunch in a restaurant with a magnificent ocean view. After that we strolled around to the various shops and boutiques.
    The icing on the cake was we got to watch a piano recital performed by an amateur student at the fantastic Rockport music hall. The tour ended with having the infamous apple strudel for dessert. Once again thank you, Doris for arranging an amazing tour!! You do such a fantastic job as always!! Truly appreciate all your efforts!!?

    “A delightful day. But bittersweet! Farida’s description captures the marvelous time we had – making it all the harder for us to accept that it was the last of the Lunch Bunch gatherings to be arranged by Doris as Chair of this group, because she will step down at the end of the current IWCB year. Thank heavens she has promised not to abandon us altogether (on a less official basis another tour is being planned)…a great consolation!”

  • Friday, May 25, 2012 6:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the sculptor’s studio in Medford:

  • Thursday, May 24, 2012 6:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. We had lunch at their new Café G before exploring their new Renzo Piano designed wing.

  • Sunday, May 20, 2012 6:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hindusthani classical music is the north Indian style of classical music. The tradition was born out of a cultural synthesis of several musical traditions namely:

    1)      The Vedic ritual chant dating back to approx. 1000 BC (about 3000 yrs ago)

    2)      The equally ancient Persian music tradition

    3)      Various folk traditions prevalent in the region.

    This music has been evolving since the 12th century primarily in North India and Pakistan. Today Hindusthani music  is one of the two sub-genres of Indian classical music. The other being Carnatic music (the classical music of South India).  Each is very different in the style of rendering.

    An aspect of Hindusthani  music is  its tradition of religious neutrality. This is because  sufi saints of those areas who were moderate muslims also believed in spirituality, and because of that, to this day you  find muslim singers singing the praises of hindu Indian gods and vice versa.  Some of the greatest hindusthani singers in India are muslim.  The melodic systems were fused with ideas from Persian music through influence of these sufi composers and later in the moghul courts of Moghul emperors. North India was occupied and ruled for centuries by invading Moslem kings from moslem countries.  Some of them were also patrons of music and promoted Hindusthani classical music  in their courts as they came into closer contact with Hindus.

    With the dissolution of the Moghul empire, the patronage of Hindusthani music continued in the smaller princely kingdoms of India and thus the music continued to evolve and the “Bhakti” and “Sufi” traditions continued to develop.  Early 20th century also saw the spread of this music and its appreciation to the masses.

    Hindusthani classical music (north Indian) has 7 basic notes with 5 interspersed half notes. This makes it a 12 note scale.

    Combination of ascending and descending notes of not less than 5 and not more than 7 notes make a Raag. There are hundreds of ragas and they are sung at different  times of day and night and also different seasons of the year. Verses sung within the Raagas are generally in praise of Gods or expressions of human emotions.


    Tanpura – 4 stringed instrument that produces an accompanying drone to vocals.

    Harmonium – Wind instrument reed box similar to a western harmonica.

    Tabla – Set of two drums – one for each hand – produces different sounds.


  • Sunday, May 20, 2012 6:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dance from Spain, Music from India

    We had a good turnout for this event.  As usual, we started with a relaxed, leisurely potluck lunch which featured a variety of interesting dishes including some elaborately decorated special seafood delicacies from Japan kindly offered by our guest Mrs Hammi H, wife of the Consul General of Japan. 

    Attendees: Lalitha R, Sandra C, Ines A, Maria V, Meera G, Iko B, Marie-Alice G, Diana L, Elaine M, Pauline W, Judith M, Robin G, Mary S, Leona M, Mary Louise Hartley,

    Guests:  Mrs. Hammi H, (wife of the Consul General of Japan), Julie (UK), Joanna (USA). 


    We are fortunate to have some very talented artists in our organization. Two of our members shared the dance and musical traditions from their countries. It was an enriching experience as you will see from the attached video clips.

    The program opened with dancing.  Maria V, a native of Spain, demonstrated the popular flamenco-style traditional dance form from Seville, Spain called  Sevillana.  Maria told us how she secretly learned the dance just before she got married so she could surprise her husband, (who is from the southern Spain) at their wedding.

    Maria started with a colorful PowerPoint presentation that described the history, background and cultural evolution of the dance. She talked about the diversity in Spain, the differences between the Flamenco dance and the Sevillana dance form, both dating back to the 1400’s.

    Maria noted that the FERIAS (fairs) play an important role in Spanish life.  The main Ferias are in Sevilla, Córdoba, Jaen, Huelva and Granada.

    One of the best known is Sevilla Feria de Abril(held in April). It originated with the traders doing cattle trading and bullfights and traveling from town to town. Today it is a major fiesta and celebration. Women dress up in their traditional costumes and drive around in old fashioned horse drawn carriage. There is dancing and partying. There are little restaurants called casetas for food and drink. These are mostly privately owned but there are some public casetas too.

    Another Feria is the Romería de El Rocio. It is held in May.  It is more religious, (Pentecostal).. Every year a procession of pilgrims travel to the Chapel of Almonte in Huelva, carrying the Virgin of El Rocio around the village. The Chapel was set up by Alfonso X The Wise, after he conquered the area from the Muslims in 1200.

    It is a long, hard, pilgrimage over hills and across rivers and the roads are rough and dusty. People pray, dance, sing and walk, for a week. People from all walks of life participate from the ordinary folk to the Royal family, celebrities and the Pope.

    Yet another Feria is called Las Cruces de Mayo.  The legend is that Emperor Constaintine I, in the sixth year of his reign, confronted the Barbarians on the banks of the Danube, in a battle where victory was believed to be impossible because of the great size of the enemy army. One night, Constantine had a vision of a cross in the sky, and by it the words “In hoc signo vincis” (With this sign, you shall be victorious). The emperor had a cross made and put it at the front of his army, which won an easy victory over the enemy multitude. On returning to the city and learning the significance of the cross, Constantine was baptized as a Christian and gave orders to construct Christian churches.  So, to this day, people set up creative, decorative crosses all around the city. There are competitions and awards given for the best patio cross, best street cross, school cross, town hall cross, shop cross, church cross, park cross etc…

    People gather in groups and they walk the city from cross to cross, and go from bar to bar for drinks and tapas. Around the city there are open spaces for dancing.  It is a time to celebrate!

    Maria then described the do’s and dont’s of the typical fashion and accessories (peinetas,flowers, mantilla) of a flamenco/sevillana outfit. For details see the pictures at:

    Maria then demonstrated three dances accompanied by music (guitar and castanets) and the beat set by the clapping of the palms of the audience members to three dance songs:

    • “Pueblos de Andalucía” (About white villages in Andalucia: mountains or sea coast, white and bright in the sun).
    • “Quiero cruzar la bahia” (About life in the seaside, sailing in Huelva).
    • “Tócala” (A traditional dance typical to the whole of Spain).

    It was great fun, especially at the end when everyone got a chance to join Maria on the stage and learn a few steps.

    After the dance, Meera G from India presented.  She has had voice coaching lessons in Indian classical singing for many years and continues to do so to this day. The genre that she is being trained in is Hindustani classical. She brought with her several Indian instruments that typically accompany a Hindustani Classical concert, (the tanpura, harmonium and tabla). She explained the role of these instruments and demonstrated how they work. She spoke little about the history of Hindustani music, which originated 1000 BC, (about 3000 yrs ago).  Meera explained the music theory and then she sang several songs.  For those of you who are interested in learning more, Meera kindly wrote up a a one-page summary describing this ancient genre of music which has its origins in Vedic Hindu tradition and Persia and the Sufi tradition.

    Many of the audience members commented on how they were lulled into a trance like state by Meera’s beautiful voice.

    - submitted by Lalitha

  • Thursday, April 26, 2012 6:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Tracy took a few photos of the Neighborhood Coffee in Wellesley.

    Thank you Sandra and Tracy for hosting.

  • Thursday, April 12, 2012 6:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many of the members have moved around the world settling for years at a time in countries with unfamiliar cultures, and even a move within the US can feel like being in another country. We all have interesting anecdotes and stories to share about our life experiences.

    For the April 12th event we had a small intimate group. We started with a relaxed, leisurely lunch then we formed an informal circle to just chat and connect. We spent the next couple of hours laughing non stop as we shared some very funny stories about how we each adjusted to living in an unfamiliar environment. What I discovered was that we have some budding comedians in our group – very funny storytellers!


    Ines A, Sandra C, Brigitte F, Lalitha R, Elaine M, Maria V, Brigitte K, Mary Louise H,

    This is the one event where I did not take notes as I was too busy laughing! However, since you know who attended, feel free to ask the ladies to tell you their story next time you meet! I am sure you have one or two to share yourself. But just as a teaser, let me give you some highlights:

    Ines spoke about the concept of time and punctuality in Venezuela as compared to the USA in the context of children’s birthday parties and play dates.  Venezuelans are more relaxed about arriving on time so at her child’s birthday party, the movie was running 15 minutes late.  The US parents arrived punctually, so Ines invited them to please come in and have some refreshments and relax but the parents refused to sit. They just stood at the back with their arms crossed waiting for the movie to end, which was quite perplexing for Ines and her husband! In Venezuela children’s birthday parties were always an opportunity for parents to visit as well.

    Sandra talked about adjusting to a new life and the cultural plusses and minuses of living in the Netherlands as an American/Ecuadorian and the challenges of getting to know the Dutch as friends and neighbors, eating habits, setting limits and more.

    Marie Louise, as a Canadian, was surprised at the “all work and no play” attitude of Americans and was unhappy about how it negatively impacted her family’s quality of life and work/life balance when her husband accepted a position in the US and was pulled into the same mindset, ie. work comes first.

    Brigitte F from France spoke of her adventures as an au pair for a family in Harvard MA and how at a party she ended up unexpectedly meeting and dancing with a member of the Kennedy family who then made it easy for her to get a green card without the usual runaround and paperwork — A Cinderella story of sorts.

    Brigitte K drove in the US like she would on the German autobahn – very fast – She told us how she avoided getting a speeding ticket in the US – the officer let them off once he heard her husband’s heavy Norwegian accent.

    Elaine M as a young married student moved from New York to Brighton, MA. She was hilarious as she recounted tales of how her landlord stole her husband’s tie and brazenly wore it in front of them, how they had their car stolen – twice (?) and how their apartment building had a fire and was cordoned off by yellow tape, but Elaine and her husband, after a long tiring day, blissfully unaware, crossed the line and went into their apartment and slept there anyway only realizing the severity of the situation the next morning!!

    Maria V had to leave early so we did not get her story.

    Lalitha R – my story is about coconut oil.  In a tropical climate like India my mother applied a few drops of coconut oil to my hair everyday when she braided my long hair to keep it healthy, conditioned and shiny. Unfortunately when we moved to Geneva, Switzerland and my mother once again lovingly braided my hair using coconut oil the results were disastrous. Not so funny when you are an awkward pre-teen but definitely hilarious when I think back now! The Swiss cold winter temperatures caused the coconut oil to congeal on my well groomed head and the cute boy sitting next to me in class looked at me with wide eyed horror, pointed at my head and asked “What happened??? “ My head was caked with lovely strips of congealed white coconut oil!!!!!

    We only have two more events left before we take a break for the summer. I hope you will all make an effort to join us.

    - Submitted by Lalitha

  • Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We spent the day in Harvard Square!  Lunch was at Grafton Street Pub. 

    After lunch, we walked to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, located on the opposite end of Harvard Yard. This small museum houses the world-renowned glass flowers

  • Tuesday, April 10, 2012 6:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Farida has awakened our taste buds! Sharing her culture, skills and knowledge, she has whet our appetites with seasonings, smells, colors & flavors as vast in variety as the regions of India.

    Farida took on an almost impossible task; to teach an “art”.  Indian cooking is a culinary art based on taste and technique rather than precise proportions and exact recipes. With a well organized presentation, she identified key ingredients, demonstrated basic steps, and tuned our ears to the all-important “sizzle” of spices in oil. With a touch of this, a pinch of that, she created a multi-dish feast for our eyes and appetites. We left her gracious table inspired with newly acquired cooking confidence, ready to try her delicious recipes in our own kitchens.

    Thank you Farida!

    - Submitted by Judy T.

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