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Letter from the President As I begin my 3rd month of being the president of AWO, I can’t help but feel a sense of joy and pride to be able to lead such a fantastic organization. This organization has not only brought new life to my time here in Moscow but also a new sense of worth. You see there are always changes in our lives especially when you’re an expat and even more so with children. For me both these factors have played a role in where I am today. One day you’re a career driven woman, a go getter, a workaholic, trendsetter in your field blazing the tracks of success and heading for that career goal! Then the next you know you have been swept off your feet to a new country and new environment, but that doesn’t stop you. Then the real game changer arrives..... children. It’s not until then you realize that life would never be the same. Yes, you can choose to have both career and family, yes you can also be fantastic at both but moving around every couple of years and now being “The Wife That Follows” doesn’t make it easy.

One thing for sure I would not give any of it up! This is now my life (well until the kids go off to college... well maybe not that long or we are no longer the nomadic family). Wherever I have gone I have always made it work, and that’s why I am so grateful for organizations like the AWO. Organizations like this give women like me an opportunity to do more but still gives us the leverage to be who we now are, the traveling wives. There is always a need wherever your talent lies. Let us know what you would like to do, what do you enjoy doing or miss doing? I know we could put your your talent to great use. Thank you for becoming members of this wonderful organization and please continue sharing your ideas and recommendations, to help us continue being the awesome organization that we are. It’s never to late to make a difference or for change. Michele

List of Contents

3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 14

Notes from the Editor

Events of the Month

Save the Date for the Upcoming Events

Invitation for the Annual General Meeting

Review: Spaso House Visit

Interest Group in Spotlight

Review: Spread Sunshine

Take a ‘Fearless Beauty’ treatment and Support Speransky Hospital

Welcome New Members!

15 17 18 20 22 23

Celebrating the International Women’s Day in Russia

Review: Lunch Bunch!

Event Reminders

Special Offers for AWO Members

Your 2018 AWO Board

Photo Credits and AWO Online

March 2018 / 2 !

Rehearsal for the spring… March is the month of many hopes and promises. Promises that the blossoming flowers make or the hopes of the bashful sun, and the faith in establishing gender equality in the world. Thus, it is a nice way to start the month by visiting the “Spring Flowers Festival”, right before the International Women’s Day celebrations take place. I have always admired how the Russians celebrate this day and was wondering what makes it more special in Russia. If you are also interested, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the nice article about the event, written by one of our fellow members. Speaking of the fellow members, I’m sure you have noticed the wonderful photos used in this issue. Thanks to our Photography Interest Group coordinator, this month’s Newsletter radiates with spring colors. 

Art is a nice way of getting a grip of the country, especially if you live there as an expat. I have 2 recommendations for the art enthusiasts, both of which would bring out the history from the books and come to life. There is one more event that I think would be quite interesting to attend. Moscow will be celebrating its first Mos/Food! festival in the coming days. The promise is to provide more than 4.5 million kilograms of food products in 1,500 venues! Remember to attend the “free guided walking tours” before you enjoy the food though, before you indulge yourselves with all the calories you may gain during the festival! Irem

Events of the month Arrival of the Spring Flower Festival - until March 18th, 2018 // Apothecaries’Ogorod Botanical Garden The MSU’s botanical garden, the Apothecaries’Ogorod, will hold the largest winter exhibition of tulips and spring plants in Russia. Almost 10,000 tulips, narcissuses, crocuses, hyacinths, lilies, lilies of the valley, snowdrops and magnolia will bloom ahead of their natural cycle for people in Moscow to enjoy. For more information visit: Free Guided Walking Tours - March 9, 10, 13, 15 -17, 2018 // Various Locations There’ll be nine free walking tours around Moscow, starting on March 9th and ending on the first day of the Mos/Food! festival, March 17th. The tours will be dedicated to the history of festivals and fairs in the capital. Each tour will last from one and a half to two hours, guided by the guides of the city project "Walking in Moscow". If you wish to participate in any of the tours, you should register in advance via the project site: MOS/FOOD! Festival - March 17 - 18, 2018 // Various Locations The Mos/Food! Festival will open in Moscow on 17 and 18 March, with over 1,500 venues offering more than 4.5 million kilograms of food products. The vast variety of products will include fish products of the Crimea, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad and Murmansk regions; dairy products from local producers, as well as delicacies, sweets, groceries, vegetables and fruits. The festival will also include workshops, competitions and musical animations for its visitors. Check out the Municipality’s website for the confirmed locations of the festival: “On the Edge of Color” Exhibition - until April 22nd, 2018 // Institute of Russian Realist Art If you are a fan of realist art and haven’t yet exhausted your interest with a visit to the Tretyakov Gallery, then you might be interested to see Russia’s single largest private collection of realist art. Located in a former cotton print factory, the massive collection spreads over four floors. For more information visit: Paintings of Russian History - until July 24th, 2018 // Tretyakov Gallery The Tretyakov Gallery opens a new exhibition this month dedicated to the works of Russian history painter Vasily Surikov, as well as pieces by his contemporaries – V. Smirnov, G. Sedov, K. Makovsky, K. Lebedev and others. The exposition is complemented by sculptures by M. Antokolsky, M. Mikeshin and S. Tselinsky. The themes explored in these works are mainly taken from the times of Rus’ of the 16th-18th centuries. For more information, visit:  

March 2018 / !4

March 7th, 2018, Wednesday: “Fearless Beauty Day” event from Expat Salon. All profit from the event will go to Speransky Children’s Hospital (see page 13 for details) March 15th, 2018, Thursday: “Moscow Side by Side” Exhibition Opening (see page 13 for details) March 18th, 2018, Sunday: Russian Folk Art Festival "Dance and Sing, my Russia!” at the State Kremlin Palace. (see page 13 for details) March 28th, 2018, Wednesday: AWO Annual General Meeting (see page 6 for details)

COFFEE MORNINGS All AWO Coffee Meetings are held in Cafe Russe, main floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Tverskaya Ulitsa 3 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

March 14 April 11 & 25 May 16 & 30

Thanks to our Sponsors!

March 2018 / !5

March 2018 / 6 !

Review: Spaso House Visit The AWO kicked off the new year with their first event in January, held at the beautiful Spaso House, residence of the US Ambassador and his family. The lovely Mary Kaye Hunstman, wife of the Ambassador, opened her historic home to the ladies of the AWO with a special invitation extended to all members during her visit to our meeting. The event which took place on January 23rd, took the format of a tea and coffee social with almost all our members in attendance. The warm welcome and hospitality received from Mrs. Huntsman and her staff made us all feel at home, as she opened the first floor of her residence allowing us all to wander around to fully absorb the beauty of each room. The intricate details of each room which had its own story, personality and style allowed us to imagine with ease the many fabulous events past and present which were also honored to take place in such a

by Michel Kuhlen

beautiful setting. The added personal touches of Mrs. Huntsman did not go unnoticed, as family photos and the friendly house dog created a homely atmosphere which brought new life to the beautiful historic home. Mrs. Huntsman herself even gave a few of the ladies a mini tour and shared historic information about the residence, along with a sneak peak of her and the Ambassador’s favorite room, a warm den filled with books and a cozy fireplace. It was a great morning filled with history, warmth, great company, and refreshments. A social coffee morning bringing members together with an opportunity to visit one of Moscow’s most beautiful and historic residences. Thank you once again Mrs. Huntsman for hosting the AWO Ladies and sharing your beautiful home with us. It was absolutely a pleasure!

March 2018 / 7!

March 2018 / !8

Interest Group in Spotlight:

by Deborah Hoehner and Irem Sunar

This month we’ve talked to Deborah who is coordinating the Photography IG in our Club. We’ve talked about how the IG members learn about photography and inspire each other, as well as their ongoing projects. Before we start talking about the interest group, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? First of all, I really want to thank Judy Peacock, because she is the one who initiated this group, gave so much form to it and has organized so much of it. She always has hundreds of creative ideas going on through her mind of what we could do and it has made it such a interesting and fun group. I am presently a freelance portrait and documentary photographer in Moscow. I have been taking photos all my life but on a typical amateur film and point-andshoot camera. In the spring 2009, a couple of months before I moved to Moscow, I finally got this urge to ‘try’ photography. My sister, Susan, and sister-in-law, Caren, had through the years taken photos of their children and captured many now cherished moments. My father, too, many years earlier, had been interested in photography. It surprises me that I didn’t pick up photography earlier on as I have always been a person who is best inspired visually.

How many people do you have in the Photography IG now? When do you meet? We have around 16 people in the group and our meetings, or photography walks, are twice a month on Thursday mornings.

What do you expect from the participants? Eagerness to learn! We all can learn something new from each other, professional or amateur, whether it’s a skill or someone’s perspective of what they photograph.

On my 40th birthday, I decided to treat myself to my first SLR camera! How touched I was to find out that my sister had gathered enough money from friends and family to cover the cost of my camera and lens! From that time on I began living in Moscow, Russia and started to develop (no pun intended!) in photography. There was a wide variety of opportunities to grow, whether taking photos of families, friends, babies, artists, ballerinas, musicians, sports events, press conferences, at theaters and concerts, in a studio, and the list goes on. It gave me so much joy to be able to give these photos to people. In 2013, Caren and I started a photo blog, in order to push each other to do better. Little did we know that eventually we would both begin photography businesses!

March 2018 / !9

Do the participants need to have a proper camera to attend your meetings or any digital camera would do the trick? (How about smartphones?) Of course I don’t want to admit this, but absolutely not. The other day, I saw someone’s image on their iPhone that they took and it was stunning. There are many factors of what makes a ‘good’ photo, like composition and the light available, but the most important factor is the person who is taking the photo. So a person can bring whatever camera or device, with which they take photos, and can be sure to get results!

So when a member comes to your meetings, can she expect to improve her skills after let’s say one meeting? What should we expect from the Photography IG meetings, apart from enjoying the company of great women? Yes, there is always a new skill to learn and it is so satisfying to go away with something on which I can work or improve in. Also, everyone has a different perspective on the subject or object they are photographing, in a way I didn’t think about. I go away inspired by the others in the group. We also want to get people’s camera off the ‘auto’ mode onto ‘manual’, in order for you to have more control over your camera and to produce the kind of photo you have always wanted.

Are there any ongoing projects as a group? We meet at the beginning, middle and end of the year to discuss our vision and goals for the following term. One of the ongoing projects we are doing is finding letters of the Russian alphabet in objects. We would eventually like to make a poster and/or cards with these letters to use as gifts or for raising money for Nastenka. Here are a few that we have gathered, which are the letters ‘AWO’ in Russian and in English:

Photography walks is another project of our group. We have started taking turns with leading these times. A person chooses what skill they would like to learn and the location in which to try the new skill. Apart from this, we get to visit different parts of Moscow where maybe we have never been before and then go away with images that we can reminisce about later when we move. Trips are our third project. We took an overnight trip to Suzdal and even thought it was 30 below temperatures, we had a ball! There was so much beauty to photograph. Another trip was taken to Nikola Lenevits and this March some of the members, along with others, are heading to Lake Baikal.

Thank you Deborah for answering our questions and for leading the Photography IG. If you have any questions, you may contact Deborah during coffee mornings or via mail:

March 2018 / !10

Spread Sunshine

by Danielle Kuznetsov

This past month there was a troupe from the Bolshoi that came in and did a Nutcracker performance for the children. It was breathtaking and the kids LOVED it! For those children who were not able to get out of bed, several ballerinas stayed later and went room to room visiting those in bed and passing out small gifts. The mood was quite jubilant not only on the children's part but also expressed by the mothers who stay for the duration of the treatment program. It was a breath of fresh air! The Spread Sunshine Interest Group has some big changes taking place, as the Nastenka Foundation is undergoing a growth plan and restructuring. We are now ordering the groceries for the Ronald McDonald kitchen online with delivery. This is a vital part of our participation at the hospital as the groceries serve the 50 parents who take care of their children. We currently have a budget of 16,000 rubles per month, but receive 13,000 from the raffles. The board is looking into ways to revitalize this and creatively meet the needs these families have. To that end, we are asking for donations of aluminum foil. YEP! You heard that right. The RM kitchen needs foil. At present, they go through 1-2 rolls per day as the foil is not only used in the kitchen, but also to cover the medicine drip machines that deliver the children's IV drips. We are hoping to collect 60 rolls of aluminum foil which will then free up our budget to buy some other needed items not provided in the hospital setting.

Please stay tuned for more information. If any of you are interested in donating time and talent, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. We have a place for you! My contact info is or 985-613-6195. I look forward to working together to make a difference in the life of a child with cancer.

March 2018 / !11

March 2018 / !12

Let us  introduce  you  two  of  the  children  who  will  benefit  from     your  participation  to  the  Fearless  Beauty!  

Polina Slepova,  12  y.o.   Polina went to a barbecue with her family. The lighter fluid was standing close to the fire and exploded. Polina’s coat caught on fire, leaving her with severe chemical burns on her face. As if it wasn’t enough, two years ago Polina’s mother was diagnosed with a severe illness. Polina and her four siblings were scattered among relatives. She now lives with her grandmother. Polina is a very active girl. She loves horseriding and kayaking. Unfortunately, her grandmother cannot spend a lot of time with her, because she has to take care of Polina’s younger brothers and sisters, so at 12 Polina has to be an adult and do almost everything by herself. Every club event and a trip to camp helps Polina forget about her family situation, the scars on her face and enjoy the activities she loves. A trip to the Speransky summer camp costs 40 thousand rubles.

Danya Suminin,  8  y.o.   Danya got injured four years ago, when a bottle with lighting fluid exploded while they were barbecuing. The incident has caused putting Danya, his sister and mother to the hospital for 6 months. The family now lives in Aleksandrov. This year Danya started primary school. Even though his time at school went better than he anticipated, he is still very self-conscious about his scars and the fact that he doesn’t have a lot of hair. He’s still very shy, but he needs social interactions. We hope that a trip to our camp and spending some time with other burn survivors will help him overcome this anxiety and teach him to be brave and confident. A trip to the Speransky summer camp costs 40 thousand rubles.

March 2018 / !13

Welcome New Members! This month we have three new members! A warm welcome to all the ladies who became members at our last meeting :

Lisa Tirino

Blair Galbreath

Maria Meegan

March 2018 / !14

Celebrating the International Women’s Day in Russia

by Eugenie Tsesarenko

We’ve all heard that March 8th, is a major event in Russia. So this year, before the start of the celebrations, we asked one of our local members, our lovely Membership and Monday Updates Coordinator, Eugenie to give us some insight on how the International Women’s Day is celebrated around here. So Eugenie, can you tell us what makes it so different from other countries? It is the Russian version (up until recently) of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day combined. Regardless of the newer adopted holidays, International Women’s Day (IWD) reminds us of what women’s rights campaigns fought for and later what feminism achieved across the globe. I think the beauty of 8th of March is the fact that even if you are not in a couple or a mother yet you are celebrated for being a woman and the complicated web of what that means. This is a holiday for ALL women. A tradition rooted in a darker history but as women are historically known to rise despite, above and through harsh times it became a special day in our hearts. Getting well deserved appreciation from the people in your life is priceless. Small tokens, big gestures, dinner out or a home cooked meal by the men, romantic or professional in nature - everyone finds their own way to celebrate.

Are there any customs we should follow when celebrating our friends’ Women’s Day? The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, daughters, girlfriends, colleagues, with beautiful flowers and gifts. Children give small presents, such as hand crafted cards, to their mothers and grandmothers. School children often bring gifts and flowers for their female teachers as well. Mimosas historically are associated with this holiday, nowadays any flower goes because there is an abundance of choice.

March 2018 / !15

What is your best memory from March 8 celebrations? I remember from the first few years of school in Moscow how we made cards for our moms, usually depicting a mimosa flower using glue, coloured paper and cotton. As the years went on and I moved around, 8th of March remained an important holiday, especially as an expat in Europe. One year I missed my family especially, I was living on my own in London at the time, I sent flowers to my mom in Moscow and my sister in France. When I heard their surprised, happy voices on the phone it was the best feeling knowing that I brightened up their day.

Historical Facts about International Women’s Day: International Women's Day has been celebrated since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world. In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin, a German socialist activist, proposed the idea that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to claim their rights. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval. She became the symbol of 8th of March in the USSR. On March 8, 1917 women textile workers began a demonstration, covering the whole city. This marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union. International presence: In 1909, a march organized by the Socialist Party of America saw 15,000 march through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In Australia in 1928, the first IWD rally in Sydney called for equal pay for equal work, basic wages for unemployed and annual holidays on full pay. IWD was popular in North America by the rise of feminism in the 1960s. In 1975, which had been designated as International Women’s Year, the United Nations officially recognised and began sponsoring International Women's Day. The United States designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'. IWD is now an official holiday in over 30 countries worldwide.

March 2018 / !16

Review: Lunch Bunch!


by Wendy Soucy

The Lunch Bunch Interest Group had a wonderful first lunch of the year in February at the Ichibanboshi restaurant on Krasnaya Presnya. A big thank you to Ai for arranging a private room and a special menu for the AWO. We were able to meet the chef himself and thank him for the delicious meal. The private room allowed for private conversation and Chef Kishimoto prepared a beautiful menu full of fresh, plentiful, delicious delicacies at an amazing price. Not only did the food taste delicious but was beautifully presented. If you are looking for good Japanese food - this is the place to go! Bon AppĂŠtit! ( +7 499 790 0379 for reservations)

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March 2018 / 1! 8

Do not miss this amazing, unforgettable, and colorful event, the all-Russian Folk Art Festival "Dance and Sing, my Russia!" on March 18 at the State Kremlin Palace!!!  The festival consists of around 1000 artists from the best academic groups (dance, ensembles, choirs) around Russia !!!  Some included in the program are: - The Choir of the Sretensky Monastery,  - The legendary State Academic Dance Ensemble named after Igor Moiseyev,  - The renowned State Academic Choir named after Pyatnitsky, - The Moscow State Dance Theater "Gzhel"  The event is for all ages! You can purchase tickets at the Kremlin Palace ticket office, or electronically here: node/10708567

March 2018 / !19



Introduction Offer Recieve 100Rb discount on your pre-order during the coffeemorning on Wednesday 15th of March •

White Walkers snow and ice cleats are easy to use strap-ons for most types of winter shoes, made from durable rubber.

The spikes that are molded into the rubber allow for more grip and stability during icy and snowy conditions, using the same principle as winter tires for cars.

Walk safely and naturally on packed snow and ice. Prevent yourself from slipping, risking injuries.

March 2018 / !20

Every guest who has a first visit to RC Spa during March, will be given the opportunity to visit the Spa the second time with a complimentary upgrade (for Spa treatment from 60 min to 90 min) or a discount -30% for the Spa treatment. In addition to this offer, every guest who has a La Prairie facial in March is given a deposit for 5000 rub for any cosmetic purchases or Spa treatment.

The top choice among expatriates, US Dental Care’s English-speaking staff provide the highest level of dental care in a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest in dental diagnostic and treatment technology. Visit their facility and receive 15% off the first visit and 5% off thereafter.

March 2018 / !21

Your 2018 AWO Board

Michele Kuhlen

Becky Zenkevich

Nori Minnis

Michelle Rowe

President, Charity Liaison

Vice President, FAWCO REP, Facebook



Irem Sunar - Ozat

Dawn Biyashev

Susan Partridge

Rini Judy

Monday Updates



Interest Groups

Eugenie Tsesarenko Membership Monday Updates

Wendy Soucy

Danielle Kuznetsov


Spread Sunshine

March 2018 / 22

PHOTO CREDITS: Page 1: Deborah Hoehner Page 2: Deborah Hoehner; Freepik Page 7-8: Deborah Hoehner Page 9: Portrait by Caren Louise Photographs The Church by Deborah Hoehner Page 10: Deborah Hoehner Page 11: Danielle Kuznetsov

Find Us Online! awomoscow/

Profile for The American Women’s Organization of Moscow

The American Women's Organization of Moscow - Newsletter for March 2018 (redacted copy)  

The American Women's Organization of Moscow - Newsletter for March 2018 (redacted copy)  

Profile for awomoscow