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Newsletter DECEMBER 2019

Happy New Year!

Letter from the President What an amazing and fruitful year it has been! Our organization has been steadily increasing in membership, we rolled out a new Spread Sunshine Charity initiative and we have raised 274,700 rubles and counting for our supported charities. It is an awesome feeling being a part of an organization made up of phenomenal women from all walks of life. With each member bringing something different to the AWO table, its amazing what we have can accomplish together for others and ourselves. Our contributions will go a long way this season and into the new year to help others in need. In this season of giving we have proven as a club together we can give all year round and Spread Sunshine on those in dark circumstances. During this time when family and togetherness are key components of the season, for those whose family members aren’t near it’s nice to know we have the support and a family unit within this organization. Safe travels to those going home for the Christmas break. For those who will be in Moscow, it is a very special time to be here. Go out, see and enjoy what this beautiful city has to offer. Our December newsletter is bursting with recommendations, special offers, reviews and beautiful pictures for you to enjoy! Season Greetings My AWO Family!



Save the Date

15 News from FAWCO


Events of the Month

18 Intermark Club Events Calendar


AWO Charitable Canvas

19 Moscow Ice Rinks: Skating in the City


Sock Drive

20 Special Offers for AWO Members


News from the Editor

28 AWO Interest Groups

10 Review: Thanksgiving Brunch

31 AWO 2019-2020 Board Members

11 Green News

32 Thank You to our Sponsors & Donors

12 Spread Sunshine Updates

33 Credits

3 December 2019

Save the Date for: The Annual Christmas Bazaar December 3, 10:00 -13:00.


British Ambassador’s Residence.


AWO Charitable Canvas December 4, 10:30 - 14:30. The Philippine Embassay. (More information on page 7.)

Our Coffee Mornings take place at:

O2 Lounge The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Tverskaya Ulitsa 3. from 11:00 - 13:00

mo r ni


on December 11, 2019 January 15 and 29, 2020 February 12 and 26, 2020.

4 December 2019

Events of the Month: Journey to Christmas - December 13, 2019 - January 12, 2020 Christmas and the New Year will be celebrated for an entire month this year! From December 13, 2019 to January 12, 2020 the two events will be celebrated at venues at various locations with amazing street performances, concerts, master classes, and sports exhibitions. Venue: Various Locations

Free Museum Week: December 9 -15, 2019 Every third week of the month many museums in Moscow offer free admission to their visitors. No pre-registration or any documents are required for the free visits. You will need to get your free ticket at the box offices. Museums and exhibition halls will be open as usual. But each museum is open for free on a specific day. To see the list of museums and the schedule please visit:

Exhibition: Cities in Motion - until December 15, 2019 Take a virtual tour of the most beautiful cities in the world: Rome, New York, Berlin and Moscow, by visiting the 'Cities in Motion' exhibition in the Media Centre Pavilion of Zaryadye Park. Venue: Zaryadye Park

5 December 2019

Ice Festival - until February 23, 2020 Ice sculptures exhibition opens annually a week before the New Year. Venue: Poklonnaya Hill, VDNKh, Sokolniki Park, Krasnaya Presnya park and Luzhniki park

Exhibition: The Magical Winter - until 31 January 2020 With the onset of cold weather, VDNH is an ideal place to go skating, attend dance parties on ice, admire stunning winter art installations, and sled down a huge ice slide! Venue: VDNH Park, Prospekt Mira, 119.

Exhibitions: Medieval Embroidery - until 23 February 2020 Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve, Alexei Mikhailovich's Palace's basement, hosts an exhibition 'History of Russian Embroidery of the 16th— early 20th century'. The exhibition has brought together church, folk and secular works by Russian embroiderers. Venue: Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve

Exhibition: Impressionism and Spanish Art - until March 2020 There will be an exhibit of Spanish art from the 19th -20th centuries for the first time of this scale in Russia. The exhibit will show works by 18 Spanish artists who worked side by side with French impressionists, and took part in the first exhibits showing the new trends of European art in the 1880s. Venue: Museum of Russian Impressionism

6 December 2019

7 December 2019


You have the power to bring warmth to a homeless heart by donating 5 pairs of socks! AWO is looking to collect 1,500 pairs of new, large, warm men’s socks to donate to samusocialMoskva. samusocialMoskva is a non-profit organization founded in 2003. The foundation's main goal is to provide assistance to homeless people on our city streets who have been socially excluded and left to flight for their own survival. You can help by donating 5 pairs of new socks (or as many as you want to give) and asking 5 of your friends (non-AWO members) to donate 5 pairs of socks too. With your and your friends’ help we can reach our goal.

January 2020 AWO is requesting new sock donations for the homeless. Please pick up 5 pairs of socks to donate and ask 5 friends to do the same. Help spread the warmth to the homeless before the cold winter arrives!

Donations can be dropped off at Pokrovsky Hills, Rosinka or in the city center. For further details, please contact: Maggie Ghidirim: +7-916-391-3007 or Danielle Kuznetsov: +7-985-613-6195

You can also drop off sock donations at The Expat Salon during their business hours.

8 December 2019

Notes from the Editor by Irem Sunar We wanted to keep this issue packed with information on how to enjoy Moscow during the heaviest winter days to come. Unfortunately, this is our last issue for the year and we won’t be sending you another AWO Newsletter until February 2020. But I have good news! If you are looking for more to read about what we’ve been up to at the AWO, I have built a Magazine Stand that includes all the previous issues I have had the pleasure of preparing for AWO since I’ve joined this wonderful club. You may read all the past issues since October 2017 here: In addition to the events of the month I have selected for you, there’s also a list of events to choose from, a special events guide “Russia Made

9 December 2019

Easy” prepared by one of our main sponsors Intermark Relocation. In this issue you will also find a useful article about the ice skate rings in via If you are travelling for the holidays, don’t worry about missing all the fun Moscow Municipality has prepared for us. As the traditional Russian new year is on January 7, there’s a lot of things you can do once you come back to this glamorous city. There’s so much happening before we all dissapear for the holidays. Don’t forget to come to the final coffee morning event of the year on December 11th, and if you haven’t done by now, please remember to bring at least 5 pairs of socks to help samusocialMoskva.

Review: Thanksgiving Brunch by Cindy Knight Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. There are no presents to give, other than yourself and time. There’s no icon to worship other than great food and good company. Family and friends coming together with one purpose, to give thanks. Thanks for all that you have and all that you don’t. Thanks for our health and good fortune. Thanks for those who have touched our lives and those we hold in our hearts. On Wednesday, November 27th, the AWO of Moscow celebrated Thanksgiving with a special Thanksgiving Brunch. Members both new and long-time gathered together to share and to catch up. This brunch was made even more special by commemorating our longtime sponsor, The Expat Salon’s 15 year birthday. Together, we broke bread and bestowed our thanks onto them - and the cake was great as well! The highlight of the day was hearing what each and every member was thankful for. Expat life, by definition, results in being away from friends and family for the holidays. However, our AWO family opens its arms and welcomes you in where you can relate and share and give together. A quote by Henry Van Dyke comes to mind, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.” I am thankful for the AWO of Moscow. It's an organization that provides members with a place to call home and faces to call friends. Our time together on this Thanksgiving Day was filled with words of thanks and good cheer. As 2019 comes to a close, our organization is looking forward to serving this beautiful city, Moscow, where we call home, in 2020 and beyond.

10 December 2019

Green News: by Masha Megrelis ZERO WASTE STORES in MOSCOW Do you know what is a zero waste store and why is it so important? Let me explain it by reminding the rule of “3 Rs”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We often forget about the first two and think that recycling is the solution for our waste problem. However, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, it is likely that only 4.4% of plastic in the United States was recycled in 2018, down from 9.1% in 2015. It is also estimated that worldwide, between 1950 and 2015, only 9% of plastic has been recycled. These statistics are shocking and prove that unfortunately, recycling is not the solution. Next time you are in the supermarket, take a look at the products. Virtually everything sold is packaged in plastic. Several zero waste stores have opened up in Moscow in the past year. These stores are quite small but they can help you cut down on the disposable plastics. The idea of zero waste stores is that you bring your own reusable bags and containers and buy products by weight. Some items that you can find in the zero waste stores: Food: �Rice �Beans �Nuts �Flour Beauty Products: �Face and body creams �Solid shampoos �Scrubs �Cleansers �Liquid shampoo/shower gels (Most of the beauty products are either package-free, wrapped in paper or in glass jars). Cleansers: �Scrubs �Liquid shampoo/shower gels (Most of the beauty products are either package free, wrapped in paper or in glass jars).


Cleaning supplies: �Detergents �Dish soap �Floor cleaner �Multipurpose cleaner Accessories: �Reusable bottles and cups �Wooden cleaning brushes �Reusable cotton cosmetic pads �Reusable fruit and vegetable bags �Feminine hygiene products Here are a few of the Zero Waste Stores in Moscow: Repleo: metro Novokuznetskaya Instagram: @repleo_zerowaste Kotomka: metro Kurskaya Instagram: Zero Waste Shop: metro Dmitrovskaya metro Mayakovskaya Instagram: @zws.mayakovka Naked Food: metro Shablovskaya Instagram: @nakedfood.zerowaste Do you have more questions about where to find eco friendly products in Moscow? Join the Moscow Expats Green Group on Facebook!

Spread Sunshine Updates November was another great month for AWO Spread Sunshine. We had a visit from Helene Desroche, a long time volunteer from samusocialMoskva. Helene introduced samusocialMoskva to us at the coffee morning on November 13th, giving us a better idea of how the Organization works. Here, she explains her 4-year commitment of volunteering with samusocialMoskva. “I chose to work at samusocialMoskva for many reasons. First, I think that everyone in a society should help each other, because at one moment in life, we all have to ask for help. The help usually comes from family or friends. Unfortunately, for some people, at this precise moment when they need help, they happen to be alone in life, with no relatives around. Then, the vicious circle begins so fast : no work, no home, no money, diseases that they can't take care of. This happens frequently and since we don’t know these people personally, we can’t offer help. That is why, in my opinion, samusocialMoskva is so important as they can provide concrete help. As for me, I am not a doctor, a psychologist or a social helper. But, I am able to help them in other ways. For example, I can take the time to talk with the people and listen to the difficulties they face. I really like the idea of making bonds between ordinary people like you and me - women who would love to do more and I feel connected to the homeless people who need my help. One sentence of our founder, Xavier Emmanuelli, helped me to understand that: "To fight great exclusion, you must have great professionals”.

12 December 2019

November Impact: AWO Coffee Morning and the Thanksgiving Brunch Raffles have raised 55,200 rubles this month. The Dinner with a Cause events hosted by our members have raised 57,500 rubles. Together, total amount of funds raised for charity this month is 112,700 rubles! Recipient: samusocialMoskva

People like you and me who meet homeless people on the streets are not able to help them directly. But we can help them in many other ways by offering our time and talents through organizations like samusocialMoskva! This connection makes it easy to help collect clothes, raise money to buy medicine, attract other organizations that can also serve, invite doctors and specialists to use their expertise to serve. It makes it easy for me to better use my time and skills, as well. These are just some of the benefits of working as a volunteer at samusocialMoskva.” AWO members, Masha Megrelis and Kelley Jackson each hosted a “Dinner with a Cause” event in November. Thank you, Kelley and Masha, for your generosity! Here’s a brief review on the events:

Dinner with a Cause As a part of the Dinner with a Cause Interest Group activities, two of our members stepped up to raise money for our charity organizations. Kelley Jackson hosted a brunch. Masha Megrelis and her husband, Nicolas, hosted a dinner. Together, the two events raised 57,500 rubles for samusocialMoskva! Our goal is to have two “Dinner With a Cause” events each month. Please consider hosting one! The event does not have to be a dinner. You can host a brunch, tea, drinks and dessert etc., whatever works best for you! Each guest pays 2500 roubles (some guests choose to give additional donations) and all the proceeds go to AWO supported charities. For more information, please contact the coordinator of our Dinner with a Cause Interest Group Coordinator Masha Megrelis at: mobile: 8 916 621 5180 email:

13 December 2019


Upcoming Food and Fellowship






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▷December 4th and 18th

Holiday Bags for MPC Seniors We are putting together 120 holiday bags. If you have donations of items like biscuits, tea, coffee or toiletries, please email Danielle at to coordinate receipt of the materials before December 6.

▷ January 15th and 29th ▷ February 5th and 19th ▷ March 4th and 18th

Specific Needs:

Groceries provided to the pensioners:

If you are also interested in sponsoring the program financially or donating food, please see below a list of some specific needs:

▷ Sugar (900gr) ▷ Buckwheat ( 900gr) ▷ Rice (900gr) ▷ Flour (900gr) ▷ Oil (lt) ▷ Milk concentrate (350gr) ▷Canned meat (400gr) ▷ Canned fish (400gr) ▷ Macaroni (450gr) ▷ Corn (400gr) ▷ Peas (350gr) ▷ Canned beans (300gr) ▷ Mayonnaise (350gr) ▷ Tea (25 bags) ▷ Biscuits ▷ Yoghurt (270gr) ▷ Butter (200gr)

▷Fellowship ▷Cookies, pastries, or other small treats ▷Tea ▷Sugar ▷Cups ▷Small plates ▷Napkins ▷Nonperishable food

14 December 2019

News from FAWCO by Danielle Kuznetsov

It is said that the most wonderful time of the year is upon us; a time for friends and family, rest, travel, and FOOD! Traditions and cultures celebrate “together” in so many different ways, but food seems to always be front and center when it comes to building and cultivating relationships. This month’s FAWCO article features our own Janet Wahlquist and her culinary journey. We invite you to sit back, relax, and get to know Janet better. Thanks so much to FAWCO for connecting women across the globe and to our own member Janet, for pursuing her passion. Here is to a great holiday season filled with food and fun and to a prosperous and healthy new year for all! To read the whole magazine, please visit: 1059/inspiring-women-winter-2019

15 December 2019

16 December 2019

17 December 2019

Intermark Club is a life-hack for foreigners in Moscow!

Join us and enjoy your benefits: Get discounts and privileges from our partners Learn about living in Russia Find the most exciting events in Moscow Connect with other Club members and share your knowledge and experience with each other!

18 December 2019

rental facility, so you don't need to have your own skates. It's a perfect way to enjoy the winter atmosphere and Russian culture. You'll be impressed by the skills of the Russians who take PATRIARCHY POND - GORKY PARK - RED this sport very seriously. We like to try out new SQUARE - VDNH - HERMITAGE GARDEN skating rinks with a group of friends every other SOKOLNIKI week and combine it with a nice warm lunch afterwards. Even if you're not an experienced Moscow winters are perfect for ice skating. There skater, now is the time to learn! are many ice skating rinks (or "katok's) in the city. Don't let the cold stop you, because even Read the full article here: when it's cold, you can dress for it and the skating keep you warm. Most places have a skate skating-in-the-city

Moscow ice rinks - skating in the city

19 December 2019

20 December 2019

Give the Gift of Experience

21 December 2019

Christmas Dinner in O2 Lounge

Winter Goodies

22 December 2019

Macallan Winter Bar back on O2 Lounge terrace.

Hendrick’s Late Afternoon Tea

23 December 2019

Celebrating our 25th Anniversary: We offer you a special price for: dentist examination, x-rays and dental hygiene - 12,000 rubles, instead of 20,850 rubles. Why choose US Dental care? • • • •

American-trained, English speaking doctors; Family oriented — children friendly! 50% of our patients are expats; Well established — first American clinic in Moscow; • Wide range of treatment offered — including cosmetic dentistry; • High quality, hi-tech modern equipment.

24 December 2019

For AWO members and their families only: 15% discount for initial visit and 5% for following visits.

25 December 2019

26 December 2019

27 December 2019

AWO Interest Groups The AWO Moscow has a total of 13 interest groups, providing a wide variety of unique activities to fulfill the needs of our members. Below are all our Interest groups being offered including those currently not active which we hope that someone will volunteer to lead in the future. If you are interested in leading an interest group or would like to start one please send us an email at We are also looking for an Interest Group Coordinator (an AWO Board Position) who would be the liaison between the interest group leaders and the board.

The What’s in Your Market group explores the different markets around Moscow with a guide (who is normally also a member) who guides us around her market and introduces the group to her personal vendors.

Book Club

The AWO Book Club meets once a month, on a Wednesday from 10-12, at the Starbucks on Old Arbat Street 19. They choose books based on suggestions from our group (and that are available electronically) and enjoy discussing the book over a cup of coffee. We’d love to have you join us!

Russian Textile Doll Making

This group will introduce you to the traditional techniques required in making a doll in class. You will also see Russian culture in a new light as each doll has a deep rooted historical concept. Classes are suitable for beginners in textiles and all the materials are provided.

The Cooking Club and What’s in Your Market?

The cooking club meets every other week eager to experience, cook and share a new cuisine from around the world. The host of the class normally shares their native or favorite recipes with the women attending who else assist with the preparations of about 3 courses. After the dishes are prepared the class enjoys a fabulous lunch together.

28 December 2019

Toddler Play Group

The Toddler Play group isn’t just for toddlers! Parents and kids meets twice a month in different child-friendly restaurants or cafes, so the adults can get together too and socialize over breakfast or a coffee. So bring your baby, your toddler, or even just yourself!

Enjoy some conversation and try out new cafes you can return to with your family.

suitable time and alternate between day and evening show times to accommodate everyones schedule. The group meets twice a month and the cost is the ticket and meal for those who wish to dine before or after the film. .

History, Art, Design (HAD group)

The HAD group explores the best Moscow sights in the context of Russian history. With the group you can visit museums, learn about famous architectural styles and take walks around Moscow to illustrate them. You will also attend unique cultural venues, which are usually closed to the general public. You will learn about fine art, interior design, fashion and cooking classes. Weekend family tours to different Russian cities are also possible. The group meets weekly, on Fridays and\or Mondays 11.00 – 13.00. The cost varies, depending on the entry fee and number of participants.

Dinner with a Cause

This group you make it what you want it to be and it’s all for charity! The idea behind it is very simple. Host an event, lunch, brunch or dinner and invite friends over for a cover charge of 2500 per person. All the money raised goes directly to the AWO sponsored charities.


Enjoy a game of doubles every Monday from 9am 11am all through out the year on indoor courts in Rosinka.

The Movie Buffs

Movie Buffs is a fun group for those who are looking to spend a few hours to enjoy a good movie and some friendly company over lunch or dinner. Depending on the showing times and what is available in English we try to pick a

29 December 2019

Wine Lovers

Enjoy wine tasting and have fun with other couples and friends. Everyone contributes by bringing a bottle of wine based on the country given by the host accompanied by a dish to compliment the wine.

Lunch Bunch (Interest Group Leader needed)

Explore the many restaurants and amazing business lunches that Moscow has to offer along with great company.


Learn, inspire and create photography together while exploring the most scenic and interesting areas of Moscow.

Open Position on AWO Board: Interest Group Coordinator We are currently looking for an Interest Group Coordinator -- please drop us a line at: if you are interested! This person will be the main contact for the interest group leaders and will coordinate the following:

International Women’s Bible Studies Weekly fellowship to read, discuss and understand the Bible.

- Collect information about weekly interest groups via WhatsApp to share in the Monday updates - Liaison between the AWO board and interest group leaders regarding any issues or changes - Coordinator for Face-to-Face interest groups sign-up, held twice per year at our coffee morning meetings.

Lunch Bunch (Interest Group Leader

30 December 2019

AWO 2019 - 2020 Board Members:

Michele Kuhlen President

Kelley Jackson Special Events

Danielle Kuznetsov Salma Nurmohamed Vice President Secretary FAWCO Representative, Spread Sunshine Coordinator

Irem Sunar Newsletter

Alla Anastos Membership

31 December 2019

Meg Aw Treasurer

Cindy Knight Social Media Website

Eugenie Kim Membership Chair

Beth Osowski Monday Updates

A Big Thank You to our sponsors and donors for raffle prizes given in November to raise funds for our charity, samusocialMoskva at our meetings held on November 13 and 27 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Neyla Miller



32 December 2019

Photo Credits: Pages 1-2: Tom Grimbert

Page 3: Page 5: Beth Osowski Page 6: Editor: Irem Sunar Layout Design: Irem Sunar

Proofreaders: Michele Kuhlen, Cindy Knight

Profile for Irem Sunar

The American Women's Organization of Moscow - Online Magazine for December 2019 (redacted)  

Project included: - Editorial Services - Content Development - Layout Design - Graphic Design

The American Women's Organization of Moscow - Online Magazine for December 2019 (redacted)  

Project included: - Editorial Services - Content Development - Layout Design - Graphic Design