by Martha B

However you say it, the word conveys warmth and sincerity. As we greeted old and new members at the Fall Reception, this reporter took the opportunity to survey several members about welcoming habits in their home countries and their experiences here in America.


Mayela from Costa Rica told me that tourism leads people in her country to be very welcoming to new people. Costa Ricans are very open to sharing their culture and do they ever love to talk! While Mayela lived in Miami, she found people were in a hurry all of the time, not taking time to extend a welcoming hand.


When Fatima from Mexico welcomes guests in her home, she cooks their favorite foods. Her gracious philosophy is “mi casa, su casa” (my home is your home). When she first came to America she found people were patient and willing to help. Until she perfected her English language skills, they were patient in communicating with her using the “silent language” of hand gestures.


Katharina from Germany has found people here to be more open and easy to get to know. She has found locals open to answering questions (of which newcomers by definition have many). She notes that Americans smile more frequently than Europeans. This is good for one’s mood! (Don’t you find that when a person smiles or laughs, you smile also?)

Dobro pozhalovat! 

Botta is a new member from Astana, Kazakhstan. This summer Astana hosted a Future Energy Expo to which people were welcomed from all over the globe. It was a good way to showcase this remarkable venue and bring attention to this remarkable new capital with many futuristic buildings.

Uhsuh ohseyo! 

Ok Joo from South Korea has lived in the area for a long time. She welcomes newcomers by sharing with them all that Ann Arbor has to offer. To that end. she brought fellow Korean Su Yon to the IN Fall Reception. And, in the process of our discussion Ok Joo also volunteered to be on the Newsletter Team. Way to go, Ok Joo!

Pay it forward

We encourage each of you to emulate Ok Joo (and others who have also “paid it forward”) by (1) inviting new women to International Neighbors and (2) becoming more active and involved in our wonderful 60-year-young organization!