by Robyn

IN Day February 21, 2019

Multiple snow days? Cancelled Tea Groups/planning sessions? Fall on the ice? No matter! The hospitable International Neighbors Tea Groups swept away the cold weather and hosted twelve beautiful, colorful tables with fine china and a sumptuous array of food from around the world. A record number of new guests, regular friends, and many we haven’t seen in a while turned out for this warm and wonderful Fifth Annual Tea Party. 

Once again we welcomed our Founding Mothers with a special table reserved for them. Thank you to Martha for doing the invitations and ride requests and to Tina for her mother’s beautiful Hong Kong tea service. Virginia was the gracious hostess. Virginia wrote a beautiful poem when she was IN President called “The Great Sisterhood of Women” and Dilek read the poem to all of us. It was lovely to see so many of these women again, some now over 90 years old, who have done so much for International Neighbors. Each Tea Table selected some special treats to bring over for the Founding Mothers to try.

VIP Founding Mothers Table

Merrymakers Tea Group co-leader Nancy thought it would be marvelous to have a Turkey Tea Table since they enjoyed so much having two Turkish guests this year. Arseli and Pelin were here as student families and had nothing with which to decorate a  table. Fortunately, other Turkish members, Dilek, Tugba, Serpil, Zorrin, and Yonce stepped in to help resulting in a beautifully arrayed table complete with Turkish tea glasses, Nancy’s china, and wonderful homemade delicacies. What a wonderful example of friendship among women!

Turkish Tea Table

Thank you to Aruna for expertly putting together again the other Merrymakers Tea Group table, Traditional India. This lovely table overflowed with treats including a special sesame cookie, since, as Aruna explained, sesame seeds have a warming quality to them and are especially good for you this very cold winter. Thank you to Aruna’s many generous friends Kamlesh, Nadeera, Meera, Veena, and Ammu for helping her with this table.

Traditional India Tea Table

We were lucky to have another Indian Table this year, Young India, organized by Neena of the Ann Arbor Hills Tea Group. Thank you Indu for lending her china and Sangeeta, Ammu, Sonam, Puja, and Deeksha for preparing treats for the table

Young India Tea Table

Somehow the two Indian tables ended up next to each other. By the end of the afternoon it was if they were all one happy table.

India Tables

 It was a preview of the next IN Day in March, Incredible India, which Neena is planning, a fabulous event full of Indian culture and food, and drawing all interested into Bollywood dancing.

One of the most elegant tables was the Ann Arbor Hills Tea Group titled A Japanese Interpretation of an English Tea Party.

Japanese/English Tea Table

 Chiaki enhanced the English china of the table with an Ikebana flower arrangement. Hiromi, an accomplished pastry chef, outdid herself with a beautiful cake infused with both English and Japanese flavors topped with an array of delicate edible flowers. Kyoko and Yuka made mochi and matcha cookies that enhanced the English tea.

Khadra brought her popular Somalia tea table back again this year for the Ann Arbor Hills Tea Group.

Somalia Tea Table

 Her delicious Somalian coffee made with cardamom and other spices, pancakes, halwa, baklava, and Somalian cookies were much appreciated by all. Thank you to Veronica for the centerpiece, Manang for all her tablecloths, and Yen-Ling for her delicious cookies.

Olga from the Ukraine did not let a fall on the ice stop her from hosting the Eastern Europe table. Fortunately she was OK and did a fabulous job. She came straight from a hospital x-ray together with a friend, Ludmila from Moldavia. Ludmila saw the cherry cake on the table and exclaimed “But that is from the most famous bakery in Moldavia! How did you get it?”. Amazing what you can find in Ann Arbor! Agnes from Poland also helped, providing Polish treats, and the pretty china was lent by Maja of Croatia. The Wildwood and Merrymakers Tea Groups were represented at this table and everyone belongs to Cultural Encounters.

Eastern Europe Table

The Wildwood Tea Group did a colorful and festive Mexico table that was enjoyed by all.

Mexico Table

Thank you to leader Janine who creatively comes up with a very different table each year and her Tea Group helpers Sanju, Sylvia, Amy, and Gretchen.

The Angell Tea Group has a Brazilian hostess and four Brazilian guests this year,  so it made sense that they chose Brazil for their tea table as well. Leader Sharon set the pretty table which was soon overflowing with delicious Brazilian food made by Shirley, Eliane, Flavia, Martha, and Rubia. Alice contributed a wonderful cake.

Brazil Table

Thank you to everyone.

Helene brought back a Vietnam Tea Table this year for the Ann Arbor Woods Tea Group and undoubtedly had the most beautiful centerpiece in the room, complete with candlelight and bamboo.

Vietnam Table

 A big thank you to Helene for all her hard work and Veena who helped her. Dana also provided tea sweets for the table.

Finally, the Burns Park Tea Group showed us that you can fit four countries, Kazakstan, Poland, England and Japan at one big International table.

International Table

Thank you so much to Kari for organizing the table, and Botta, Luna, Chinetsu, Yoonju, Rie, Mary Margaret, and Lianne for providing the delectable treats and tea. Lianne mentioned that enjoying last year’s Tea Party is what brought her to join the Burns Park Tea Group this year!

Lastly thank you to International Day coordinator Dilek who provided the slideshow, made beautiful signs for each table, and makes every IN Day a success. A huge thanks to Vice President Tina who was the first to arrive at the hall and the last to leave. We appreciate too Andra and Carole who helped Tina at the Registration Table welcoming a record breaking number of guests to our Tea Party.