Like the WI with Added Bling

07.02.2011 Like the WI with Added Bling
I ventured out this week to the monthly meeting of the International Friends Group, who, amongst other things, publish the rather fantastic Golden Guide to Yangon, a bible for expats. It said right there on the flyleaf that the meetings took place on the first Monday of every month at the Inya Lake Hotel so I thought why not? At the worst I’ll get a free cup of coffee out of it!
I felt a wee bit out of place at first, being the only white face and the only person under 60 but the Vice Chairman made me super welcome (and another foreigner and some younger people did turn up eventually) and explained a little bit about the IFG. Basically the good ladies of Myanmar, who lunch and do charity, hold fundraising events, sewing circles, organise community visits to orphanages and old people’s homes and have get togethers such as the monthly meeting I was at. The nibbles were ace! At each monthly meeting they also have a talk, much like the WI (I think) and this week it was from a local jewellery designer who brought along some of his work. The cheapest item was $7 000US! Those ladies gave him a right grilling about how to spot a good ruby (the trend in 2011 is for the lighter shade of red known as pink sapphire for those of you that are interested; Westerners love this shade whilst the Americans prefer the darker, and more expensive, Pigeon’s Blood rubies) how to spot a good pearl (South Sea pearls are a creamy yellow with no imperfections and generally considered the best; black and pink pearls are a bit meh to jewellers but the foreigners seem to like them) and how to convert your brooches into pendants. And so on and so forth – you can see the circles I am mixing in!
And then I swapped business cards with any number of charming old ladies, gave them my email 3 times, bought a cotton sundress from the sewing circle and signed up to a sunset river cruise. Result! Not only that I made a new friend who gave me a lift home and I’m even considering signing up for some orphanage visits, as one of them is local to me (though I’m not sure my heart will be able to take it… we’ll see).
All in all a lovely morning and a very warm welcome indeed. Much like the WI but with added bling!

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