Tuesday, February 25, 2014

American Society news from Panama

American Society news from Panama:

The February 2014 message from the President of the American Society of Panama to our members and friends.
Dear Members and Friends:  Thanks for the Memories!

As our notice for the next Expat Meet and Mix says --  we have had 3 consecutive sellout events.  This is another first!  Thanks to all of you for your belief in us and the American Society of Panama.  We will be posting the photos this week.   In the mean time you can read about the picnic/lasagna dinner and gala below. This has also been posted on our website under President’s Message.   See you March 10th at the Continental Hotel for our Expat Meet and Mix. Bring a Friend.

Dear Members and Friends:  Thanks for the Memories:

Annual Dry Season Picnic  and Lasagna party at Charly and Elsie’s  February 1, 2014
Our American Society events are often better than college days.  Remember those?

Meeting people you enjoy meeting is an excellent sport.  And, we expats enjoy a closer bond of common interests. Celebrating our American heritage and culture, combined with a Latin flavor, is great fun.

AMSOC'S annual dry season picnic, joined later with Charly and Elsie's fantastic party - are events that should not be missed.
Abandoning our cyber gadgets and juvenile City traffic, we wound our way, up to the volcanic paradise of El Valle.  During our 40 minute winding mountain drive from the main highway to El Valle, my foot hovered mostly on the brake pedal.  Inching our car around winding turns; serve as good exercise for the great picnic, party and friends we would meet.

Upon arriving in El Valle's volcanic bowl, a symphony of flowers and unique mountain scenery welcomed us like a light parade.  The coiffure battering winds, spritzed with very light rain, were totally enlivening.

We could not miss this annual American Society pilgrimage.  Our picnic stated at 12 noon at the El Valle Verde hotel and restaurant, ably operated by Ing. Miguel Vasquez and his Peruvian family.  We arrive, gung-ho to see old friends and meet new members and new arrivals to Panama.  Oiled with great food and libations, we all had a great time, picnicking and enjoying our mountain adventure.

We had the privilege of introducing Irving Bennett N., the grandson of founding member George Novey Sr., who was approved as an Honorary Member of the American Society.   Other new members to the American Society presented with our traditional pin were Jordan Zimmerman and Rita Kan and Brian and Carolyn Bell and Terry Phipps and Peter Puchyr.  Welcome to the American Society of Panama.  Bill Mariano donated six bottle of wine for the raffle -- thanks Bill.  

Left behind, at least for one day, was the drenched hurry of urban life.  We highly recommend an overnight respite in El Valle.  Attending Charly’s  and Elsie's party, starting at 6 pm is a cultural must.  Every year, we honor Elsie's next birthday, giving honor to a gracious, lovely host who just celebrated her 93rd "primavera."  There were others with birthdays in February including Mrs. Farrar and we sang to them also. Mariela Lord surprised us by serenading us with a typical Mexican love song. It was amazing. Thanks to Frank Nitte and Judy Klassen who played the guitar and sang some of our favorite “oldies but goodies.”

Charly and Elsie Garcia's annual party is a great tradition, famous for their luscious lasagna, great flan and animated conversations.   Thanks as always Charly for everything you do for the American Society and making us all feel welcome.

The next morning we arise and breakfast leisurely, knowing that our sturdy Subaru knows the way down by heart.  By Michael Pierce --  edited by Charlotte!!

Gala Fundraising Event at U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, February 1, 2014

JOY, PRIDE, ELEGENCE, AWE, TEARS, HEARTWARMING, GREAT CAMARADERIE, “FEELS JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS” are feelings I felt and saw -- and words I heard expressed about the gala.

As members and guests of the American Society of Panama arrived for the scholarship fundraising gala held at the U.S. Ambassador home on February 14th -- Valentine’s Day, the Red Carpet was literally rolled out.  There was a sense of pride or importance walking on the “red carpet” to the entrance of the beautiful residence of The Honorable Jonathon Farrar and Mrs. Farrar, our gracious hosts.   And yes the women were elegantly dressed in red, black and white. A site to behold!

The rain had stopped just in time when the students arrived to be the first to walk down the red carpet accompanied by their proud parents and professors.  They were shy, curious, but busy taking photos.  This was their night!  The American Society of Panama awarded scholarships to 10 deserving students and presented them with certificates of educational achievement. This is the first time we have recognized the students in this manner.  Ambassador Farrar welcomed everyone and congratulated the students on their accomplishments.   Marcia Henry, Scholarship Chair and organizer of the gala introduced the American Society Board Members and had each Board Member present a student with a certificate.  Marcia introduced the parents, professors and mentors and supporters of the students. Celineth Mendoza  addressed the guests and members in English sharing what having a scholarship meant to her.  Celineth is an outstanding student and excels in all her classes. Thanks to Diana Amar and Joy Schaffer who support and mentor her.  

Awarding scholarships are only possible because of the support we receive from our members and sponsors. During the ceremony Sergio Davis, President of Brentwood Logistics and Security Company, S.A., Glenn Simon, General Manager of the TRYP hotel Albrook Mall, and Steve Walling, President of Walvesco Corporation presented donations to become sponsors.
Everyone always enjoys winning door prizes and the winners at the gala were thrilled with their treasurers.  Thanks to Chrisse  Harwanko who donated a Limited Edition Print “Nemo’s Cousin” won by Charly Garcia. Al Sprague donated two beautiful prints won by Hari Singh and Irving Bennett N.  Al Sprague will be in Panama February 27 and 28 to personally sign these prints.  

As I watched the dynamics of the evening unfold I felt proud to be part of this gran gala and Society. Seeing friends whom I had not seen in years, meeting new people, enjoying the incredible buffet which people are still raving about (thank you Mrs. Farrar for such a great selection),   yes dancing to the lively music of Zafiro --  or at least trying.   I thought how fortunate we are and just really savored the moment - a moment to keep for a lifetime.  Ambassador and Mrs. Farrar - thank you for opening your home and making a difference in our lives.

Thank each and every one of you for the impact you are having on the students, especially our sponsors, Marcia, and all the Board Members of the America Society of Panama.
As I started with -- again I say -- thank you for the memories.    

Charlotte Pierce
Proud to be a member of the American Society of Panama and your President
Americans and Friends United Abroad

The American Society of Panama
"Americans and Friends United Abroad"

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