Orange County – Aug 16

Join us for an informal brunch at this centrally located Corona del Mar venue (they take no reservations)
Join Patrick Charriou & friends – Patrick can be reached (949) 923-1110

Looking for Europeans who live/work/study in Orange County to be interviewed for our website …email kaisa (at) eurocircle (dot) com or contact her via the EuroCircle forums (private messages)

June 2014 Member of the Month – Paul Volosen Comes from the Land of Dracula

I was so happy when Paul agreed at my request to answer some questions – and the funniest thing I recall thinking reading his answers that “ok, I like coffee houses too and miss Finnish/European cake culture”. I have not met that many Romanians in Austin but in NYC we had a very strong Romanian community. In fact EuroCircle even had events together with the previous Romanian Consul General Pavoni years ago.

1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about where you are from originally and who you are work etc.

On name – my name is Pavel (though I go by Paul) Emanuel Volosen.

On country – I was born in Romania, and made it to the US not so much by my own volition, but by the decision of my parents to boostrap 4 kids in a Dacia off-roading full speed (about 35MPH) towards the border of Hungary all the meanwhile border guards were in the chase. Having successfully crossed the fence to Hungary without any casualties, my parents decided to make a run for Austria within a couple of months. Although it took two attempts (first failed – we got lost, no ‘google maps’ available at that time), my parents successfully transported the family into Austria in relatively in one piece with the help of friendly smugglers with better maps, and in exchange of many ounces of gold and other jewelry. As amazing as this might sound, this is the story relayed to me by my parents, and I’m skipping the details. The irony is that the Berlin wall fell after we make it to Austria, and the borders opened up. Timing is everything.

Shortly thereafter, it was smooth sailing through the Austrian political asylum process and we landed in Ellis Island, New York. We were in America – the land of opportunity, freedom, and hope. Despite it seeming quite adventurous – and risky, to say the least – now, mostly what I remember is running, the weather being cold, and wet. I dislike cold, and wet. I can accept running.

Following stop was the beautiful country of Texas, settling in Dallas for a few of my early elementary school years. By the 3rd grade, I had lived and attended school in four different countries – Romania, Hungary, Austria, and the US – and by consequence had to learn and re-learn reading, writing, and communicating with the other kids in school with each new hop. This experience “paid off,” as by the 5th grade I won the school spelling bee contest. Regrettably, with the advent of the “F7” feature in Microsoft Word, and “the google,” my spelling abilities have returned to my pre-5th grade levels. Although I can recognize when Hungarian and German is spoken.. I’d have to break several Rosetta Stone DVD sets before picking it back up. A long trip to Europe is overdue for sure.

The following 20+ years I resided in Seattle, WA, where I attend University of Washington and studied Computer Science, worked for over 10 years at Microsoft, and finally decided that I will not succumbed to death by Vitamin D starvation by setting my gaze towards Austin, TX.

On work – I work for one of the coolest software startups in Austin, Sailpoint Technologies as a Software Support Engineer. No, not Salesforce. Sailpoints develops ‘Enterprise Identity Management’ software, basically manages your identity (think ‘logon’s in simple terms) in a large organization.

On where I live – I live in a cool apartment bloc off 45th & Mopac. It takes me 15 – 20 minutes to get to work, and about 15 -20 minutes via back roads to downtown during rush hour traffic.

2. How did you choose your career?

On career – I was influenced in working in software consequence of the overcast shadowed by Microsoft, and the allure of making it as a millionaire at Microsoft. Then I started working and realized that I wasn’t going to be a millionaire, but that I could work on pretty cool software problems, and help make software products better. Over my career, I’ve worked in different roles ranging from test engineering, program management, technical account management, and software support, and I most enjoy roles that have a healthy customer facing component, and require a solid base of technical skills. I also have an entrepreneurship spirit, having contributed to early software startups, and having owned managed real estate property in Seattle.

3. What did your family do and where are they now?

In Romania, my parents worked as engineers for the city. Currently, my father is retired, and my mom works for the city of San Antonio.
I also have 5 siblings: 4 in Seattle, and 1 in San Antonio. Of the siblings, my older sister is in Seattle married, my two younger brothers are in Seattle and work in the government and services industry respectively, and my 2 younger sisters who are kick ass. The youngest is starting medical school at UTSA Health Science center this year, and second youngest just graduated from UW, got married, and is about to start a full time job with the Macy’s Executive Business Development Program.

4. Do you try to go back to Romania every year? The language and the culture are different than in TX for sure. What do you miss the most – and the least?

Every year I say I will, but I have not been successful, yet. When I do end up going back, I think I’d enjoy (and by virtue ‘miss’ if I had visited) the countryside which I hear is very beautiful. Romania also has a rich folklore heritage and I’m sure I’d enjoy and probably miss that.

5. When you think about life in Romania vs USA before you moved to the USA – did you have misconceptions that turned out to be wrong?

Yeah, that America, and everything that it had to offer – opportunity, hope, freedom – wasn’t just an illusion, it was real. Until I arrived, the US might as well have been Neverland– a place my parents talked about where they could say whatever they wanted without the fear of reprisal, but I would probably never visit.

6. What is your favorite food/s and drink??

I like Romanian cakes – no cakes tastes better. No cakes gets more love. No cakes sweeter. ON the American side, I like tiramisu, and cheesecake. Yes, I like cake.
Drink wise, I’m a modest drinker, but when I do, I tend to stick to Vodka; it’s my Russian / Ukrainian blood (as my grandfather is Ukrainian). Close second is red wine, then champagne, and DX is good.

7. Which restaurants and bars you like the most in Austin – and why?

There are a lot of good restaurants, and unbelievable number of bars. Sway makes the best Thai in town, and I enjoy Thai food, so I’ll go with Sway for now. I like Molotov because it’s usually not too crowded compared to some of the other bars.
I also do tend to frequent coffee shops, with Stinson’s on 45th being one of my favorite at the moment.

8. How is the Romanian community in Austin vs. USA? Who do you think are the Romanians the average American may know?

On Romanian community – So far, regrettably, I have not found a strong Romanian community in Austin. I’m a little bit perplexed as there is a Romanian community in every other major city. However, I also started a group on Facebook for any Romanians that may be interested in joining.
On Americans knowing Romanians – The foremost ‘Romanian’ that Americans might know is Dracula, or at least the individual that that spawned the myth, Vlad Tepes. Second to that is Nadia Comanecia – the Romanian gymnast who made the first female to receive a perfect score in an Olympic gymnastics event.

9. What would you like anyone know and appreciate about Romania? (food, music, culture, people, history….)

10. Would you ever return to live there fulltime?

I don’t have plans to move there any time soon, but if I ever felt very nationalistic (like Romanians, and ex-pats sometimes do..), I could see myself going back and attempting to live like a king.

11. Could you share with us what are your plans for the future ?

Get married, have kids, and retire here. I kid, I haven’t crossed the right roads to make new critical decision yet. My plans at the moment are to continue to live life to the fullest, enjoy the sun, get to know good people, continue to work for a great company, rinse repeat, pass go, and collect $200.

12. Btw, if you watch world cup – who do you think is going to win – the results so far have been rather surprising?

I’m rooting for USA! The American Revolution was won against the British, Communism fell, USA hockey team won against the Soviet Union, Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl (LOB! LOB! M.O.B!), and many other “it will never happen” events in history did in fact occur… USA can win. We made it out of the so – called ‘Group of Death’, let’s bring the trophy home!

Connect with Paul:
EuroCircle Profile

San Francisco – Carla Suhr, IDESLI Co-Founder from Spain

1. Please introduce yourself.

My name is Carla Suhr, I’m from Spain, and I moved to San Francisco about 6 years ago. I found the area was a special place where I fit really well.

2. Can you tell us about your work?

I co-founded IDESLI International Institute of Linguistics with my partner Monica Vivanco about 5 years ago. IDESLI International Institute of Linguistics is committed to helping professionals, companies and organizations bridge linguistic gaps, build and expand their network, integrate the communities they work with and fulfill their mission by ensuring success in all projects and tasks involving a bilingual or multilingual approach. We provide language courses and multilingual translation.

3. What do you enjoy most about San Francisco, now when you have more experience, how’s the quality of life compared to Spain or where ever you moved from?

It´s fascinating to live in such a liberal and progressive city with a lot of open-minded professionals that want to improve the world.

4. Usually there are some negatives, what are the ones for San Francisco that really stand out for you personally? What do you miss most about “home” what ever that means to you?

I´m not a person who misses things really. Anything that I try to “import” from Spain? Being a little bit more relaxed when hanging out with friends, for example, instead of eating and leaving, I love “la sobremesa”.

5. Did you feel San Francisco is a good place for you as an entrepreneur right now? Are there any areas expats like you might like in the USA better than in San Francisco/Europe in your opinion (entrepreneurs? WHY?

San Francisco Bay area is a great place for entrepreneurs, with a lot of resources and investing companies. It´s also very competitive though, specially for technology start-ups. Probably there are many other cities that are good for entrepreneurs, i.e. New York, I guess it depends on the industry.

6. What are the best places/suburbs to live in San Francisco area in your opinion ?

East Bay has good transportation and is affordable, Marin County is very beautiful.

7. Do you go out a lot – hobbies? Or is everything about work right now? ?

I exercise a lot (hiking, yoga, climbing) and try to go out with friends as much as possible.
Most people in SF are very active.

8. What’s the cost of living compared to Spain or other places you have lived in? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

Rent is particularly expensive in SF. The rest of living costs are pretty similar.

9. What are the Californians like compared to for example people in Spain – do you notice any notable differences? Do you think it is easy meeting people and making friends in SF area?

Yes, it ́s a very diverse city, people have a very wide perspective of the world and are willing to meet new friends..

10. What’s the economic climate like in San Francisco, how would you compare it to Spain right now? Why?

I see that the economy is moving forward and doing better and better in SF. The recovery process in Spain is a bit slower.

11. How does the work culture differ from Spain?

It’s much more casual than in Spain, extremely professional but casual (you can wear jeans and flat shoes), specially in the start-up world.

12. Coming from Finland myself I know a lot about Spain. I also know most people here know very little about Spain, usually it is very superficial and limited to Barcelona and Madrid or Costa del Sol. What would you like to have everyone know about Spain – facts, culture and trivia.

Spain is a very culturally diverse country. I ́m from the Northern coast of Spain,the region called Cantabria, that is actually similar to Northern California, very green, with mountains close to the coast, and extraordinary food. If people are traveling to Spain for two weeks or so, I would recommend them not only to visit the big cities but also to explore the Northern and Southern areas.

13. Did you have any misconceptions about the USA that have turned out to be super wrong….or vice versa, you thought something will be great and it is exactly the other way around?

I didn’t have many expectations as I think it ‘s the best way to go.

14. Do you think your career (business) would be the same in Europe– or does this work better for you? Either way, please explain more.

I’m an entrepreneur by heart and I would have probably opened a business any place I would have lived in. We offer services to cover the specific needs of the SF population (those might be others in other places). i.e teaching Spanish for professionals.

15. If money was not a concern for you what so ever –what would you do?

Money might be one of the little factors that guide me in my decisions, but it’s not the main factor at all. When we started IDESLI, we did it with about $1,000. It wasn’t the money that made us start the business, it was our excitement to create something we believed in and for what we had the education.

16. What are your favorite restaurants/bars in SF?

NOPA and Plant Café Organic in Embarcadero are two of my favorite restaurants. Always good.

17. Is there any advice you would like to offer new expats/entrepreneurs arriving at San Francisco?

Come with an open mind, ready to learn and to give the best of yourself.

18. Anything else you would like to share with us?? Choose freely.

Visit !
We offer language services geared to entrepreneurs and workers coming to the USA from other countries as well: Business English Courses (focusing on pitches, presentations, …) that are available on-site and Online, and Certified Multilingual Translations. If you need any of these services, please email us!

Connect with Carla Suhr:
Carla Suhr at LinkedIn

San Francisco – Dec 31 2014


The largest upscale New Year’s event in Northern California the past 9 years, with SOLD OUT shows every year – so please get your tickets soon! Both General Admission and VIP tickets include all of your drinks for the evening.

This is it! Get set for an amazing end to 2014 as we bring you the most anticipated event of the year- the sophisticated, fun, and upscale A.List New Year’s Eve Ball at the luxurious Westin St. Francis!

This glitzy, landmark event truly embodies what this great city of San Francisco has to offer! Come experience for yourself the exciting and diverse mix of music, fashion, art, culture, sophistication, and charitable causes as we take you into 2015 in style at the largest and most amazing event in town – “Passport to the World NYE Ball!”

Venture all throughout the 30,000+ sq feet going from room to room, experiencing different music and entertainment in each of our 11 different areas, with 7 rooms of music/entertainment! 3,000+ balloons in the midnight balloon drops, the largest in SF!

Special Guest performance by the ‘amazeballs’ 70s-90s cover band – Wonderbread 5!

Featuring all of the following (subject to change):
* Large theme-based props/decor in each of the main rooms
* Hosted bar where all of your beverages are included
* Great live bands playing both covers and originals
* 15 of San francisco’s best dj’s spinning your favorite music
* Live Art taking place right before your very eyes!
* Stilt-walkers/Exhibitionists tantalizing your visual senses

The Countdown has begun… join us at ‘Passport to the World 2015’!

NO REFUNDS, so please plan accordingly prior to purchase

New York – June 27 2014


EuroCircle Meets the World on the top rooftop level of the DL (enclosed)! NO COVER When you say EuroCircle at the Door!

Great DJs will be spinning great tunes all night long! Get on your dancing shoes and join us for a fun night in celebration of the first ever Immigrant Heritage Month with, and multiple other euro-groups listed below! (Tell your story and get a personalized badge for your facebook profile/page at )

Happy Hour Drink Specials $6 beer, $7 wines $8 Standard Liquor until 8 PM and EUROTINIs on Special for $ 10 All Night Long! Food served on the roof till 9pm and in the Restaurant till 3am.
3 Floors – 3 DJs – Full kitchen – Rooftop – Amazing views, newly renovated!

We look forward to seeing you on June 27th!

Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team

Your Hosts:
Luna Atamian, Marylana Augusto:

New York Italians is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Italy and its people through outstanding cultural events and culinary programs, language classes, educational lectures and charities.

Arctic Circle Finns of New York – Harriet Kulmala and Nina Kulmala –

RussianMix Vladimir Shifrin –

GermanyinNYC – is Your Place For All Things German in New York. From a cold draft beer to the latest German movies, art exhibitions and lectures about economics or literature – we tell you where to find it. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter or like us on Facebook. Everyday – in all five boroughs. is owned and operated by the non-for-profit German-American Community Project, Inc. We are happy to serve New York’s German-interest community since founding in 2003. –

About Immigrant Heritage Month:, a non-profit, non-political organization supported by Mark Zuckerberg’s issue advocacy organization, is dedicated to celebrating a United States that is fueled by immigrants from around the world. Through a campaign driven by social media, earned media, partnerships and outreach, aims to help our nation remember and celebrate the richness of our immigrant history – the source of our greatness.

Houston – Anna Zsigrai Grove, Hungary

When I realized that Anna had moved to Houston, I just had to interview her. She was friends with a former EuroCircle team member from NYC, Anu Arponen. Anu nowadays lives in St. Petersburg, FL. She used to run ballroom workshops for NYC based members in Manhattan.

1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about where you are from originally and who you are.

My name is Anna Orsolya Zsigrai Grove and I am from Miskolc, Hungary and currently live in Houston, Texas. I work at the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical center, and am a Sponsored Programs Manager (aka Grants Manager) at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. I work closely with faculty and researchers, advising them on their grant submissions, preparing their budgets and grant applications and other things they need to help them receive funding for their research in tropical medicine, and making sure we follow federal and institutional rules and regulations regarding our spending of sponsor funds.

2. How did you choose your career?

I think the career chose me… I never would have guessed that someday I would be a Grants Manager; I didn’t even know such career existed. I was a banker back in Hungary and after moving to the U.S., started out as a real estate agent in Manhattan. A couple of years later I got a job as a Procurement Analyst at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at the City of New York. One day after work I met a friend of a friend at a Happy Hour and she mentioned they were having a hard time filling a Grants Manager position at the Hospital she worked at and the rest is history.

3. When and why did you move to the USA, where have you lived after that initial move?

I moved to the States exactly eleven years ago and was one of the lucky fifty-five thousand individuals that year to win the green card lottery. I quit my job at the second largest bank in Hungary and got on the plane with two suitcases and some money in my pocket and came to the U.S.

After 7 wonderful and exciting years in New York, I spent a year and a half working for the George Washington University in beautiful downtown Washington, DC. In August of 2010 I moved to Houston, where I have already lived in 3 different places

4. What do you do after work, what interests you?

Beside my full-time employment, I am also a photographer and enjoy taking pictures of the city I live in and the people that live here. My pictures have been used by Apple Inc., Glenn Beck, Christie’s, Bloomberg’s, etc., and can be viewed at I started with fine art back in New York City, however here in Houston I expanded my territory to include event photos (e.g. conferences, art shows), portfolio/portrait photos, and family photos due to high demand.

Collage1 collage2The best part in taking these portrait and family photos are that I do enjoy bringing the best out of each and every one of my clients. Seeing the happiness on their faces when they receive the photos is what I love the most.

I also work with glass. I have recently started selling my glass artwork including fused glass jewelry, home decor and wall art all made by using glass fusing technique. collage3

These items can be viewed at

My plan for the future is to take my photography business and fused glass studio to the next level.

5. What is your favorite food?

Well, I’m a huge “foodie”, and Houston is a great place for finding a large variety of food choices. I like all kinds of food; Thai, Greek, Indian or Middle-Eastern. One of my favorite Houston restaurants is Underbelly, where the food is local and the menu changes every day based on availability of ingredients.

However, I must say I can’t wait to go home and eat real Hungarian food—especially my mom’s home cooked meals!

6.Tell me about your family, where are they now?

Most of my relatives live in Miskolc, the second largest city in Hungary. However, my mom moved to the capital city, Budapest a few years ago. She works for Anheuser-Busch Inbev as a payroll specialist. My sister and her family live in Vienna, Austria. One of my cousins lives in Boston and her brother lived in London until about a year ago. As you can see we are pretty much all over the world.

7. Do you try to go back to Hungary every year? What do you miss the most?

Sadly, I haven’t been back to Hungary in over 5 years. I know it is way overdue so I am happy to say that I have my plane ticket for this summer. August can’t come fast enough…
What I miss the most? I’m not sure. My family and my closest friends for sure. I feel a bit detached right now since it’s been so long that I last visited my country. I feel very nostalgic and I think just walking down the old streets where I grew up and seeing my school building would bring tears to my eyes.

8. How do you see Hungarians being different from Americans?

When I look at Americans and Hungarians I see more similarities than differences. Especially among the younger generation (30 and under). They have access to most things that Americans do, they speak English well, and most of them are well traveled.

9. When you think about life in Hungary vs USA before you moved to the USA – did you have misconceptions that turned out to be wrong?

Not at all. I found it very easy to adjust and I had no surprises. I am able to adapt very easily so it might just be me, although I must say there are things here in America that do make me take a second look and say ‘only in America’.

11. How is the Hungarian community in Houston vs. USA?

Houston has a relatively large Hungarian community, centered around the Hungarian American Cultural Association, of which I am an active member. Its leader, Richard Graber, is a fantastic organizer, and keeps the organization vibrant and active. Hungarians here in Houston tend to stay for a few years and then move on or move back home after having gone to medical school here, doing residency or working for an oil company for a few years. So we always have new faces in the crowd, but it’s very diverse, too, both in terms of age and how long they have been here. We hold regular Hungarian Happy Hours every first Friday of the month at a local Greek restaurant. We also try to celebrate major Hungarian anniversaries, get together for picnics or other gatherings, and there are sometimes Hungarian folk dancing and music events—there is also an honorary Hungarian consulate in Houston, Philip Aronoff.

12. Who do you think are the Hungarians the average American may know?

The average American is probably familiar with the following people even though some may not know they are of Hungarian origin: Adrien Brody, Zsa zsa Gabor, Mariska Hargitay, Goldie Hawn, Toni Curtis, George Cukor, Gene Simmons, George Pataki, Erno Rubik, Calvin Klein, George Soros, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy just to name a few…

13. Would you ever return to live in Hungary full-time?

At this point I’m not sure. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Connect with Anna:

Philadelphia – Jun 18 2014


*** SPECIAL OFFER FROM THE PYRAMID CLUB: If you make a donation of $100 or more to our benefit, the Pyramid Club will waive its membership initiation fee. This is an unprecedented opportunity to become a member of one of the most exclusive private cubs in the city with amenities such as business services, concierge and work spaces.

The spring brought flowers to some parts of the world, and devastating floods to others. Though the media coverage has been limited, the damage to the cities and villages throughout the Balkan region has been tremendous. Entire cities are under water, and our friends and neighbors could use all the help they can get.

TICKETS: $15 in advance, $20 cash at door:


With the help of local organizations, EuroCircle is holding a benefit to raise funds for the victims. All funds raised through ticket sales and donations for this event will benefit the victims.

TICKETS: $15 in advance, $20 cash at door:


So please come out, and help us raise money for an excellent cause.

As always, there will be a cash bar, with drink specials (ask for the Eurotini), and light hors d’oeuvres.

I am looking forward to seeing you,

Sherry Kumar

Atlanta – Jul 16 2014

Greetings everyone;

July 16th EuroCircle Summer Cocktails will take place @ DON ANTONIO in Buckhead, coincidentally right next to the St. Regis Hotel with plenty of free parking.

I met with the owners of the venue and they look forward to hosting our event on Wednesday, July 16th with free appetizers and some of the best pizza in town.
In addition, we will enjoy $5 ‘Aperol’ spritzers and $5 Mimosas as well as a full bar for those who want to partake in other beverages…

Sorry again for the last minute venue and date change – the invites for next week’s event will be posted soonest both on the EuroCircle website as well as on FB…please feel free to also invite your international friends to our event who are not yet EuroCircle members…

Looking forward to seeing everyone @ Don Antonio!

Atlanta EuroCircle

Chicago – July 31 2014

$20 admission (includes 2 complimentary drinks – beer or wine, AND appetizers)

We are loooong overdue for an event, but hopefully all the great things we have in store at this one will make up for our hiatus!

Please join EC Chicago, the Greek Media Club, HPSI and FilmHellenes for a very special night of mixing and mingling under the stars to benefit the 2014 Greek Film Festival in Chicago!

Hopefully the weather gods will smile upon us and we’ll be able to enjoy the rooftop- which we will have all to ourselves!

Special guest stars to make an appearance…stay tuned!
Please RSVP if you plan to attend- there is limited space available and we expect to fill up quickly!

Looking forward to seeing you all on the 31st!

Austin – July 13 2014

Note: this is not an official EuroCircle event but just wanted to post it to support Gene & Co
(not to mention it is a great place to watch it, plenty of space and for soccer fans – big screen projector…)

Germany vs Argentina.

Watch it at the Brass House – with a BIG SCREEN PROJECTOR
4-8 pm, 1/2 prize appetizers and $3 pints