Santi Fox’s LA Life as Photographer, Videographer, Graphic Designer and Art Director

Tell us about yourself – who are you and what would be the short story of your life?

I’m a Finnish/American photographer, videographer, graphic designer and art director. I’m born and raised in Helsinki, Finland and moved to Los Angeles 19th of November, 2012. So I arrived just in time for my first Thanksgiving. Was suffering from jet lag though and fell asleep right after eating the turkey.
I got the idea of filming a mini documentary series with a friend of mine, Axl Smith who is a TV-personality in Finland for The Voice. So I left my Art Directors position at Night People Group and decided to move to the US.
For a long time I already had the dream of living in California before I’m 25 years old. And felt it was time to take on new challenges for my personal development and professional career.

What is THE thing/s about Los Angeles vs. your hometown captivates you the most? If someone asked you what they should NOT miss while in Los Angeles what would you reply?
And what I really SHOULD miss….the only thing I recall about Los Angeles is that it is huge..I have been there only 3 times in my life. I recall Santa Monica the best.

First of all the scenery in Los Angeles is just incredible. Since the sun shines so often, wherever you are in the LA area you can catch amazing landscapes and cityscapes. What I miss about Helsinki is walking the streets, trams, fast commuting and dog parks.
I’ve been very fortunate and had a bunch of friends visit Los Angeles and have had the chance to go around and explore. Here’s my top places that they kind of have to go with me if it’s possible.
Take a hike at Runyon Canyon, usually steep up the hills is the way to go. If Samuli Vauramo comes along, it’s a tough workout with the weighted vests. Always a Blast!
I live right next to Larchmont Village and there’s a couple of nice restaurants and ice cream spots there.
Take a drive to Malibu and visit the Family Wines estate on the hills for a tasting.
And for nightlife there’s a couple of spots in Hollywood and Downtown Piano Bar, Greystone Manor, Village Idiot, The Sayers Club, The Standard, W Hotel Sundays and the absolute madness at XIV Summer Sessions.
I don’t think there’s anything to you SHOULD miss in LA, but I personally hate going anywhere near Hollywood Blvd unless I’m going to get some Swedish snus and a Red Bull.

Anything truly memorable that has happened to you since you have lived in Los Angeles?

There’s a couple of talks I’ve had with my friends that are in the same line of work that really had a big impact on me and really helped me through. Been lucky and blessed in getting to know a bunch of really good people that keep me going and doing my best, always.
And a couple of really memorable events have been Alicia Keys concert at the Staples Center. Amazing person and the show was incredible. Have to thank Alicia for a good show and Swizz for the motivational words.

What really annoys you about Los Angeles – or maybe nothing does? And what do you miss most from Finland or any other country…in addition to the family and friends?

The fact that tap water isn’t always drinkable annoys me a little bit. The internet speeds and their pricing…!
From Finland I miss – Lonkero. Lonkero. Lonkero. But most of all my mothers cooking.

Do you have a favorite LA restaurant? Why….what is the good and bad about restaurant / café culture in your opinion in LA compared to for example Finland.

Gyu-Kaku in Beverly Hills is my favourite. It’s perfect for dinner since you have time to have good discussions and great for bigger groups. And they have happy hour Sapporo for $1,5! Boom!

I like the fact that here the restaurant workers often put an effort into making your experience amazing. The culture of tipping probably makes that happen.

Where and how would you live in LA or elsewhere if money is not an obstacle – compared to how you live now or would you stay where you are? Why?

Really like living in Hancock Park where I got my apartment a couple months after arriving here. In the future, I’d want to buy a house so I can have the family and a couple of dogs there. And of course my own studio. This area has lots of beautiful houses and lofts, so would like to stay in this area.

What is important to you in your life. For some people it is expensive cars, clothes, apartment, lots of free time, parties – for some others it may be having a spouse and kids. Someone once said to me that every day when she wakes up and there is no war – she is happy.

For me it’s always been that as long as I see development in everything I’m doing, I’m happy. That means I’m on a good personal path for growth. Friends and family is absolutely the biggest thing, they support me from both Finland and Northern California. Also blessed to be able to provide work and work with so many of my friends and keep the group on the path to success.

And ice-hockey is very important for me, I play on a weekly basis at the Pickwick Gardens in Burbank. Our team wears Jokerit (boo!) jerseys but the trick is to not let the jersey touch your skin and you’ll be fine. En gång alltid. HIFK.

How do you think your life would be different if you stayed in Finland? What would be a typical day or week in your opinion in Finland vs. LA…

Hmm. I probably would have gone to get more education just because it’s free and also since I didn’t feel like there were too many opportunities to grow personally and professionally. It started to feel crowded. Worked in nightlife ever since I was 18.. I’ve loved the chance to always get the experience I need from working hard as a entrepreneur and at various companies.
Well in LA I do way more photography since there’s just so much more to see here. And you always find something new and the weather is mostly amazing.
I would have probably continued to work with the great people I was already working with, and hopefully went on to their new ventures that I’m helping with as a freelancer now. I’m still in contact with clients and colleagues from Finland on a daily basis.

What are the biggest misconceptions (or perceptions that turned out to be correct) you had about the USA/LA when you moved there– and vice versa you think many of us have about Finland?

Thought people might be rude and you have to wear dress shoes to the nightclubs. Turns out both of those were wrong. People are really nice and welcoming. Turns out, not that many know anything about Finland or where it even geographically is. But their first guess is that Finns can drink a lot and are really good at Ice-Hockey.

If there are some things you think everyone should know about the Finnish people, city, food, culture, drinks, music – what are those things to you personally? I don’t even know how many Finnish people are there in LA, do you?? How do you find the Finnish people there if you want to do that?

Really important are Fazer, Marimekko, Supercell, Rovio, Finnish directors and creatives. There’s lots of good music from the homeland, but mostly they can’t understand it since it’s in Finnish. Be sure to check out Jutty Ranx, BRVNDO & Gracias.

What would be a perfect vacation and /or weekend for you?

A perfect weekend would be to drive up to Lake Tahoe to our family home to play some pond hockey and run around with the dog. And of course my perfect vacation is always back home to Helsinki to meet moms and everyone else. Weekend trips to Anaheim or Malibu are good local things to do. Go DUCKS!

What do you consider as your biggest accomplishments career-wise and what are your further goals? You are extremely diverse which sometimes means that career kills your personal life to some extent, how do you handle that?

I guess getting new clients right after moving to the US was one of the biggest accomplishments and having my photography on Billboard. I got introduced to the NERVO girls and got to travel with them to places I a year before going just dreamed of. Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Coachella Festival. My photo of them has been used world wide in various different event promotions for NERVO as well as their Hold On cover. They and their team loved the photo and I’ve gotten emails from their fans praising my work. So that was a really special moment for me and for that I’m truly greatfull. Thank Jaakko Manninen for the intro and tips.

Also another project that was amazing was spending a day at the ATP Tennis Tournament with Jarkko Nieminen, this guy is amazing.

I want to develop all my skills as much as possible and stay active in all of them. Maybe someday I’ll just focus on one thing, but highly doubt it.

What would you like to accomplish in the next 10 years in your career?

Well I’ve been wanting to have time to shoot a short film this year. I like to show stories so that would be a natural thing to move onto. But this year will probably go into working with music videos and some more behind the scenes materials. Love showing an angle that everyone can’t see, they might see the final product, but from the bts viewpoint they see the natural side of people.

And I’m starting to sell my personal photography on my new website to offer my photography in luxury quality prints internationally.

How would you like people remembering you? I am asking this as a friend of mine died this week of cancer and I had this discussion with you as he had thought about it quite a bit.

I haven’t actually thought about that at all. But I guess it would be that I’ve been an honest person and always looked out for others. Most of the things I do is based on something I want to do for my friends or to bring them along later in the process.

Peace to your friend and hopefully he is remembered as he wished.

Connect with Santi:




Atlanta – March 05 2014

Photos © Eurocircle. For privacy reasons we ask you not to copy these to Facebook or other social networks

Greetings everyone;

Our March Eurocircle Get-together will take place next Wednesday, March 5th at ROSE BAR, located at 3115 Piedmont Road in Buckhead.

Start time will be around 7:30 pm as usual.

The venue does not offer food but we will have several drink specials on hand – valet parking is also available for $5, otherwise feel free to park in the area near the venue…

We are looking forward to seeing everyone there next week!!!

Atlanta Eurocircle

PS. The name of the location is very appropriate since next week is also International Women’s Day (March 8) so let’s dedicate this event to our wonderful ladies

Austin – Varda & Vladimir and The Russians in Austin

Varda and Vladimir opened their restaurant, Russian House in October 2012. I interviewed Varda 2 years ago (From Russia With Love and had a lovely EuroCircle event in October at the Russian House. We have joined forces again this year for the traditional International Women’s Day party on March 8 (during SXSW) with Varda & Vladimir. I wanted to find out what’s up with the two of them – Varda just returned from a little trip for her birthday from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

You opened in October 2012 after numerous delays and unpleasant surprises. Once the restaurant opened did you run into more surprises, for example different regulations, permissions or laws that may surprise a foreigner?

Yes, taxes. No matter how much you think you are ready for them; it s always a surprise

You’re scheduled for the electric chair. What’s your last meal? What about your husband’s?

I really doubt I would have an appetite before getting on the electrical chair, so I would stick to my Russian nature and would ask for the whole bottle of vodka and enjoy the ride…Vladimir totally agreed with me

What are 3 tips for running a successful restaurant in your opinion?

Self organization and discipline, passion for whatever you do and full commitment

How difficult or expensive is it to be a green food restaurant – do you try that?

Just as hard as making everything from scratch; hard but rewarding

What are your future plans for the restaurant? (décor, menu, entertainment, staffing etc)

Continue to improve and grow in every aspect of this business and spread love for Russian Cuisine and Culture

In today’s struggling economy, what steps have you taken to continue to lure consumers in??

We offer both meal and drink specials regularly (each day of the week has its special) for instance on Mondays we have 50% OFF on vodka infusions and appetizers, happy hour specials, tango nights. We put a lot of effort on not only feeding guests with high quality food but entrainment (“Khleba I zrelish” as the Russian saying states “All we need is a little bit of bread and circus”. Our entertainment not only includes parties, but cooking Classes, Taste of USSR Evenings where one can explore Cuisines os all the Former Soviet Republics, FREE Russian Classes and much more. Combination of Authentic Cuisine along with Cultural Aspect is the key

Do you peruse food reviews and review sites such as Yelp?

Yes, maybe even more than I should. I take every review very personal, I always respond to reviewers; thank them for positive feedback and try to correct the negative reviews, I discuss the reviews with my staff, and I want to make sure they understand the importance of customer’s feedback. Positive reviews make us all feel very good and make us all work even harder so please don’t hesitate to share your positive experiences you had at Russian House with us.

When you’re at home or someone else cooks for you, do people feel pressured to cook you something fancy because you own a restaurant and Vladimir, and your husband is a chef?

Unfortunately I don’t have many friends who are willing to cook for us; we are expected to be well fed

Where do you get your ingredients from? What are the best restaurants you’ve eaten at in Austin outside your own?

Local farms, local food stores, New York, California (for special Russian goodies)- many sources.

We are always up to exploring more and more restaurants in Austin and are always looking for new interesting concepts. We are regulars to Wholefoods as it s very close to where we live and just a great place to buy good quality different foods. And we both love sushi.

What do you cook yourself and your family at home? Or do you cook?

I don’t cook. We usually eat at the restaurant or take some of our restaurant’s food home. I do make salads though, but I go to Russian House or other great Austin restaurants for a full meal

If you were to open a new restaurant, what style of food would you pick and where would it be??

No spying, Kaisa ! I do have several ideas for new restaurants. Location; Austin (yes, I would open another restaurant in Austin!) California and Europe

As far as the menu goes, after 1 ½ years you have learned from experiences what do people like the most and the least? Was there any surprises, would you change anything….

Surprise #1 The biggest surprise to me is that the most well known Russian/Ukrainian dishes such as borsch and beefstroganoff are well know for a great reason; people love love love them, not just because they want to stick to something they already know, but even those who have never had them before love them from the first bite/spoon
Surprise#2 Americans like pickled herring ! Especially our appetizer; pickled herring with pan fried potatoes. And yes, people drink a lot of vodka
Least Favorite: kholodec (an absolute Russian delicacy !) jellied meat cold appetizer.
Yes, we have made some adjustments to the menu. We had to make the menu a little smaller, I feel like people were a bit overwhelmed with the size of the menu and it was hard to make a choice.

Tell me if you have ever been insulted so much that you had to kick somebody out?

Yes, there were instances when I had to kick people out, not because I was personally insulted (people are usually afraid to mess with me; 1. I am Russian and we all know nobody wants to mess with Russians, 2. I got Vladimir behind my back at all times, 3. The whole Russian Crew will be there to protect me) but because of their inappropriate behavior in public. I m responsible for every single person who walks through the Russian House’s door and my job is to make sure all my guests feel welcomed, happy and comfortable so if there is anyone who is aggressive in their behavior and is disturbing others, they will be asked to leave

What was the worst meal that you’ve had? What’s the worst meal you’ve prepared?

I really cannot recall the worst meal I have had but I sure know I have prepared some and I am very lucky to have Vladimir who has made my life not only amazing but gastronomy amazing

I am sure the Russian community has really found you – as well as other Europeans. What do you think the Europeans like the best at the restaurant (food/drinks/décor….)

I really cannot recall the worst meal I have had but I sure know I have prepared some and I am very lucky to have Vladimir who has made my life not only amazing but gastronomy amazing

What would be a perfect weekend for you and Vladimir – if you do not have to work at all?

Turn off cell phones and spend a weekend in Moscow in the summer with our families

Anything else you would like to share with us?? I think I heard somewhere you made the cover of Austin Chronicle?? Are you still working as a sports agent?

I m very thankful for all the support we have been receiving and I m very happy and grateful I can spread the love for my origins and cuisine.
I am fully committed to Russian House (please refer to question about successful business tips!)
I was never told I would be on the cover, what an amazing surprise. I am very thankful to all the media support we receive. (all those years I played professional basketball, all that sweat never got me on the cover of any newspaper, all those cat walks I have done being a model never got me on the cover of any magazines, but love and hard work for Russian House did and I AM very proud of it.

Connect with Varda:
Restaurant websitee:
Facebook Fan Page

New York – Ximena Ojeda and New York Latin Culture

Introduce yourself, please.

My name is Ximena Ojeda and I’m originally from Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. I was a classical ballerina most of my life, but now I publish a guide to world-class culture in Manhattan with an Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Latin American heritage.

Tell us about Colombia and how it’s different from the US?

The best part of Colombia is its people. We are happy, family-oriented, coffee lovers, who are crazy about soccer and proud of the regional variety in our country.

New York Latin Culture – can you tell us what that is about?

New York Latin Culture™ is New York’s guide to world-class culture in Manhattan with an Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Latin American heritage. We cover art, music, dance, theatre, film, fashion, food and sports. The guide is distributed through over 200 of Manhattan’s luxury residences, private clubs, five-star hotels, art galleries, fashion boutiques, consulates and cultural institutions.

When did you start New York Latin Culture? What is your mission?

New York Latin Culture started in 2010 with the goal of finding and promoting the best of Latin culture to all Americans.

How long have you been in New York for?

I moved to New York City in 2000.

Describe the Latin Culture? What are your favorite things about it?

Our definition of Latin culture is with an Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Latin American heritage. Latin people come from all races, religions and corners of the earth.

Family and friends are the most important things in life for Latin people. Culture comes right after that. And we like to talk…a lot.

Can you tell us your favorite things about Colombia? What should people see if they are visiting?

The geography of Colombia on the northern coasts and spine of South America creates a diverse country that has retained its regional cultures even today. So if you visit Colombia you have to go all over to the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast, the mountains of Bogotá, high desert and the Amazon jungle. Each part has a unique geography and culture.

What kind of food, culture does Colombia have?

We have so many regions that it is impossible to pick one as the typical Colombian food. Many Colombians are good artists, musicians and dancers. We have our own style of Colombian Salsa.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do for fun in New York? Outside of New York?

I still love to dance and train several times a week.

How did you find out about EuroCircle? How long have you been a member? What other groups are you a member of?

I don’t remember, but I discuss culture with hundreds of New Yorkers every month so EuroCircle came up somewhere in that. I just joined recently, but I’m impressed with the quality of the people in EuroCircle and how friendly everyone is.

How can our members find out more New York Latin Culture?

Connect with Ximena Ojeda and New York Latin Culture:
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Life in the “ATL” – Atlanta

Atlanta is a diverse city in the south east of the USA, located in the State of Georgia. The city has numerous claims to fame including host of the Olympics in 1996, home to Coca Cola and CNN, the largest aquarium in the world, the busiest airport in the world, and home to many celebrities including the late Whitney Houston, Ludacris, Usher and, at one time, Elton John.

Atlanta has in recent years become a very popular location for filming, and at any given time, you can be sure there is at least one movie being filmed here. Just recently the Hunger Games II film unit set up camp just around the corner to my office. The popular TV show “The Walking Dead” is also filmed here.Atlanta itself is what I would call a “suburban city”. It’s a city of rolling hills, dense with trees; of skyscrapers interspersing with residential bungalows, cottages, Greek revival homes, and sprawling estates. For the sake of simplicity, I will divide Atlanta into 3 sections – Downtown – largest business district/sporting venues, Midtown – 2nd largest business district, art and cultural center, home of Piedmont Park; and Buckhead – 3rd largest business district, home to two upscale shopping malls and home to the Governor.

Outside of these three main areas, the very funky and hip Decatur/Virginia Highlands/Little Five Points/Fourth Ward borders to the east, and the very cool “Westside” borders to the, well, west… So it’s a city with different pockets of areas to visit, and a city, unfortunately, with a transport system that needs a complete overhaul – a car is necessary for exploring. And it’s worth exploring.

Atlanta has everything – it’s just a case of finding it! There is a thriving singles scene, dictated mostly by the various “meet-up” groups that exist, and world-class shopping, restaurants and nightlife. There is also a great expat community (thanks of course to EuroCircle), and a large number of European pubs/eateries.

It can get very hot here in the summer, with mosquitoes the size of F16s, and, with no ocean to escape to without a 3-4 hour drive, many Atlantans escape to the north Georgia mountains to cool off. Atlanta fringes on the Appalachians, and just an hour or so north are the Blue Ridge mountains. Hiking, white-water rafting, and mountain climbing are just some of the activities available in these areas, but if you prefer something more relaxing, there are also several good wineries to visit.

It can get cold in winter – in fact, it’s snowed for 5 years out of the 6 that I’ve lived here. And trust me when I tell you – when it snows, the city comes to a complete halt. Seriously. Even if it’s a light dusting – the world here stops. So if you come and visit, spring and fall may be the best months. We look forward to seeing y’all!

Vicki Cimkentli
Linkedin profile

A Young Dutch Scientist Derya Deveci @ Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo

I always find it interesting why people make certain life choices – whether it is family or career. There are certain topics that touch most of us in life one way or another. One of those is cancer. I am sure everyone has someone in their family who has/had cancer – or knows people who died of cancer. Some of my friends chose to try to find a cure the same way Derya did.

Tell us about yourself – who are you and what would be the short story of your life?

My name is Derya and I’m from Apeldoorn, a city located east of the Netherlands, where I have lived my entire life. I am 23 years old and my parents have a Turkish origin, hence the name ;). After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences in Deventer, I enrolled in a 2- years Master’s program at the Free University of Amsterdam where I study Biomolecular Sciences. In my second year I had the option to either stay and complete my degree in Amsterdam, or apply for an interdisciplinary program, CanSys (cancer & systems biology). This program would allow students to earn a dual Master’s degree, Biomolecular Sciences from Amsterdam and Natural Sciences from the University of Buffalo. Students would spend a year in Buffalo and also six weeks in Luxembourg to write a literature thesis. Of course I decided to apply for this this cool, special program- and look where I am now. Currently I am doing research at the lab at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. For the ones who don’t know, Roswell is a famous cancer institute in the United States where a ton of international researchers combine their knowledge and skills to understand and cure cancer. My research is based on therapies that are used to treat patients that have metastasis (cancer spreading from the primary tumor to other parts of the body). Often when treated with anti- metastatic therapies, patients stop responding to treatment. My job is to find out what is causing this resistance so we can improve current treatment in the clinic. The reason I absolutely love my job in the lab is that 1) science is awesome ;), which gets me motivated, and 2) is because I’m actually doing something good for other people by doing something that I love, and find very interesting.

What is THE thing/s about Buffalo captivates you the most? If someone asked you what they should NOT miss while in Buffalo, what would reply? And what I really SHOULD miss….the only thing I currently know about Buffalo is that it sounds FREEZING.

Ok. Yes you should definitely miss out the winter in Buffalo. Snow is definitely something that has captivated me the most- I have never, in my entire life, seen this much snow fall from the sky in such a short period of time. Something you should obviously not miss out on is the Niagara Falls. Even though the Canadians have a much better view of the Falls, you should definitely have a look at the American side and do one of those boat tours- maid of the mist.

Anything truly memorable that has happened to you since you have lived in Buffalo?

Lets see.. polar vortex, color run, Niagara falls, halloween.. and Obama! Ok, so I arrived in Buffalo 15th of August and on the 16th we received an email from UB announcing that Obama would hold a speech at the university. UB had only a certain amount of tickets available for students to attend his speech, which you could win by entering a ticket lottery. A couple of minutes before the deadline I rushed to enter, not expecting I would even have a chance of winning. Days past and I had completely forgotten about the Obama thing because I was busy settling in my new apartment, until I received an email saying that I had won to see Obama!! Literally one week upon moving to the United States I got to see the President of America in person which was absolutely one of the most memorable things that ever happened to me

What really annoys you about Buffalo – or maybe nothing does? Netherlands..same question?

The weather. And oh, did I mention the weather? I keep looking onto this huge pile of snow right in front of my window every morning I wake up. Other than the Antarctic weather conditions in Buffalo another thing that annoys me is the size of Buffalo. It is incredible hard to go from A to B without owning a car. A simple visit from our place to Roswell is 10 minutes by shuttle (thank god we have shuttles), and a whopping 50+ minutes when taking the bus- metro- walk route. Unfortunately for the people who work in the lab we often had to work weekends when our shuttles don’t run.

What do you miss most from The Netherlands or Europe…in addition to the family and friends?

I would say that I really miss the bubbly atmosphere in the city center in the Netherlands. People seem to be more out and about, walking down the streets and going to places more easily. Due to the huge size of the city of Buffalo I know you cannot just walk from A to B, so I rarely see people walking outside- pretty weird. Another thing I miss is the European nightlife!

Do you have a favorite Buffalo restaurant? Why….what is the good and bad about restaurant / café culture in your opinion in Buffalo.

I definitely have to check out more restaurants, but for now I would for sure go for Indian Gate! I know it isn’t very American but I absolutely loved their food as well as the interior of the restaurant. Especially for the amount of money you spend eating here it is great! Oh, and apparently the chicken wings at the Anchor Bar are good- which I personally don’t know because I’m a vegetarian. And how could I forget about the Cheesecake Factory? I know the restaurant is pretty overrated but their cheesecake is absolutely heavenly! Something I had never heard of in the Netherlands.

Where and how would you live in Buffalo or elsewhere if money is not an obstacle – compared to how you live now or would you stay where you are? Why?

I asked myself this question a couple of days ago. If I had the money I would probably live near Elmwood or Allentown. However, living downtown would definitely make it harder for me to go to the lab every day if I had to take the bus/metro so I would probably stick to where I live now, Collegiate Village. Unless I had a car I would live downtown for sure because there is absolutely nothing behind the Collegiate Village gates.

What do you think about the cost of living in the Netherlands vs Buffalo and the standard of life and life style? Very different..??

I was shocked when I first moved to Buffalo. I have heard stories from others that had visited the United States but it was only after I moved here that I would actually believe it. Everything, and absolutely everything is incredibly cheap! Cars, gas, food, restaurants, shoes, clothes- everything. I think its going to be pretty hard for me to adjust to the Dutch way of living when I move back to the Netherlands..

If you could change something about Buffalo vs. NL – what would it be?

I would change the public transportation in Buffalo. In the Netherlands (and other places in Europe) you can easily get by without owning a car but here in Buffalo you cannot go anywhere without a car which is a bit unfortunate for exchange students.

How do you think your life would be different if you stayed in the Netherlands or at least Europe? What would be a typical day or week in your opinion in the NL vs. Buffalo…

My life in the Netherlands would definitely be very different. My home town in the Netherlands (and any other city) is very compact- it is very easy to commute to the supermarket, for example, just by bike. I would be biking my way to work and I would definitely struggle less with the weather ;). I recently talked to my parents, and they told me they haven’t even seen any snow ever since I left home!

What are the biggest misconceptions (or perceptions that turned out to be correct) you had about Buffalo when you moved here– and vice versa you think many of us have about the Dutch/Amsterdam/food etc?

The biggest misconception Americans have with the Dutch is weed. Believe it or not, we don’t carry and smoke weed 24/7, and Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands- it’s not a country (can’t remember how many times I had to explain this to people). One of misconceptions I had about Buffalo would be the people. I didn’t expect Buffalo to have this many people from Asian countries- China, India.. Most people I met in Buffalo are actually not even from Buffalo!

If there are some things you think everyone should know about the Dutch people, country, food, culture, drinks, music – what are those things to you personally? I don’t even know how many Dutch people are here in Buffalo, do you?? How can anyone find the Dutch people in Buffalo or online…

There are way too many things Americans should know about the Dutch. One of those things is that we are very down to earth- we are not from a ‘Hi how are you’ kind of culture. We may seem very closed and unfriendly at a glance, but once you get to know us better we can be very open and friendly. Unlike most Americans that tell you ‘we should hang out sometime’ (and after that you never hear from them at all), the Dutch are very specific and will actually meet up with you if we ever say those things!
Other than that, people in the US should know that Amsterdam is not a country, nor the capital of Europe, but the capital of the Netherlands.
Luckily I didn’t come to Buffalo on my own- I am part of a huge Dutch group of 11 people! It is pretty easy to spot the Dutch. Just follow the weird crowd that speaks a funny language and you will find me. We always go out together!

UPDATE June 2014: For the next 4 years Derya will be working in one of the most beautiful places in Nice, France in order to obtain her PhD (Signalife PHd program).

Connect with Derya:

Austin – February 21 2014

Please join us for this fun evening to celebrate Venetian style. Door prize will be awarded to the best dressed man or woman of the evening.

Attire: we would love to see all ladies in formal (floor length) evening gown plus mask. Gentlemen in semi formal, black tie or a dark suit and tie instead plus mask.

Questions and Answers for dress codes

Your Team:

Alexandra, Carla, Katerina and Emma

About the venue:
The Personal Wine Red Room – A Room filled with wine that may or may not exist off 3rd St.
Our General Manager is Sommelier Bill Elsey, Winner of Texas’ Best Sommelier Competition 2011. Owner is Alex Andrawes and the chef died in 1880.

Giulia Millanta – Italian Singer-Songerwriter from Florence Creates Beautiful Music

I love featuring European singers and authors – and I have really missed meeting more Italians. When I lived in NYC I knew some many Italians as there is such a huge Italian community there. Not to mention that I have visited Italy multiple times.

Please tell us who you are?

Ciao! My name is Giulia Millanta, I’m from Florence, Italy but I now live in Austin, Texas. I’m a guitar player, singer and songwriter. I’m about to release my fourth album, “The Funambulist”this March. I launched a Kickstarter campaign a couple of weeks ago to raise money to independently release it.

I’m also an MD …yes, you got that right…I’m a doctor in medicine but never practiced a single day as one…I’ve been now a professional musician for 5 years.

When and why did you start playing/singing – and which instruments do you play?

My Dad, a professor at the University of Florence, used to play guitar (he owned 11!) and he taught me a few basics when I was about 9…from that moment on I kept playing, off and on, my whole life. We used to sing together traditional English, Spanish, and American songs. I play guitar and ukulele and, of course, I play my vocal chords 🙂

What was the first tune(s) you learned?

Scarborough Fair. I was 5 years old. I even have a recording of it, on cassette!

Is your family musical? Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.

As I said, my dad used to play guitar and sing..he also could whistle very loud! My mom used to play piano and my sister flute. Even though they were all very talented, none of them has ever been a professional musician. I’m the only one in the family.

Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Well..the list is long: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, because they were geniuses and they contributed hugely to what music is, these day! I’ve love Neil Young since I was a teenager..I thought for a while he was my soul mate! I could always relate to his lyrics, the depth and soulfulness of them, the desolation and loneliness that his imperfect and yet beautiful voice evokes in me.
Recently (a couple of years ago) I fell madly in love with Tom Waits. My ears can never get enough of his music. It’s always new. There’s always something to discover, a little detail that reveals itself even after the millionth time I listen to his songs.

What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

Of course playing and singing with my father and my sister. I remember watching my dad playing in the living room, with a cigarette in his mouth at the end of the day. Later, by becoming a musician myself, I had the privilege to travel and share my music with people from different parts of the world. That’s the best thing about music: sharing it.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

We had lots of vinyl at home: Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Al Stewart…I wore them out!

Have you been in competitions – they are not for all musicians? Any prizes?

I don’t really like competitions. Music is not about winning something. And also, is there a meter to judge music? It’s so subjective…
Having said that, yes, I’ve been in a competition in Italy at The International Acoustic Guitar Festival and I won prize as best emerging songwriter.

Where do you perform in public? Concerts, radio, TV?

I perform mostly in Austin, at the moment and Europe. I am about to release my new record and go on tour in Europe next March.
In Austin I’ll have my CD release concert on April 12th at Strange Brew, 7pm.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, possibly another job?

I don’t have a job, music is my job, is how I make a living and is also my full commitment. I don’t have children. I have a partner who is a musician as well and that makes it easier.

Do you spend time every year in Italy?

Yes I do. Italy is my home and I love it and miss it when I’m away for too long.
So, I try to go back at least once a year, to spend time with my folks and tour. This March I’ll be in Europe for a month, touring in Holland, Sweden and Italy. Can’t wait!

Could you share with us how you first found out about EuroCircle

I got involved with the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce and through them I discovered you guys! Also, when you are far from home you feel the need to connect with your folks!

Connect with Giulia:
Kickstarter campaign:


Philadelphia – Feb 19 2014

EuroCircle Art Opening with Lilliana Didovic

Join Eurocircle as we explore the exhibit NATURAL MEMORY AND SPIRITUAL TRAVELING by two artists Lilliana Didovic, an expressionist, and Dexiang Qian a traditional painter.

Born in Croatia, and having escaped her homeland of Bosnia in 1992, Didovic was granted political asylum in USA in 1995. Here, she has won numerous awards and established herself as a true Philadelphian artist through countless solo and group exhibitions. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at the DaVinci
Art Alliance.

From the opposite side of the globe, we present Dexang Qiang, from the city of Hunan, Zhijiang. He is a former professor of Fine arts from Hunan Normal University, and the current president of American Association of original artists. He divides his time living in China and Philadelphia.

In his beautiful traditional oil paintings, Dexiang will paint Philadelphia images with his native China in his heart. Lilliana’s paintings make connection between three cities that have influenced her life, Šibenik, Croatia, her home city of Sarajevo, Bosnia and adopted city of Philadelphia, USA.

Our evening begins with wine and light hors d’oeuvres. We will have the pleasure of meeting both artists in person, for an in depth view of their collection.

Houston – February 19 2014

EuroCircle Houston Pre-Spring Party

Please join our Pre-Spring Party at Sorrel Urban Bistro, a great venue to mingle with our international friends. The bistro features farm-to-table bites and drinks at Happy Hour prices, all evening exclusive to the EuroCircle friends.

Feel free to extend the invitation to your friends.

Your EC ambassadors, Venere, Shahla, Juliana, and Mary Beth

Location: Sorrel Urban Bistro
2202 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098
(713) 677-0391 (