New York – Jan 24 2014

EuroCircle’s 15th Anniversary Celebration

This is a ticketed event ($65 if paid by Jan 23 9 pm)) and must be purchased in advance of the event. Limited tickets ($75) may be available at the door but are not guaranteed. No refunds.
Join us for a fun night at this beautiful private club in celebration of EuroCircle’s 15th Anniversary.
There will be passed hors d’ouevres, wine, soft drinks and Tito’s Handmade Vodka (

Dance Demonstration by Dancesport360 Founder Benito Garcia who is a Multi-faceted Ballroom Dance Teacher, movement Coach and choreographer. One of the most sought out dance trainers in AMERICA.
A revolutionary dance preparation program focusing on improving your function, coordination and body-awareness.
Paula Jaakkola, singer-songwriter will be performing songs from her new album. Born and raised in Helsinki Finland, Paula Jaakkola is a New York based singer-songwriter and a pianist who released her debut solo album ‘Holy’ independently in New York in November 2013. It is a moving debut that introduces a gifted talent who has heart breaking stories of lost love and passion, a new musical territory blended with hints of Nordic melancholy and the energetic pulse of New York City.
DJ Max Layn will be spinning tunes throughout the evening –
Dance performance Inka Juslin – Finnish dancer who has been in New York with companies such as Melinda Ring, Robin Rapoport, Malina Raushenfels, Susan Kozel, Yara Arts Group, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, among others.
Her blog

Meet our sponsor Jan Gunnar Johansson – mention EuroCircle fora free consultation.

Tel (212) 517-2750 or, (917) 885-3448,  Fax (212)988-2385 email;  Also please visit ; for additional information.

Sponsorship is available for the event! Email Alex for more details at

Ladies – Cocktail Attire or black tie
Gentlemen: Business attire or black tie

We look forward to celebrating this milestone with all of you!

Your Hosts:

New York Italians
Danes in New York
Arctic Circle Finns of NY
Sherry Kumar, Serbia – Sherry is EuroCircle’s Philadelphia leader. She works in financial services and is the brains behind our popular EuroCircle travel trips around the world each year. In addition, Sherry is on the Tesla Foundation Board.
Alexandra and the EuroCircle NY Team

PS. Hotel rooms at the Club are also available at special membership rates. Should you be interested in booking a room, please coordinate your stay with the General Manager, Addy Onstwedder at or call directly with 212-582-5454 ext. 0

The Netherland Club of New York is a private club that offers social and business events mixed with Dutch cultural tradition for its members and their guests. Since 1903 the club has been offering a lively meeting point for mainly Dutch people living in and around New York: a touch of Old Amsterdam in the heart of New Amsterdam. Together with other clubs we share a historic building with crystal chandeliers, high ceilings with art deco touches. The clubhouse is conveniently located in the heart of Manhattan, just across from Rockefeller Center and off Fifth Avenue

Houston – January 22 2014

Ole! EC Houston Celebrates the New Year & EuroCircle’s 15th Anniversary as an organization at 1252 Tapas Bar!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:00pm until 9:00pm
1252 Tapas Bar – Houston
1101 Uptown Park Boulevard, Ste. 8, Houston, Texas

Don’t worry if the weather outside is frightful, EC Houston’s January event is set to be delightful! Join us at 1252 Tapas Bar at Uptown Park for a fun evening infused with Spanish flavor to welcome the New Year.

New York – Jan G. Johansson, Attorney @ JJLaw (Sweden)

Tell us a little about you and your company?

Law Offices of Jan G Johansson (JJlaw) is a law firm located in New York City and Southampton Long Island.

How long have you been practicing law and what kind of law do you specialize in?

The firm started in 1993 in New York City. The firm specializes in immigration, both family and corporate, including work visas (H-1B) , intra-transfer of personnel (L) and family based petitions (green cards). In addition I do international estate matter, family and real estate law. I am admitted in New York State and the State of Connecticut, both federal and state.

Can you tell us about your accomplishments in your life? In your career?

I had the privilege to study at three major universities; Uppsala University, Uppsala. Sweden, New York University, New York, and King’s College, University of London. U.K. and even though it left me nearsighted as a bat it also left me with the most wonderful memories and friends from virtually all over the world.

How has the law progressed over the last decade? Any insights you can give our members?

Everything is getting more and more regulated and complicated and that goes for immigration law as well. Our immigration regulations can be very unforgiving should you get lost in the jungle of often contradicting rules that make up the U.S. immigration system and this is really the main reason why you should contact an immigration attorney before you set out to file a petition that might be a life changer for you.

I, as an attorney that grew up in Europe and who also have a law degree from a Civil Law country and who in addition is multi lingual, can provide a European client with that certain understanding of where they come from, how they look at their situation and explain to these client how the U.S. system works, how it affects them and how to apply this system to their benefit.

How long have you been a EuroCircle member?

Oh I would say 5 years.

How long have you been living in the states?

Over 30 years

Where are you originally from?

Native born Swedish

What are your favorite places to visit in your home country?

My county Dalarna (the valleys), Stockholm and the West coast of Sweden.

What tips can you give our members when traveling there?

That’s easy: Visit in the summer!

When you aren’t practicing law what are your favorite things to do in New York?

Try to enjoy all the good things New York has to offer from museums, theatre and art to food and of course: its people!

Anything else you would like to tell our members about?

Yes, if you are planning to apply for an H-1B visa this spring, don’t delay, your petition has to be filed by April 1st!

How can our members contact you for a consultation?

You can either call me at 212-517-2750 or email me at, mention “EuroCircle” for a free initial consultation. Also: for more info about the firm, please visit

Mr. Johansson is a member of the Bar of the City of New York, The Connecticut Bar Association, The American Immigration Lawyers Association, and The Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Connect with Jan G Johannson:
Phone: 212-517-2750
Email:, mention “EuroCircle” for a free initial consultation

Phoenix – Christian Bissing, Real Estate Knowledge with European Flair

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

My name is Christian Bissing and I was born in St.Louis, Mo and moved as a child to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, where I aquired my international education. I am a graduate of the prestigious Lycee Michel Rodange in Luxembourg and went to college in the United States.

I speak several languages as a native language: English, French, German, Danish, Luxemburgish. He is fluent in Spanish and am studying Italian and Russian as a hobby. Through my upbringing and the fact that I have travelled to over 70 countries in the world, I have a deep understanding in different cultures and their needs.

I have lived in Arizona since 1991 and have a extensive knowledge of Arizona through his past businesses.
I am married to Julie Gauthier-Bissing who has two children. We ( who is from Quebec City, Canada) work as a husband and wife team in assuring that all our clients receive the best possible service during their real estate experience.

I have had several business, from fashion photography production, Tour Operator, owner of Perfume an cosmetics stores and since 2004 a successful Realtor in the Phoenix metropolitan area serving national as well as International clients. What I love most about Phoenix is its cultural diversity, climate and beauty of the area.

If someone asked you what I should NOT miss while in Phoenix/Arizona, what would reply? And what I really SHOULD miss….

An extensive visit of the city and it’s surrounding beautiful deserts, do not try public transportation, not effective.

Anything truly memorable that has happened to you since you have lived in Phoenix What really annoys you about Phoenix– or maybe nothing does?

I got married in phoenix. Phoenix drivers are not the best.

What do you miss most from your country Luxembourg…in addition to the family and friends? When you think about misconceptions we all have about cities/people/countries – what do you think you misjudged about USA/Arizona and what is what people usually misjudge about Luxembourg?

I miss most the culture and the fact that I could go everywhere and meet somebody I knew as Luxembourg is small.

I think many Europeans have no idea how great the USA is, they have a very biased and wrong Idea of the States. The judge the States by its politics and not by the country and population itself. The USA is a very friendly, diverse and country of opportunities, much more that Europe in General.
People from all over the world don’t tend to know much about Luxembourg here, in fact unless you have a bank account there, most people here have never heard of it.

Do you have a favorite Phoenix/area restaurant? Why….what is the good and bad about restaurant culture in your opinion in Phoenix..or the life style in general Who are the most famous Luxembourg people…when I think Luxembourg I think Villeroy & Bosch, but can not easily recall any famous person though I am sure I’d know a name if you said some names!!

Yes , Fogo de Chao, Brazilian reastaurant, I guess a very man oriented restaurant, loooots of meat ! J Restaurants are great in Phoenix, it is a metroploitain area of over 4 million, so lots of great restaurants. A bad thing is that is most neighborhoods people do not communicate with each other, you can live next to somebody for years and never speak to them. One cultural American custom I cannot digest, still after all these years is the fact than when you throw a party,people come, eat, have a couple of drinks and then excuse themselves , and even sometimes say they have another party to go to. If you would do this in Luxembourg, you would be never invited again, the host would be offended, but here it seems to be customary.

Famous Luxembourgers: well there is the Grand Duke Henri of course, Andy Schleck the bicyclist, Henri Tudor the inventor of the lead battery, Desiree Nosbush ( Actress) Victor Hugo lived a long time in Luxembourg, and there are others..

Where and how would you live if not Phoenix if money is not an obstacle? I heard the real estate market is kind of difficult there. How expensive is it to rent or buy….and what are your favorite areas??

As a Realtor I can tell you the real estate market has rebounded and is healthy again. We had a severe real estate crash in 2007, but since we are a tourist destination, and a very large job destination with the huge variety of Industries unlike Las Vegas , Florida and parts of California, we have rebounded quite well. Everywhere we see new building going on.
Where would I live? probably Arcadia, Paradise Valley or North Scottsdale.

How expensive to rent or buy, really depends on where you are in the greater Phoenix area, A 2000 ft home with pool will sell between $150,000 and $500,000 and up depending on the neighborhood. Rent might go from 750 to 2500 and up a month. Its really hard to say. Generally the further out of te center you go, the less expensive it becomes

What do you think about the cost of living in Luxembourg vs Phoenix– and the standard of life and life style? If you could change something about Phoenix– what would it be?

The cost of living is way higher in Luxembourg. The standard of living generally much better here.

What would I change? Work on developing more the urban centers, they have done a good job in the last years, but there is much more room for improvement

Connect with Christian Bissing:
Phone: 480 332 5220
Email: Email Christian!!

Austin – January 18 2014

Join us at this semi-private Party at Kaisa’s & Gary’s 32nd Fl apartment to celebrate EuroCircle’s 15th anniversary, Gary’s Crowdfunding: The Next Big Thing book launch, our start-up and more.
The book is FREE (Kindle version) until Sunday Jan 19 onAmazon so download it now!

Gary’s/Kaisa’as exact address & phone numbers was sent on Friday night to the registered actual attendees at
You MUST be on the list to attend (**the building security) to make sure we are OK space wise.
SPACE IS LIMITED. (Call at 512-551-3552 or email kaisa (at) eurocircle (dot) com if you did not get the email but check first your EuroCircle email address)

This will be an event organized in a potluck spirit. Kaisa will provide all utensils, around 20 bottles of wines, some non-alc0holic drinks and a few other items.
Everyone needs to bring something, all will be posted in EuroCircle forum (comments under the event info) so you have a clear what you would like to contribute.

GIFT BAG: The first 60 plus EuroCircle guests will receive a lovely LUMENE skin care gift package (Time Freeze Night Cream, Day Cream and Sensitive Touch Cleansing wipes)

Austin – Gary Spirer, Author of Crowdfunding: The Next Big Thing

Gary Spirer – what do you think about life?

When I reflect on life, I ask myself did I live my life to the fullest and will I leave the world a better place for having existed.Life is bitter sweet.It’s not fair and full of unknowns and mystery. We all get dealt different hands and it’s what we do with them that makes for adventure and hardship if you believe in free will.

Somewhere, I don’t know exactly when, it struck me that you make a choice to be or not to be. The “to be” people have a zest for life. They face the slings and arrows of their destiny but they keep moving forward. They make things happen. They don’t have to be financially rich but rich in character, love and spirit. The “not-to-be” people somewhere deep within their psyche give up on life. They surrender. They are like Marlon Brando’s Terry in “On the Waterfont” : “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.” The not-to-bes life is lived in a rear view mirror like Terry.

The question becomes when you look back on your life what are your regrets? We all have them. I would surmise that most of us probably imagine at times a life where we could take what we know now and again be 15 or 20 years old. But, since we can’t go back in time, it’s the regrets that our life didn’t turn out to be near what we had dreamed or expected. These regrets can turn into a sense of disillusionment. Our regrets and disillusionment become ingredients that we pour into the cauldron of our lives and mix with our courage and fears to forge our character, soul and being.

My litmus test is can I live my life with all its emotional ups and downs, all the hype, all the masks and still not be cynical? To me, cynicism is when life becomes a deadening monochrome. People exist only for their own interests as Thomas Hobbes describes in “Leviathan” and there is no social contract that binds together the community of man.
I feel you need luck in life and I am grateful that my luck is to be an optimist.I see the world through the lens of the glass
being more half full. Every time I have started to feel down someone serendipitously appears to guide me. That’s the Spirit that makes life worth living.

Can you give us some professional background on yourself and some of your accomplishments?

To the world, my life has some accomplishments: NYU Literature Award, Phi Beta Kappa, MBA Columbia University, Lazard Freres real estate affiliate, owner of Capital Hill Group (investment banking firm; FINRA member); one half billion in real estate transactions; capital-raising expert.

The real accomplishments that resonate with me: two daughters; a wonderful girlfriend; a mom going on 92; a passion for ideas; a desire to find patterns and principles that repeat throughout life; a semi-pro baseball player; a poet and novelist; and love for teaching others how to reach their dreams.

I often wonder about the road not taken. At NYU, I turned down a Wilson Scholarship for literature and I was runner up for a Rhodes Scholarship in Literature. I decided to go to NYU Law School. I left after a year and taught literature at Wagner JR High School (Upper West Side in Manhattan) for a year to kids bused in from Harlem. Then went to Columbia Business School (MBA in Finance) where I chaired the investment banking class and researched two articles – one appeared in Harvard Business Review since the professor for who I did the research graduated from there.

From business school, I went to work for an investment banking firm Lazard Freres’ real estate affiliate.I had the good fortune to receive mentoring from Andre Meyer, the senior partner and patriarch of Lazard Freres. Meyer counseled former president Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy family money. His net worth in today’s dollars would be in the billions. Having learned money-raising,investment and business-building secrets from my mentor Meyer,I left Lazard Freres to test them out. Ironically, what I learned worked too well when it came to making money. Over the next two years, I entered two partnerships to syndicate real estate. Each partnership ended within a year. I made each of my two other partners way too much money. They decided I would leave them since my share amounted to millions of dollars-that was thirty plus years ago dollars.They kept my share of the money and interests in the buildings that we were to own together..

From those very difficult experiences,I found myself with little money and a young child crying in the next room to support. I borrowed $15,000 and put myself into the money raising and business-building business.

You wanted to become an author and we know your new book just came out shortly. Please give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Title: Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing. Tagline: Money-raising Secrets Of The Digital Age.


Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

The audience are investors in early-stage companies and those seeking capital such as creative-types, small businesses, intra-preneurs in corporate America, small entrepreneurs and those entrepreneurs who want to create the next Google, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube.There are five major money-raising strategies laid out for each of these groups and how these strategies can be applied step-by-step to their specific needs for capital.What makes the book compelling is understanding how , when and why to use different strategies to get the most favorable terms from investors and what investors should look for to avoid being hyped or even defrauded. Then, readers learn how social, mobile and the web can be used to build traffic, audiences, influence, evangelists and a money machine that creates income and wealth by following the various models that simplify the money-raising mystique.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Crowdfunding covers the next big thing which is raising capital using the web,social and mobile. The Internet has transformed everything it has touched and will do the same for money raising. The next big thing is all the industries that will grow to support those who want to raise money from crowds. To succeed at crowdfunding, you will need web pages, copy, videos, social media, mobile and content marketing and advertising.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The cover art shows all the different services and connections that make up crowdfunding and the winners get the thumbs up sign. During the entire money-raising process, you have a series of go or no go decisions. In the end, you need a thumbs up by either venture capitalists, super angel investors, angel capital networks or the every-day investor when crowdfunding equity is allowed to go live

What is your favorite part of your book and why?

I really like every part of the book. My favorite part was showing how all the puzzle pieces of money-raising fit together and which of the five money-raising strategies I laid out you should use-how, when and why. Then how money-raising works with social, mobile and the web. I reveal secrets of how the experts drive traffic, get sales ready leads for their products and convert to them to sales.I show how investors are also your customers and how to similarly target them,develop leads as to who they are and how to close them so everyone feels that they made a good deal

Give us an a few interesting facts about your book

Crowdfunding is not new. Neighbors came together to help each other and donate money and services to get projects such as homes built in Revolutionary times Crowdfunding was used to raise money for the Statue of Liberty. Crowdfunding in modern times was used by rock groups to finance tours.In 1997, a British rock band funded their reunion tour through online donations from fans. Inspired by this innovative method of financing, ArtistShare became the first dedicated crowdfunding platform in 2000. Shortly thereafter, more crowdfunding platforms began to emerge, and the crowdfunding industry has grown consistently each year.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I have an eclectic background .I like to find repeating patterns and principles to model and simplify complex subjects so readers learn valuable short cuts. I like to take business and investment subjects and turn them into fun reading experience by adding a lot of stories and case studies. The novelist and screen writing part of me wants to make my books page turners as if you were reading a thriller. I have written a Wall Street thriller that I want to publish soon.Having been in the film business, I wrote it to be made into a movie.I love athletics and I have a passion for teaching.Giving back will always be an avocation.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?, Linkedin, Facebook, or

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have written an entire series of courses on money-raising that goes into more detail on the current Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing book. Then I have books and lessons on business building once you raise the initial money or follow on capital via Series A,B,C rounds. I have raised over $60 million in equity directly from investors – $125 million in current dollars

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Share it with others so they can read it and make their dreams come true as well.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Publishing a book is a collaborative process that manufactures a thing in physical or digital form or both. The real challenge is having the discipline to test your idea/solution with potential readers before you write the book.The initial goal is to get their feedback as to whether your idea/solution provides enough value that they would purchase your book. Next, successful books not only have to be remarkable in all aspects but they have to be marketed strategically. Marketing is an ongoing conversation that you must initiate by creating awareness. I cover this within the Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing showing that marketing is really story-telling.To succeed, you must engage,entertain and educate. There are four levels of conversations or marketing strategies that you must incorporate into every thing you present. You must be an artist/designer and a scientist/data expert at the same time you find the right marketing messages , create your unique selling proposition and insert it to deliver successful presentations, pitches, campaigns and build a platform and a following

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Too many people think money-raising is creating a business plan. That’s the last step not the first step to get money. Crowdfunding starts way before you go live on a crowdfunding site.

What do you do nowadays and where do you live?

I moved with my Finnish girlfriend to Austin in 2009 from New York City – I am a New Yorker who decided to change his lifestyle. I was born on Long Island, lived years in Manhattan (last few years right across from the Lincoln Center), Westchester and a few years in Boca Raton. I really felt like I needed to have a little more relaxed lifestyle. Now we live in downtown Austin, about 10 min walk from Congress Avenue along the lake. Living downtown right on the water is the best thing about living here. If you ask my girlfriend she would say we work more than ever – writing a book, having a start-up software company etc. But we both like Austin very much and have met such wonderful people via EuroCircle. However, my girlfriend HATES the summers in Austin, she dreams about Finland during those super hot months in Austin (90s-100s in FA, 30s-40s Celsius) this past summer we went to her home in Finland. Her sisters, brother and mother are some of the nicest people I have ever met and makes me a very lucky guy with my family to boot.

Connect with Gary Spirer:

Amazon Kindle(and print):
EuroCircle members special offer: 40 % discounted paperback plus three bonuses (free S & H):
Get the Discounted Book Here

Update July 2014 – Gary’s new ebook Crowdfunding: The Winning Formula on Amazon (introduction to raising capital/crowdfunding)
Company website:

Article: Wall Street Journal: Real-Estate Crowdfunding Finds Its Footing April 14 2014


Atlanta – January 09 2014

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

Hopefully everyone’s new year is off to a good start.

2014 marks EuroCircle’s 15th anniversary since it was first launched in NYC – coincidentally this year also marks Atlanta’s 8th anniversary and hopefully we will have many more to come.

Our first 2014 Get-together will take place at the Havana Club, located at 3112 Piedmont Road (Buckhead) where we will ring in the new year. Event date will be Thursday, January 9th, starting at 7:30pm.

We will have ‘open bar’ for the first hour – compliments of Havana management. After that regular drink prices apply, except for all beers priced at $5.00 for the evening.
$5.00 valet parking will also be available.

All other upcoming Atlanta Eurocircle events will once again take place on the first Wednesday of the month (unless otherwise notified).

A conversation with Julian Lawrence Gargulio before his Carnegie Hall performance (New York, Greece, Italy, Paris)

Meet Musician Julian Lawrence Gargulio, A conversation with Julian before his Carnegie Hall performance

Introduce yourself (tell us about you).When did you start performing? Did you always know you wanted to be a musician?

Lately I’ve been reevaluating my entire life through the eyes of my 1-year-old baby Nikita. What she does, sees, thinks, (when she’s not screaming, that is) has become what I do, see and think. The advantage (and disadvantage) of being a child is that everything is new, fresh, exciting. I started playing the piano when I was 13-years-old, a very late start by most professional standards. The great advantage was being aware right from the start that this was what I wanted to do right. Had to do. No additional encouragement required.

Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

When you are a classical pianist, the musicians you most admire are dead, German, and men.

When you are a classical pianist, the musicians you most admire are dead, German, and men.

Paying the rent? Okay, I’ve performed in some of the best venues around the world in some of the most amazing cities, but I think what I’m most proud of as a musician are my own compositions. In particular, my most recent piano pieces, my Sonata for Piano and Violin and my Sonata for Piano and Trumpet, “The Lost Sonata”.

Outside of being a classical pianist, are there any other instruments that you play?

Whenever I get this question I always wonder if someone who is lawyer is asked if he also practices medicine on the side. I just play the piano.

You have played in many places throughout the world, do you have a favorite place you have played and why?

I think of all the places I play, New York audiences are the ones that get me best. They are the most fun. Enthusiastic, energetic and full-on. One of the most incredible things about being a performing musician is getting to travel the world, doing something you love, and meeting so many interesting people. At the end of the day, it is really all about the people and they never cease to amaze me. Mostly in the good, sometimes in the bad. For instance, I recently moved to Paris, which in general I love, but a couple of weeks ago my iPhone got stolen from me mid-conversation. I’m still thinking that if I ever get to meet the thief I won’t know whether to be angry or congratulate him.

How do you balance your career with your family?

Balance is a very interesting word that probably doesn’t apply very much to musicians or to the child-having experience in general. Having a child is so overwhelming that putting it into words, no matter how superlative, will inevitably be limiting and restrictive. (and this coming from a guy) Let’s just say I/we are surviving. Check back with me in 17 years when Nikita is hardly talking to us unless it’s to borrow the keys to the car.

Where are you currently living?

After 15 years in New York and 6 months in Athens we are now living in Paris. Of course sometimes it does feel like my true residence is the airport.

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

Definitely come to visit us, we love guests. (potential babysitters). We are living on Ile de la cite’ which is the small island in the middle of the Seine, about 100 meters from Notre-Dame. We wanted to be central and after so many years living in Manhattan it feels good to be back on an island.

When you are not performing, what do you love to do?

Well, other than changing diapers (my most recent passion) writing music, writing fiction/poetry, reading, walking, and meeting people (to add to as Facebook friends).

Could you share with us how you first found out about EuroCircle? How long have you been a member?

It was through a Polish friend in NY, Hanna Chodzinska, a friend of the founder of Eurocircle, Kaisa Kokkonen, who was helping me organize a charity concert at Hunter College. I think Eurocircle is an amazing organization which brings together people from so many different walks of life.

Do you have any upcoming concerts? If so, can you tell us more about and where our members can get tickets?

I will be performing at Carnegie Hall this coming Sunday, Jan 12th at 7:30 PM and hope to see many Eurocircle members in the audience. Tickets are available online and directly at the Carnegie Hall box office.

Connect with Julian Lawrence Gargulio:

Anna Rhoades – Changing Scenery from Finland to Sacramento, CA

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

Hi! My name is Anna and I live in Sacramento, California with my husband and 3-year old twin girls. We’ve been here just two months, so we are still getting familiar with the place. My husband is American but has lived in Finland the past 13 years. We wanted to see how we like living in the US and as soon as he got a job from here, we moved. We sold everything we had in Finland and are starting all over here.

I’m currently staying home with the girls but plan returning to work in a year or two. In Finland I went back to work when the girls were 1-year old and always felt kind of bad about it even though my career is also important to me. I guess I’m not the first person to struggle with those thoughts. My work history is in retail and wholesale. For the past 5-years I worked in purchasing for a large supermarket and department store chain in Finland. The last year I was in a SAP implementation project representing the purchasing department.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Tampere, Finland. I’ve also spent some time abroad first when I was a high school exchange student in Omaha, Nebraska and then again for my University exchange in Penang, Malaysia. I’m planning on studying for a MBA in one of the universities in the Sacramento area. I’m hoping to start my studies in a year. I just made the first step towards accomplishing this goal and ordered the study material for the GMAT exam.

We know that your family is very important for you – could you tell us more about your family and what makes you happy. What about work?

My husband and girls are everything to me. We are far away from both of our extended family so we are surviving on our own here in the big world. My relatives are in Finland and my husband’s parents currently live in Guatemala, where his dad works to help the government banking system. The rest of his family is spread all over the US. Let’s just say that planning for a family reunion would not be an easy task.

Workwise I’m kind of unsure of what’s to come. I’m hoping to find an interesting job in a couple of years after or while I’m getting my MBA.

What is THE thing/s about Sacramento captivates you the most? If someone asked you what they should NOT miss while in Sacramento, what would reply? And what I really SHOULD miss….In comparison to Helsinki?

We’ve only been here for two months, so I’m sure that there’s still a lot discover. One of the best things about Sacramento is the location. San Francisco and the ocean are close enough for daytrips and you can see the Sierra Mountains to the east, so winter fun is less than 2 hours’ drive from here. The climate is great. Sacramento has been noted as being the sunniest location on the planet for four months of the year, from June through September. I think that fact alone is enough reason to like Sacramento.

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

Like I mentioned above we’ve been so little time but if I had to mention something I would have to say that I really enjoyed the warm Christmas weather of 64 F.

What really annoys you about Sacramento – or maybe nothing does? Helsinki..same question?

Coming from Finland I have a hard time adjusting to all the homeless people on the streets here. Nothing really annoys me about Helsinki, but I think Finnish people should be more aware of how good they have it.

What do you miss most from Finland or Helsinki…in addition to the family and friends? Food, culture, life style…

I miss going to downtown Helsinki. Downtowns in the US just don’t have that same atmosphere. I think I’m also going to miss going to Finnish lakeside and going swimming in a lake.

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

I grew up in Tampere, Finland and miss some of the cafes I used to go to when I was studying there. Moving to Helsinki my life got too busy to have time for cafes. In general Finland has better cafes because the American cities have been taken over by Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Starbucks coffee but the chain cafes and restaurants always lack something in the atmosphere.

I am enjoying the restaurants in Sacramento. There’s a good variety of all kinds of food places and the prices are so much more affordable compared to Finland. I don’t have a favorite yet, but we have been going out to eat a lot. Even our 3-year olds are really good restaurant goers and you can take them to any place and know that they’ll behave themselves.

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

Right now we are renting a house. This area was recommended to us by another Finnish lady. We hadn’t been to Sacramento prior to moving here and we wanted to narrow down the search to a specific area and that’s how we ended up here.
We will be buying a house in a year or two and have been driving around to see the different areas to see which we like. There is an area close to downtown that we both really liked. It’s called “Fabulous forties” and had gorgeous Victorian style houses. The streets look like something from a movie. Right now the area is a little out of budget but we have our minds set that we’ll be living there eventually. We still have a house in Finland that we haven’t sold. The market there is really bad right, but hopefully year 2014 will be better and we’ll sell the house soon.

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

Sacramento is more affordable compared to living in the Helsinki area. You can get a house twice as big for the same price. Going out to eat is way cheaper here. But then in the contrast you pay a lot for healthcare that is practically free in Finland. I’m looking into getting my MBA, which in Finland I could get for free but is going to cost me a lot here.

If you could change something about Sacramento vs. Helsinki – what would it be?

I would like better selection in interior stores  Let’s just say that I’m not a big fan of the American style of furniture and interior.

How do you think your life would be different if you stayed in the Finland or at least Europe? What would be a typical day or week in your opinion in California vs. Helsinki…I can imagine Christmas time is different.

For me life in Helsinki would be very different because I would be working and the girls would be in the daycare. The fall and winter months in Finland are boring because it’s so dark and not much going on anywhere. Then when it gets lighter outside people come back to life again. I’m really enjoying the warm, sunny weather and going to parks with the girls every day.

I’m looking forward to experiencing how the work culture here compares to Finland. I’ve heard that people here work longer days but that the work is not always done as effectively as in Finland.

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

I didn’t really have any perceptions moving to Sacramento. I had been to California before, but not to Sacramento. So far I like living here.

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

Everybody should know that Finnish people are honest, trustworthy people. To Americans we can come across being quiet and even a little shy sometimes. Just the other day it I felt very amused reading about this band Bat&Ryyd that became a phenomena in the late 1980’s. It made me realize that most Finns share the same weird sense of humor. There has been several humoristic tv shows and music that all Finnish people get into. We also have several has been celebrities who’s lives we like to follow every week from tabloids.
Overall I’m very proud to be from Finland. I’m proud of how everyone is being taken care of in Finland; I wish that everyone in Finland would also realize this. I’m also proud that in Finland education is free and everyone has the chance to educate themselves.

The first thing I did when I found out we’d be moving to Sacramento, was that I went online. I found out about the Finlandia club of Sacramento Valley and got in touch with two ladies through that. The club organizes parties every now and then and many of the ladies keep in touch on a daily basis. Most of us are Finnish ladies married to American men. It’s been fun spending time with the ladies and their families. . We even celebrated Christmas together.
I have no idea how many Finnish people there are in California, but I think there’s about 60,000 west of the Mississippi river.

Connect with Anna Rhoades:
Anna at Facebook:
Anna at LinkedIn:

Suomalaiset Kaliforniassa – missa on tietoa:
Connect with other Finns for example via Facebook groups:
Piilaakson suomalaiset naiset (that means Silicon Valley’s Finnish women)
Finnish, but not in Finland! Suomalaiset ulkomailla!
USAn suomalaiset!

More official – FACC (Finnish American Chamber of Commerce) – fan page
Finns in California