International Friends Profile-Tanya

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     Today I am thrilled to post the first in a series of what I hope will be many ‘International Friends’ Profiles.
A few months ago I discovered this group of people through meetup.com.  I have already made many new friends attending their ‘meetups’ and am hopeful that through this project will get to make many more. The group is made up of people from throughout the world who are now living here in the Tampa area. I have discovered it is filled with a wide variety of interesting, spirited and kind people.  As I am interested in traveling and learning more about the world and other cultures with my camera, this project seems to be a good starting off point. The first profile, appropriately is of the woman who created this group Tanya. Here in her own words she tells you about herself and the group she created. Photos were taken at the beautiful Phillipe Park in Saftey Harbor, FL.
About International Friends:
‘International Friends’ of Tampa Bay is a friends network for foreign expats and American-born locals sharing international interests. Founded in July 2008, this group attracts foreign expats, as well as people with an interest in meeting new people, traveling abroad, experiencing new cultures, and speaking foreign languages! We have a few hundred active members and several social events per month. Most of our events have international flair, ie. foreign films, ethnic restaurants, cultural festivals, tea shops, dancing. The Tampa Bay Area is booming with foreign nationals, naturalized citizens, and admirers of various cultures; and International Friends is a microcosm. It’s a great group for those wanting to meet friends from every corner of the earth. Check us out at meetup.com/InternationalFriends
                                     What Inspired Me to Start the Group…
I founded the group “International Friends” to meet interesting people in the Tampa Bay Area! I have always appreciated all things international. I’ve studied various foreign languages and hold Associates and Bachelors degrees in International Studies. I speak and write French, Spanish, and Serbo-Croatian. I know very little Arabic and would like to learn more, as well as American Sign Language. I’ve tried learning American Sign Language in a group setting and found it rather difficult. Just like anything else, it takes practice!
                                                     My Background…
I am bi-national and come from an international upbringing. My father is a Kabyle who emigrated from Algeria on a scholarship. He worked as an Electrical Engineer and instilled in us strong family values. Kabyles are a Berber people of northern Algeria inhabiting the Atlas Mountains on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. They are the original, indigenous people to inhabit the Maghreb. Their native language is Kabyle, which has its own unique sound. My mother’s side has deep American roots, mainly Swiss, German, Dutch, and English. Originally from Virginia, she was a splendid mother with an affinity for international things; tremendous language skills, a true citizen of the world. I am a product of those two unlikely worlds colliding! 🙂

I was born in Connecticut and raised in northern New Jersey.  I’m a dual citizen of the USA and Algeria and have been to Algeria, Tunisia, Canada, France, Cozumel (Mexico) and Serbia/Yugoslavia. I would love to do more traveling to just about anywhere! But I’d really like to go on an African Safari in Tanzania/Kenya to see elephants and lions enjoy their natural habitat, as well as Costa Rica, Australia, the US Virgin Islands, Peru, England, Trinidad, Morocco, Egypt, Romania, Turkey, Argentina, and the Dead Sea…to name a few! LOL

                                           My Interests, My Passions…
Other interests include card games, magic tricks, classical piano, running, Salsa dancing, kayaking, coffee shops, helping animals, and ethnic foods. My favorite food overall is Vietnamese and Thai! Seafood is the only meat that I consume and Vietnamese/ Thai food just seems to offer the greatest amount of delicious and healthy options!
I love ALL animals, but these hold a special place in my heart: Bears, raccoons, opossums, tigers, elephants, feral cats, and Chow Chows! As an animal advocate, I am against any animal exploitation, ie. circuses, fur trade, rodeos, hunting, etc! I am also passionate about women and children’s rights around the world and putting an end to human trafficking.
                                    What I Like Most About International Friends…
I have met so many wonderful people since the inception of International Friends. The members are what make it such a great group. I’ll admit I did put a lot of effort into this group, but the rewards have paid off in spades!
Thank you Tanya for helping me to kick off this project! You are beautiful and very kind!
Joining this group has helped me in ways I would never have predicted. It is very inspiring to experience people
from such diverse backgrounds having a good time . If only the whole world could be this way!
Stay tuned each week for a new International Profile.
To view more (and larger) photos from this session please go to my SmugMug site:
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Stephanie 🙂
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