IWP Newsletter – December 2020

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Welcome to the IWP Newsletter
December 2020

Dear IWP ladies,

Here we are, nearly at the end of another year! It has been a very odd year with so many unknowns…

As always, we had to adapt and adapt we did! Below, you will find a summary of the IWP activities and events we had the joy to share with our members throughout 2020. Again, thank you to all the volunteers who supported us in the organization of these events.

Also a big thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the General Assembly & Elections only last week. We could have not done it without the support of Louise Ross, Dra Sophia and the current Executive Board who worked hard to make it look so easy!  Your compliments were very encouraging and your vote of confidence on me, as your President and in the new members of the Executive Board mean a lot. Thank you!

Here is a reminder of the new members of the EB who will take office in January: Louise Strasenburgh (Vice President); Barbara Schafer (Treasurer); Heather Dennis (Secretary); Annemarie Simons (Designate Member);

For more details on their Bio and the list of the other IWP members elected to the Membership Representation Board and Financial Review Board, please click here to be directed to our website.

However, it is December and so we will do our best to concentrate on the Holidays, whatever your tradition may be! Have you decorated your tree yet? Please do not let the doom and gloom get to you… perhaps if you just buy a poinsettia to make your place more festive?

In that spirit, we collected a couple of suggestions where to buy original gifts online while supporting local artisans and local charities. If you have other ideas, please send us an email to: executivepresident.iwp@gmail.com

Remember also that you can always give a little something to the service professionals that you use: hairdresser, manicurist, cleaning lady, favorite waiter / waitress in your local cafe, mailman.. the supermarkets have pre-wrapped boxes of chocolates for just a few euros. I believe the gesture would be so appreciated.

Do you feel like clearing the cobwebs (outside the curfews!) Check out below Barbara Schafer’s experience in Palacio da Pena, in Sintra and Annemarie’s suggestion for the exhibition on Historical Gardens, in Lisbon.

So, it is time to wrap up! Personally, I want to thank you for your support, feedback and participation in the various activities, through these very trying times. I also want to thank the exiting members of the Executive Board, Membership Representation Board and Financial Board for their valuable contributions. 

We look forward to meeting many more members next year and welcome the new officers of the various Boards who will come full of energy and ideas to rock IWP!

Happy festive season and look forward to seeing you soon!

Best wishes,

Maria Barros
Executive President of IWP and the Executive Board
A summary of the IWP events & activities in 2020
We did it! We have achieved all of the projects we set out to complete last year:
  1. Review & Update the IWP constitutional documents;
  2. Develop a whole new website for IWP;
  3. Get an office space in Cascais, free of charge for IWP;
Additionally to those projects, your Executive Board members continued organizing activities for our members:
  • In February, we organized a flower arrangement workshop in the Mercado de Cascais, a visit to the Oceanarium and a very well attended lunch at the Noodle bar in Cascais
  • In March, we organized a visit the Music Museum in Estoril and at this point, we were still having regular coffee mornings in Cascais, Parede and Lisbon.
Then, the Covid19 pandemic hit us and we all had to isolate and avoid physical proximity…
Normally, this would mean the end or at least a pause to all our activities (as it was the case with many other social organizations of expats in Portugal) but you should not underestimate the IWP women!

We are resourceful and imaginative and so we created new activities online to keep our members connected despite the lockdown;
  • Tobias Lotan, an Austrian osteopath who lives and practices in Cascais, delivered daily Pilates sessions;
  • Fabiana Simoes graciously shared several sessions of Kaiut yoga to help us relax and manage anxiety caused by all the uncertainty; 
  • Shayna Dameron a healthy eating consultant delivered a fabulous session on how to cook tasty healthy food to help us through Spring;
  • Paula Torres a professional organizer certified in Marie Kondo’s methods, taught us about clearing closets and folding our clothes! This was so much fun!
  • Many of our regular activities also moved online – Knitting and Crochet, Bridge, English Speaking group, French Speaking group as well as all our Book Clubs which actually allowed for some members to join from abroad.
  • Yet we were still worried about you! Some of you live alone, some of you recently arrived in Portugal with no friends or anyone to call or just check in. So in May, Kathryn Rawlings, our Vice President proposed to create a ‘buddy system’ which basically consists of connecting two IWP members, preferably someone who has been living in Portugal for a little while with someone who hardly knows anyone or simply needs that extra support. This is still on going on and I would like to encourage you to send an email to vicepresident.iwp@gmail.com if you want to help a newbie or if you are a new newbie yourself- both are essential for the buddy system to work!
  • The Summer arrived and things seemed to be looking up for Portugal! Slowly and cautiously we re-started some outdoor activities: the Summer coffee mornings moved to the Park Carmona in Cascais, the Sintra Walks group re-started their hikes in the beautiful surrounding trails of Sintra as well as the walks along the sea front (Paredao) between Cascais and Estoril. 
  • Also outdoors, Marsha Turner organized 3 ‘Summer Architectural Tours’ through Cascais which gave us a taste of what is out there to discover!
  • A new group activity also started early this Summer – “Generations of Mothers Connecting” a group of young mums, babies and some grandmothers meet in a park, chat and exchange experiences while watching over the most gorgeous toddlers on Earth! Bliss!
  • Early October, our own Louise Ross, ex-IWP President and second time published author delivered a “meet the author” session in Carmona park for our members.
Unfortunately, the number of Covid19 cases increased again, significantly, in October and we had to stop all group activities again. So, we created other activities online:
  • Tuesday Coffee mornings from the Mercado to Google Meet (online)
  • Eva Bonsel re-started the “Transitions” meetings online
  • Angela Randolph, spoke to us on the importance of having an appropriate Estate Plan, as well as writing a will and so much more.

So, you see, we have not stopped! – it has been a year full of challenges but also full of achievements! And if you feel you missed out on the fun, please do not worry because we have a lot more planned for the future!


Traditionally, at this time of the year, we would be sending out invitations to our annual  “Appreciation Dinner” as a way to say THANK YOU to all the volunteers who made all these events possible! 

Although this year is not possible to celebrate your contribution and dedication, we hope to be able to make it up to you in 2021!
Some IWP stars for December
A little note from our “Danish Sudents” 

Dear ladies,

For the past three months, we have had the pleasure of getting to know IWP and its members as a part of our fieldwork and Master’s Thesis in Educational Anthropology. The study of educational anthropology focuses on social and cultural processes, of change and continuity in wide a range of formal and informal contexts throughout the world.
We have been participating in the weekly IWP Coffee Mornings and in the Paredão and Sintra Walks and through these been enriched with fascinating stories and perspectives on life. Some of you we were lucky to know even better when we met over intriguing interviews. This will be of great value when we are writing our thesis in the Spring and we want to thank all of you for your hospitality, help and kindness. We appreciate you sharing your experiences and knowledge when it comes to living abroad and being a part of a social international organisation.
We wish you all the best – and who knows, maybe our paths will cross again somehow in the future.

Louise & Emilie
The Danish Students

Sintra is a circus of light and passion!

by Barbara Schafer

When we went to Sintra for the first time, we took buses from Cascais all the way up to the beginning of the Palace trails. Then, we walked up the VERY STEEP pathway/stairway to the Pena Palace itself.  We wandered about, just looking at the sights.  I had expected it to be beautiful, but I didn’t expect the magic.  The area has a history stretching back centuries; the Palace was built over a period starting in 1842 and lasting until 1854.  Originally, it was lived in by the royal family, but in 19th century it was purchased by the Portuguese state, and after the revolution of 1910 it was transformed into a museum.  Over time the colors faded but at the end of the 20th century, the palace was repainted and the original colors were restored.  It’s now the most popular destination for day-tripping tourists coming out of Lisbon. (before COVID19 times).

Our purpose of our trip, was simply to figure out how to get to Sintra and see what it’s like to be up on the mountain.  We can see the same mountains from Cascais.  By Washington standards they are really just hills but they tower over the seaside villages along the coast.  The Celts, the Romans, the Moors and finally the Portuguese lived in fortified towns at the top of high places where they could defend themselves from enemies of all kinds.  We’ve seen fortifications in other places, but never have we seen anything like this amazing Palace.  

The pictures will give you a glimpse, but you really need to stand in the clear air and look out to sea to capture the sense of being at the top of the world.  The colors, the textures, the tiles and the archways… it a circus of light and passion.  You must go and see it!
Historical Portuguese Gardens

This year 2020, Lisbon is the green capital  of Europe. 
In the Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon, Campo Grande, there is an exhibition on the past and the future of Portuguese Gardens. 
It runs until 21 March 2021. For more information, click: https://lisboagreencapital2020.com/en/news/jardins-historicos-portugueses/

Christmas (virtual) Market

Bom dia a todos!
A small group of Neighbours in Malveira da Serra near Cascais started dreaming of creating a local Christmas market… but due to the pandemic it will need to wait another year. Instead, we created a private Facebook group as a virtual Christmas Market, inspired by Malverians, but open to family and friends.
  • The goal: support for our local crafters/artisans and entrepreneurs by introducing theirs services/goods/crafts to a local buyer audience. All “small is beautiful”.  Just to be helpful to each other. Share the LOVE 
  • How: We invite neighbours, their friends and any family members, who are crafters, artisans and have small businesses to showcase their wares/services so others can buy for Christmas.
  • Want to join in?  Here is how:
   Request to join our private this Facebook group to showcase your arts/crafts/goods/services.  This is the group ID: https://www.facebook.com/groups/286587102468963/about
 Once admitted as a seller, please list your goods/crafts/services…Include some photos, a description, and prices for your goodies.  Buyers will contact you directly via the site
  Once admitted as a potential buyer shop to your heart’s delight!  Contact all sellers directly.

In these days of physical distancing, these artists and artisans have very limited opportunities to sell their products and we have limited opportunities to find homemade and unique gifts for Christmas, so let’s support this wonderful initiative! 

Solidary shopping (online)

A TimeOut has put together a list of brands and links where you can buy gifts knowing for each purchase, a cash contribution is made to a registered charity; the site is in Portuguese:
We also have a closed Facebook group (IWP Members Forum) for members to share ideas and fun photos of the activities they do together.  Now you are a member, we will add you to the group. We look forward to seeing you there! 
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