Member Spotlight

Meet Our Members: Susan Mikes

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Whenever hiking the Wienerwald, I  like to spot plants of healing qualities, remedies to locals in need. Growing up as a pharmacist’s daughter, I felt an early calling to beauty and health. After highschool I went to college at Suffolk University in Boston, MA where I studied Philosophy and was active in the performing arts.

Promoting health, beauty and wellness has always been a part of me. My Mom told me that as a small child during nap time, I would sneak out and secretly go to her closet and vanity and play dress-up with her clothes and makeup. Following my move back from Boston to Vienna, I joined the family business, trained as a PKA and make-up artist. My artistic sensibilities affect everything in my living situation, beauty and health pull it all together. That‘s how I bring harmony into every day  and that is what drew me into the family profession. Zen studies and meditation plays a  major role  in my daily  life now.

My whole childhood I was aware of the AWA. My mother was a long time member and I was always inspired by her enthusiasm for the community. I am naturally drawn to international communities and looking forward to volunteer and join in on events. Week-ends I go on long walks with our family dog and spend time in nature.

Meet Our Members: Monika Sautner

Everyone who visits the AWA office comes face to face with a beautiful work of art: a bright tapestry of swooping green and orange curves, fashioned from intricate geometrical patchwork. Yet few know that this design was fashioned by one of our very own members! Monika Sautner tells us a little bit about herself and her creative craftwork.

My parents were from Vienna, but I was born in 1940 in Nuremberg, Germany, where my parents had moved to look for work. I was only a small child during the war, but I remember fleeing our burning house when I was only 5 years old. I can still hear my mother telling me to jump over a pile of glowing embers.

We moved back to Vienna after the war. Things were difficult at first. At school, we sat in the classrooms wearing winter coats and gloves as there was no heat in the building! – and we had no supplies to speak of. My mother made me my first notebook by hand, she did this by sewing together sheets of baking paper! Nowadays kids have so many books, notebooks, computers… but it seems like they’re not learning anything.

I trained to be a social worker, helping families in difficult situations. I had a super boss: a woman who always gave us little handcrafted gifts on special occasions. I loved her creations and thought “I could do that too!”. That’s how I got started with crafting, really. After my second daughter was born I stopped working outside the home. My crafts made being a housewife more interesting as my hobby really brought joy to my life. You should see my flat now – it’s so full of crafts it’s like a bazaar! I only need to ensure I manage to clear a space on my bed for sleeping!

I also used to volunteer at the Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes, in southern France. I’d go for several weeks at a time, often meeting the same group of fellow volunteers there, year after year. Because I can speak five languages – German, English, French, Italian and Spanish – they could always use my help in the office, giving information to the pilgrims, and helping with the lost-and-found.

The AWA is a great place for me to keep up my languages – speaking English to everyone, going to the Italian class – and I also teach the beginners’ German class on Tuesday mornings. I love helping out with the crafts – I donated some lovely wreaths for the Easter Affayre event – and if anyone is interested in buying a patchwork quilt, please get in touch!

Meet Our Members: Tova Marr

My name is Tova Marr and I am a Canadian. I have lived in Vienna for over 16 years: the first
stint was for 4 years living with my parents here in the 90s.

I wasn’t a fan of the city then so that meant, of course, that I would end up meeting an Austrian a few years later and moving back in 2004 after our elopement in Niagara Falls in January, in Canada, with snow. Years later, I am now smitten with the city and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Meet Our Members: Tammie Perdue

Hi ladies, I'm Tammie! I am from the southern United States and was born in West Virginia. I met my husband, Darren, in high school. After dating for six years, we were married while attending Marshall University (famous for the Matthew McConaughey movie, 'We Are Marshall').  After graduation, we moved to Atlanta, Georgia. We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary next year! I have also lived abroad in Madrid, Spain, London, UK and currently, Vienna, Austria!  

Meet our Members: Erin Silangil

I first came to Vienna in the winter of 2010, to experience waltzing in one of its many balls, and in the process, met my Austrian husband, Tobias. We had a five year long distance relationship, which culminated in our marriage last September. During my many visits, I fell in love with Vienna (and Schnitzel!) and knew that I wanted to move here if I had the chance. I moved to Vienna at the end of January this year from San Francisco, California, where I was born and raised. I’m overwhelmed with the beauty of this place, the history, the art, the culture - even the guy on the S-bahn who whistles to get everyone on board is exciting to me!

Meet our Members: Rose Marie Gatscha

Every now and again, my Viennese born and bred husband asks me if I could ever have imagined that I’d be living in Vienna as a retiree. It’s at that very moment that I instantly recall my roots and unequivocally say, “No!” Notwithstanding the fact that Peter and I met in Vienna while I was on a business trip, we lived most of our 36 years of marriage in the Northeast, specifically New York City and Morristown, NJ, and never in Austria.