Tonight I had the unique opportunity to spend some quality time with two fabulous Philly area bloggers Grizzly Mama and The City Troll. Both accepted my invitation to join me for a monthly, informal meet & greet event, First Wednesday, hosted by IVC (International Visitors Council of Philadelphia). Some of the guests attending IVC's First Wednesday event included a former member of King Faisal II inner circle before the coup of 1958; a student from Mosul; an American exec who for the the past ten years has lived in NZ and the Netherlands now is considering relocating to the Philadelphia area; and a collection of palestinian and Israeli students working together to forge a lasting peace in Israel. *cough*

My fondest memories of this evening was the time spent with Grizzly Mama and Troll - AKA- Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Let me take this opportunity to explain why they are known to IVC as Monica and Al Smith. Tuesday, when I called Alan at IVC to RSVP for this event, he asked for the names of my guests - names which I did not have at my disposal - hence the origin of the imagined psuedonyms "Monica and Al Smith". The real Troll and Grizzy Mama took this naming convention in stride and had a lot of fun with it during this event. They made a point to strike up conversations with our invited guests and the general members of IVC and to my count, only scaring away one liberal :) These two are a dynamic duo! Intelligent and well-versed individuals that I am happy to consider as friends.

During the course of the evening, I had the opportunity to chat with Mohammed, formerly from Mosul and now studying engineering at Drexel University. I'm pictured above with Mohammed and a soldier recently returned from Iraq. This soldier took the opportunity to introduce himself to myself and Mohammed. He explained while serving in Iraq, he became good friends with his Iraqi interpreter who was from Mosul.

I look forward to next month's First Wednesday with IVC.

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