!Bienvenidos al World Affairs Council (WAC) Spanish dinners!
(club del Español del San Francisco Bay Area)

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==> See the most recent Spanish Dinner invite <==

=> More Bay Area Spanish (& other language) opportunities <=

We need a couple folks to join the organizer team (to help us with organizing/hosting dinners, most likely on a bi-monthly basis — both peninsula and SF-based organizers needed).  Please Contact Us if you can help out!

Hola Amigo/a...

     Here's a bit of info on the World Affairs Council Spanish language dinner club.  Please read this page fully before asking specific questions.  (My apologies for the impersonality of this, but it's required for my waning sanity.  With our group at 600+ members and growing constantly, it has become very time consuming to answer everyone's specific questions...which is one of the reasons that I've created this web page.  :-)

     We are a warm, on-going community of friends who gather to share a love of the Spanish/Latino culture and a passion for socializing in Spanish.  Members of our group are encouraged to post, share and organize any opportunity to socialize in Spanish.  In the past, we've enjoyed Spanish movies together, Colombian dance parties, flamenco shows and other musical and theatrical Latin-esque performances, Salsa music and dancing, meeting at a coffee shop to chat in Spanish, potluck or cocktail parties at members' homes, etc.  Each of these activities was organized by members just like you.  All you need to do is find or dream up a fun or interesting Spanish-related activity and send an email invitation to the rest of us at wacsd@yahoogroups.com (hint, hint :-).

       In addition to these member-inspired events and activities, we meet regularly each month for dinner.  The dinners are purely social.  We meet the 3rd Saturday of each month at a Latino-type restaurant, eat together, and converse solely en español.  We generally alternate every other month between restaurants on the Peninsula (odd months) and restaurants in San Francisco (even months).  The restaurants are not fixed, and suggestions are highly encouraged.  Helping out by organizing dinners is even more highly encouraged!  :-)  If you have an idea for a particular dinner that you'd like to organize (or don't have a specific idea but would like to help us out), please see: http://www.AwakenTheMagic.com/rich/wacsd/wachelp.html.

     This is what the group has evolved into over the years.  But, that was before you!  Even if you just joined us today, this is your group, and it will be what you make it.  So, if there's something you'd like to see, we'd love for you to feel empowered to create that.  If there's something about the group you'd like to see changed, please feel welcome to express this, to make specific requests for what you'd like to see, and to participate actively in making your positive vision a reality.  This is how the group evolves.  For the group to evolve in harmony with its members, however, you must step forward and actively participate in making this the perfect community for you.  For the group to continue, the work of organizing must be shared so that no one person feels unsupported and/or burns out on it.  That said, let's look at some of the specifics of the current arrangement....

How the dinners work:

     About a week before each month's dinner, the organizer will send out an email invite (see below to join the list) with the details about the dinner for that particular month.  You needn't respond if you aren't interested.  If you would like to attend, however, please respond to that email invite BEFORE THE DEADLINE, and the organizer will reserve a spot for you at the restaurant.  Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources to send each of you a confirmation:  Ie, if you've responded before the deadline, you're in.  (If you miss the deadline, or your plans change after the deadline, please call the restaurant and increase/decrease the reservation for "The World Affairs Council."  This always confuses and/or pisses off the restaurant, so PLEASE do your best to avoid this situation! :-)  Then, you just show up at the designated time/place and rap with us in Spanish for a couple hours.

     We order off the menu, being considerate to our friends around the table.  Sharing plates, appetizers, wine, tapas, Sangria, etc. is highly encouraged, since we divide the bill by the number of attendees...like one big familia hispánica.  Be sure to bring enough CA$H to cover your meal and please don't leave before we've divided up the bill.  If there's a bar at the place, then buying your own drinks separately is the considerate thing to do.  :-)  Sometimes, motivated members organize something to do afterwards (like go to a bar, Salsa club, party, etc.)...your ideas, enthusiasm, and initiative here will be appreciated by all!

     You needn't be a member of the World Affairs Council to attend, and there is no price to "join."  But, please be considerate to the other members and don't invite your non-Spanish speaking friends to the dinners.  It's a Spanish club, after all, and nobody will be speaking English.  For many members, it's their only chance all month to rap in their favorite language...and they get understandably annoyed if they drive an hour and a half to speak Spanish and then get stuck next to somebody who doesn't.  Sorry, if that sounds harsh...but, as the organizer, I have to look out for the group...and they've given me that message loud and clear over the years.  Hope you understand.  :-)

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To join the WAC Spanish Dinner email list:

Click here to join wacsd
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Already on the list, but your email (or other info) has changed?
==> Click here to update your email address <==
 

==> Click here to see the most recent Spanish Dinner invite <==
 

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A Respectful Yet Important Request...
     We (or anyone who organizes a dinner) receive neither payment nor other compensation for planning these dinners, chatting with prospective new members, finding restaurants, dealing with the restaurant people (both before and during the dinner), gathering/perusing other info sent to us (such as other Spanish opportunities, International Forum happenings, etc.) and forwarding it on, sending out the email invites, decoding all the responses, answering specific questions
and handling members' various individual issues, attending most of the dinners, and maintaining the web page.  It's a significant amount of time and work!  You can honor our on-going committment of time and effort by responding on time if you'd like to attend, by showing up on time when we reserve a spot for you, and by offering to organize a dinner.
     Please plan your personal responsibilities and schedule before any dinner you want to attend, and consider how much additional work your special request will require on the part of the organizer, before requesting that the group, organizer or restaurant make special exceptions for you.  Lack of planning, committment/integirty, or consideration on the part of members can create last-minute stress, headache or other special cases issues that need to be dealt with--sometimes even during the event--on top of all the other work of putting together a dinner or other event.  These "special exceptions" can add up quickly across a large group, and burn out an organizer rapidly.  Organizer burnout of this type ensures that the group receives no more of his/her exuberant and generous gifts of time and energy, which were once expended to plan fun experiences for you.  I wouldn't say this unless I'd seen it happen--many times.  :-)

     Also, please note that it is *your* responsibility to update your email address if it changes (use the web link above).

Demographics...
    Of our 600+ members, 10-25 typically show up to any particular dinner.  The age range of the group is probably 20-70, with most members falling in the 25-40 range.  About 60% of our members reside in San Francisco, 35% live in the South Bay/Peninsula, and the rest are scattered (mostly around the East Bay). The dinners are typically about half native Spanish speakers who just come for the social factor (**), and half gringo Latino wanna-be's like me.  ;-)

Your First Time...
    It can be intimidating the first time attending a group dinner at which you know no one.  How will you even find the group if you can't recognize a familiar face?  Well, first off, if there's a bar at the restaurant, we usually congregate there before going in together to sit down for dinner.  We will be the group of 10-25 people of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages rapping in Spanish.  We are all your friends whom you just haven't met yet.  Just walk up and ask someone if this is the Spanish group from the World Affairs Council.  If we happen to be already seated when you arrive and it's not obvious where, ask the restaurant staff for "The World Affairs Council" party.
    Secondly, be assured that you won't be the only new member there.  At any given dinner, about 50% of the people will be regulars (such as myself) who you will see from month to month.  The other 50% will be new members, like you.  So, not only will you certainly *not* be the only new person there, but after you scale this hurdle once, you will have a core group of familiar faces to look for at the next dinner.  Moreover, we all had a "first dinner" and are sensitive to this.  Finally, if you would like, you are always welcome to ask someone to point me out to you (or click here to see what I look like).  Then, come on over and say "Hola," and I'll introduce you around.  :-)

(**) Footnote from above: Hey, we're a *FuN* group with lots of friendly, interesting, well-traveled, and intelligent members who are caring and patient with anyone who might be struggling a bit with his/her Spanish. Yes, we do speak Spanish throughout the dinners, but many of us frequently bail out into English for a word or sentence here or there, or to tell a joke.  In the end, this group is more about the people, the Latino ambiance, and an on-going community, than about anyone's particular level of Spanish.  Check us out!  :-)

Espero que nos veamos en la proxima cena,
Ricardo and the new Spanish dinner organizing team: Susan Lister, Antonio Altamirano, and Federico Andrade

P.S.  Feel free to contact us if you have questions not answered here or need further encouragement :-).

P.P.S.  All the tasks required to keep this group going smoothly end up being a non-trivial amount of work for us!  Please help out by organizing a dinner!  See http://www.AwakenTheMagic.com/rich/wacsd/wachelp.html for more info.

!Mas Español!

Note: These are only as up-to-date as the information I've received.  So, please check first before you go, and .  Gracias!  :-)

* San Mateo Spanish Meetup Group
   Hola! would you like to practice your Spanish, and make new friends? Come join our group and meet Spanish language and culture lovers for conversation and fun! All ages and levels of proficiency are welcome!

* SF Spanish Happy Hour Meetup Group
   We are a group of Spanish speakers who like to get together to chat in Spanish. We meet up the first Tuesday of each month in a casual setting to hang out and hablar en espanol. Hope you can join us!

* San Jose Spanish Conversation Meetup Group
   Meets for drinks, dinner, community events, dancing and anything in between. Anyone and everyone are invited. All ideas and suggestions are welcomed.

* SF Spanish Conversation
   Spanish conversation group for all levels that meets on Fridays at 7 at Zephyr coffee shop on Balboa and 38th in San Francisco.

* Free Spanish Learning Website
   Free Spanish learning website (OuterSpanish) with grammar lessons, vocabulary, idioms, etc.

* Spanish California
   Un sitio para apprender y practicar Español en California / A site for learning Spanish in California

* Spanish Conversation Group en el Sur de la Bahía
  We have a broad range of Spanish language experience - from advanced beginner to native speakers.  The latest incarnation of this group needs support as we are still fairly small (though enthusiastic).  To ask questions of the group, and to get updates about what is happening with it - please join the yahoo group sjspanish:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sjspanish/

Somos un grupo de personas a quienes les gusta hablar en español. Práctica tu español con nosotros todos los lunes desde 6.30pm en la Coffee Society de Cupertino, 21265 Stevens Creek Blvd

* Spanish Conversation Group in Belmont
   Meets every Wednesday at 10am in the Belmont Senior & Community Center, 1223 Ralston Ave.  Persons of all ages and all Spanish-speaking abilities are welcome to this informal, friendly group.  If you have questions, please call Dimitri:  650-595-4891.

* PenSpanish
   Este grupo es para personas que tengan interés a mejorar su español.   Encontramas semanalmente en un lugar predeterminado para conversar en español.   Adicionalmente, es posible que participamos en otras activides con relación a la cultura latina (como teatro, baile, etcetera).   To join: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/penspanish/

* Gringos y Amigos Spanish club
  Meets once a month in Hayward; contact Deborah Ross for more info: 408-567-9136

* Grupo Socio Cultural Hispano
   Tiene uno potluck todos los meses para hombres gais y sus amigos - Javier 415.550.0388 / alrodsf@pacbell.net para subscribirse

* "Grupo HELA!" (Hablar Español Lunes - Alegría!)
  An informal, drop-in language group en español.  Meets 2nd & 4th Mondays of each month a partir de las 5:30pm at Harry's on Fillmore, 2020 Fillmore St in Pacific Heights (near Pine St).  If you would like to be included in our e-mail list to receive notices, please send an e-mail to Lhagelshaw@aol.com and put HELA in the subject line.  You may also contact Kathleen Madsen at 415-921-4523 or hela@hagelshaw.com for more info.

* Secoya Bilingual <Spanish-English> Toastmasters!
  Meets every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, The Friends Meeting House in Palo Alto, 957 Colorado Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94303, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.  Practice your Spanish and English communication and leadership skills in a supportive atmosphere with interesting people!  Guests welcome!  Contact: Juan, 408-987-7522, or Marianna, 650-368-4341.

* Asociación Española de Silicon Valley
  Un grupo bastante grande de espanoles/latino americanos en el sur de la bahia.

* El Grupito Español
   Tiene uno grupo de conversacion en la libreria Diesel (5433 College en Oakland) todos las semanas y una cena/tertulia literaria todos las meses en la casa de un miembro - mark@teamrioja.org para subscribirse

* Spanish Language Source: Find a Language School in the US or Abroad

SPANISH BOOKS & LITERATURE:

* Rincon Literario
   Tercero miercoles a las 6. Alvaro es el coordinador de un grupo mensual de libros en la biblioteca prinicipal de SF (415) 557-4430 -  chelitzz@yahoo.com.mx para subscribirse

* Casa de Libro
   Tiene uno grupo de libros espanoles todos los meses en la tercera martes al 7 en 973 Valencia/21ero en SF - Judy, stonere@earthlink.net para subscribirse

* AÚN (a bilingual literary study group)
  Meets to discuss Neruda poems and the like; contact: Gloria Marquez at 408-868-0316 or Theresa Pulido at 408-532-8725.

* San José Biblioteca Latinoamericana Book Club
  Meets every two months.  The library gets enough copies for everyone.  (Coincidentally yesterday, we discussed "Retrato en Sepia.")  The discussions are in Spanish.  I would think that if your Spanish is good enough to read the book for discussion, that it's good enough for the group.  (That's just my opinion, though.)  -- Nancy Rains

* Kepler's in Menlo Park's Spanish book club (click here)

* Cody's Bookstore in Berkeley's Spanish book club:
  Cody's Bookstore:  2454 Telegraph Ave. (at Haste), Berkeley; contact:  Miriam Ruvinskis, 510-601-0454.  Discussions are in Spanish.  New members are welcome any time.  The group generally meets on the first Friday of every month.

Other language dinners & international stuff:

* There are several language dinner clubs, similar to ours, for everything from English to Polish to American Sign Language. These are loosely coordinated by the International Forum of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.  Some of these are more cultural than language based, and you can often attend even if you don't speak the language.  Find out more about these here

* The Young Professionals International Forum ("IF") is an active subcommittee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, established to promote the involvement of younger Council members.  The IF hosts, among other interesting events, a monthly mixer which is purely social and open to everyone (even non-members).  Find out more about the IF at: http://www.itsyourworld.org/wac/Young_Professionals_International_Forum.asp

Reclaim Your Brain - powerful system for learning/retaining languages (among other things)
(I use and recommend this fun tool to reprogram the unconscious mind; see the learning/memory programs)

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