First GLOBAL SIS: InterPlay Launched!

Sustaining International Sisters October 2019, Planning Committee.
Our first “Global” SIS brought tears to more than one sister’s eyes. Some tears were of self-discovery, some of loss caused by the distance after returning home to their countries from Atlanta, some of recognition of how we can connect with each other from around the world through the “mysterious” ways of InterPlay no matter the difference in culture and languages. 

Imagine women from around the globe coming together online to do InterPlay together! That’s what we Sustaining International Sisters (SIS) did on Saturday, November 16th, 2019! “Global” Sustaining International Sisters (SIS): InterPlay had its first playdate online! Yes! Using computer technology!

To play together we had to juggle a world clock with a vast range of time differences! We two Global SIS facilitators, Canan Arikan and I (Ruth Schowalter), live on Eastern Standard (EST) Time in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and coordinated the start time to be at 8:30 AM in the morning.  We wanted to make sure our Saudi sister and InterPlay colleague, Hussah, could attend. It was 4:30 PM in the afternoon for Hussah, who is a university lecturer in Saudi Arabia teaching computer languages and using some InterPlay in her classes. Other women “Zoomed” in from Italy at 2:30 PM, Russia at 6:30 PM and from China at 9:30 PM. We were excited to have other women join us on EST from New York and Florida. 

Creating a Global InterPlay SISterhood is a dream come true for both Canan and me following our founding of Sustaining International Sisters (SIS) a year ago in Atlanta in October 2018. We discovered that a “Global” SIS was necessary for our ever-changing community of international women.  Our SISter’s lives are in flux as they seek asylum, follow their husbands, finish their visiting scholarship or advanced degrees. We found ourselves saying good-bye regularly to women who had become “sisters” through the sneaky deep ways of InterPlay and sharing potluck lunches. We found we didn’t want to say final good-byes. Instead, we found a way to say “hello” online! Hence the origin of Global SIS: InterPlay. Ta dah!

Some of the participants of the first Global SIS: InterPlay offered the following “noticings”! Enjoy!

CLOWNING AROUND. Yue from China plays around with Jung from South Korea. One a GT Visiting Scholar and the other a GT graduate student have been a part of  SIS since it began in October 2018. 

“It’s so exciting that we can be with each other online. We feel excitement with the music, topics, and laughter coming from every person through our computers.  At some moment, you can feel you are not alone that the sisters are around you. It definitely was a wonderful experience.” - Yue, InterPlayer since Fall 2018 & GT Visiting Scholar, China

FIRST TALK MORE CLASS AT GT. H.A. from Saudi Arabia (center) tells a side-by-side story in the  first InterPlay class, Talk More, that I taught at Georgia Tech in January 2017. H.A. immediately saw the value in InterPlay ways that she could use to teach university students compute languages. She received 60 hours of InterPlay instruction resulting in a certificate of Applied InterPlay.

“The Global SIS meeting was a rich gathering of love and connection. It’s a unique experience to share the movement of our bodies and to interact intimately though we are in different places in the planet.” H.A., Recipient of Certificate of Applied InterPlay for Educators, August 2017, Saudi Arabia 

A DANCING VISITING SCHOLAR. Chiara from Italy (far right) writes, "as a scientist, it was an experiment for me to be in a group of international girls speaking English dancing and singing." 

"I’m grateful to Global SIS because it was another experience for me being part of a global union after doing InterPlay with SIS in Atlanta. For two hours, 10 girls from different parts of the world with different time zones seemed to be in the same room. It was incredible! InterPlay worked another time. In this meeting, I found the proof that the distance can’t be a problem if we feel linked and joined. It should be necessary in all countries of the world." – Chiara, InterPlayer since August 2019 while being a GT Visiting Scholar, Italy

SPONTANEOUS SHAPE & STILLNESS. InterPlay Leader/SIS co-founder Ruth and Fullbright Scholar Alma from Bosnia share a moment of levity at the High Museum when Alma was at Georgia Tech in 2018. 

"Global SIS was a really refreshing moment for me. Living abroad can be really lonely, but this online meeting was such a touching moment. It reminded me of my American days and of the playful approach to life and work which is different than the Russian and Bosnian way. I'm a Bosnian in Russia and like I said it can be very lonely path. Yesterday, you girls made me feel part of a world group. Part of a community. Part of a sisterhood. A joyful moment." – Alma, Fullbright Scholar at GT, Bosnia

SAYING ONE OF THE FIRST GOOD-BYES. In September 2019, we had one of our first farewell SIS gatherings. SIS co-founder/InterPlay leader-in-training Canan (far right) led a one-hour SIS InterPlay in the Biltmore classrooms at the Georgia Tech Language Institute. Yue (holding the socks and photo album) is now back in China. Chiara (left of Yue) has returned to Italy. The other sisters from Iran, South Korea, China and Brazil are here in Atlanta for a little bit longer.

"I can't believe that we did the first online Global SIS! As co-founders, I remember when Ruth and I dreamed about it! Our intention was to play with sisters who live around the world. Yes, we did it! The world is really small when you have InterPlay and sisters! I felt the heart-to-heart connection between sisters, although there is a physical distance. InterPlay magic! As an InterPlay leader-in-training, I am grateful for leading and having this incredible experience!" - Canan, SIS co-founder, GT Visiting Scholar, InterPlayer since 2017, from Turkey living in Atlanta, Georgia

Stay-tuned for Global SIS: InterPlay being offered once a month. Canan and I are looking forward to playing with you all. To find out more about Sustaining International Sisters visit To find out more about InterPlay, visit Learn more about InterPlay Atlantaand what we do here in the metro-Atlanta area. To see my work visit my InterPlay with Ruth Schowalter youtube.

Acknowledgements: We are deeply grateful to InterPlay co-founders Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry for the grace and beauty that InterPlay brings to the world, for the training we have received to facilitate InterPlay, and for their support that makes our work easeful and possible. We also want to thank the women who are open to new ways of communicating and connecting through an online global community.


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