Sunday, November 30, 2008

An Isle of Man company is to develop a casino in Taiwan. AMZ Holdings PLC (Amazing) is a property development group involved in the establishment of a Casino hotel resort in the Pescadores (locally know as Penghu). The company is registered in the Isle of Man. Until recently, the Pescadores was off-limits for development during the martial law era, but since the rapid democratization of Taiwan, conditions have improved and Amazing is now in a position to take advantage of this pristine location as the first major beach front development on the islands. The company intends to build a world-class casino resort with the following specifications:

Initial phase will consist of 100 room luxury hotel

If gaming legalised, facilities expanded to:

600 room luxury hotel

Multi-level casino over 130,000 sq ft

Slot machines, games tables, race & sports books
Excellent location

27 acre beach resort

250 ft beach frontage on Fongkue Beach

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Norton set for return at TT 2009

16 years is a long wait but it's great news for the TT. Norton will be back next year with a new bike a famous name rider, Michael Dunlop, the son of the late TT legend Robert "Joey' Dunlop, who will ride the Norton NRV 588 on its TT debut in the senior race. The owner of Norton Racing, Stuart Garner, has brought the marque back to Britain after a few years in the US. BBC

Photo: Rem Fowler won the inaugural TT in 1907 riding on a Norton

Friday, November 28, 2008

Isle of Man Céilí Band at the All-Ireland

The Isle of Man Céilí Band from Laxey, Isle of Man, with a hornpipe. This is the first occasion that a band from the Isle of Man competed in the Senior Céilí Band competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, held August 2008 in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
Watch it here:

Members are: Katie Lawrence, David Kilgallon, Adam Rhodes, fiddles; Rachel Higham and Patrick Knight, flutes; Rebecca Hurst, concertina; Mary Molloy, button accordion; Russell Cowin, double bass; Kirsty Lawrence, piano and John Ryan, drums.

More info and videos at
Or subscribe via iTunes at
Hat Tip: Illiam Cassidy

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another great IoM wartime story

...We left next morning also for Liverpool but our ship was a much smaller one. It was the ferry to the Isle of Man. Very few of us even knew that there was an island in the Irish Sea and all sorts of rumours arose about our destination before we actually docked at Douglas on the Isle of Man. Armed guards escorted us with fixed bayonets to a square in the centre of Douglas. A double row of barbed wire had been erected around three streets. There were twelve houses each facing the lawned green square and the third row of houses backed on to one of the rows facing the square. All the houses were identical and were typical Edwardian houses built as boarding houses for the summer visitors. All rooms had double beds and with very little other furniture. The kitchens were basically equipped and there was a through downstairs drawing / dining room. There were no black out curtains provided but all the glass in the windows had been painted dark blue and the electric light bulbs were bare but painted a shade of orange. This was so no bright light could be seen from the air. ...From the Daily Telegraph. Click for the whole story.
One of my friends in the Manx Fire Brigade was interviewed with some of his colleagues for a project that has them training fire brigades in Eastern Europe. There is a chance I might join them on their trip to Romania next May.

I think this link should work for you if you are not on a mac: You can find it under Tuesday, Talking Heads 2 here:

Feel free to pass this on.

Take Care,
Tom (the US Firefighter)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brazil 0 Isle of Man 1

Manx a lot, says Blatter

In a shock announcement this lunchtime, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has annulled Brazil's application to host the 2014 World Cup, giving the rights instead to the Isle of Man...

Check out the Onion Bag

Hat Tip: Jim Kneale

Monday, November 24, 2008

New recruitment company for over-50s

Graham Shaw, former owner of Mannin Foods, technically retired and realised what we all knew all the time, that he wouldn't be able to rest his a*se, as he's been a really hard worker all his life. Anyhow, he has now created a recritment agency for the over 50s. Mannin Recruitment caters for the 8,000 retired people on the island. Apparently, ten per cent of retired people in the UK now work part-time for an average of 14 hours per week to supplement their income, (according to a recent study by insurer GE Life). So, if you're thinking of retiring there...

Aer Arran to launch Isle of Man-London City services

24 Nov 2008 - Great news!
Aer Arran is to launch three-times daily services between London City Airport and the Isle of Man from 19 January 2009. The service will compete with daily flights operated on the route by VLM.

The airline plans to use the 72-seat ATR72-500 aircraft for the service, (see photo) the first time that the aircraft will have been used at London City Airport.

Hat Tip: Illiam Cassidy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Read the Government’s response to the Lifeboat spectrum issue

Ofcom has been consulting on introducing spectrum pricing to the aeronautical and maritime sectors. We are doing this because radio spectrum is a scarce and valuable resource and lots of different users want to use it. It’s important that it is managed as efficiently as possible, because then society as a whole can get the most out of the finite amount available.

One of the ways that we try to achieve this is by charging users for the spectrum - or airwaves - they use. This already includes a huge array of public and private sector users, including MOD, NHS, ambulance, police and taxi firms. But we recognise the special position of safety of life charities, which is why they receive a 50 per cent discount on their current fees.

What we are proposing in the maritime case is simply to change the ways fees are worked out so that they aren’t based on the admin costs of issuing a licence, but on how much spectrum is used. Under our proposals the RNLI might actually pay less than they do now. We estimate that they could pay around £20,000 compared to the £40,000 that they currently pay.

The consultation closed at the end of last month. Ofcom will now take stock of the responses, and any updates will be posted on the Ofcom website (

Ahhh, isn't he sweet...

...well he will be until he's been trained to take down a villain. Bodie is 10 weeks old and one of 10 dogs in the Manx constabulary force. As Sergeant Kelly said: 'Fully-grown German shepherds are physically imposing and their mere presence can help to restore order when incidents are threatening to boil over.'
I remember back in the 1970s seeing a headline in the Examiner that read, "Police dog strength doubled" and on reading the article discovered that they had bought another one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Manx are coming!

Plans are underway to come to the US and explain what good guys we are to the new Administration. I'll let you know more when I know. Maybe we can have a meeting with them ourselves? It'll be the top flight delegation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

David Drew Howe

Some of you may be familiar with David Howe. Today, he made the IoM papers with a response to the ongoing Kaupthing bank saga from Iceland.

s website contains information regarding his claim to be the de jure King of the Isle of Man (he has been crowned by an archbishop according to his website). Googling him is fun, too as there are lots of different opinions flying around about him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Come on guys - get busy!

OK, you all know that my regard for the RNLI defers to no man. Well get this. It's mental.

The background: (From the Daily Telegraph...)

LIFEBOAT crews fear being scuppered by crippling new charges for using their radios from Ofcom, the communications regulator. The RNLI could see the price of using its VHF emergency frequencies rise to £250,000 under plans to charge the full commercial rate. The charity, which saves hundreds of lives every year currently pays an annual £48,000 at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. It relies on donations and fears the move will have a disastrous impact on fundraising. Peter Bradley, RNLI operations staff officer, said: 'It's a lot of money when you think in terms of lifeboat days and little old ladies collecting pound coins.' 'We could buy several inshore lifeboats for the same amount.' 'The Government rely on us to provide this search-and-rescue service, at a cost of £124 million a year, but they want to charge us for doing it!'

Ofcom has set out plans to bring 'market forces' into maritime and civil aviation communications in a policy it calls Administered Incentive Pricing. £250,000 represents an awful lot of charity collections, even more so in the current economic climate so, if like me you feel strongly enough about this, please sign the petition below.

Please forward to anyone you think might help by signing the petition.
Hat Tip: Marion

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Island at War

The story about the American bomber made me start thinking about WWII and the Isle of Man. The BBC collected wartime stories together and you can find all the ones that relate to the IoM here. There are some good ones.

The IoM was also an internment camp for civilian aliens (under British control) and there is an interesting page about their lives here. In WWII, existing property, which was mostly requisitioned bed and breakfast places, were cordoned off and used as camps - different camps catered for different nationalities - women and children were housed around Port Erin and Port St Mary in the south which had controlled access from the rest of the Island; UK Fascists and Italians were interned at Peel, and a section of central Douglas promenade was cordoned off for use as a series of male camps.

Photos:Ramsey, Knockaloe Camp & Douglas Promenade,

Thanks, Tom

Tom's comment about the 381st Bombardment Group led to a very interesting website. Today, I am especially proud to be Manx as this sad story reminds us all that freedom is never free and that the Isle of Man is still a grateful nation with a big heart and a well-developed sense of decency.

Photo: Wreckage of B-17G #43-38856

Lord of Man goes to the movies

A Bunch of Amateurs was selected for the Royal Film Performance, attended by the Queen and Prince Philip in London.

Cast members Imelda Staunton and Sir Derek Jacobi were there to greet them. The film, which stars Burt Reynolds as a washed-up Hollywood actor, was chosen last month to replace original choice Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The BBC has a video here.

Actress Imelda Staunton (right) was among the cast members present

Monday, November 17, 2008

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them

On the 16th of November 2008, a group of adults and children from the parish of Maughold made their way up to the summit of North Barrule to pay their respects at the memorial to the 31 American Airmen who had died when their B17 Flying Fortress aircraft crashed on the mountain in dense mist on the 23rd of April 1945.
The memorial is visited every year around the time of ‘Remembrance Sunday’, but this year local children were encouraged to accompany their parents on the walk to the site. It is hoped that this will encourage the young to carry on this act of Remembrance. The children were held spellbound as they were told the story of the terrible tragedy that had taken place on the mountain over 60 years before.
Those from the parish of Maughold who were on this year’s visit included Member of Tynwald, Mrs Clare Christian MLC and Mrs Marinda Fargher, the Chairman of Maughold Parish Commissioners.
The memorial is also visited around the 23rd of April each year by members of the Manx Aviation Preservation Society; on this occasion the American Flag is flown from the flagpole erected at the memorial. The aircraft was from the 381st Bombardment Group based at Ridgewell, near Cambridge, England and had been on its way to Nutts Corner in the north of Ireland where the airmen were to have enjoyed a short break from their operational duties.
Harold Ennett was working at Margher-e-Kew Farm, Hibernia, Maughold on the morning of the crash and saw the aircraft flying in from the coast at around 500ft. He saw the plane disappear in to the mists swirling around North Barrule, and moments later heard a terrific explosion.
The men were were buried on the 27th of April 1945 at the American Military Cemetery at Madingley near Cambridge.
Hat tip: Maughold Commissioners.

Rather her than me!

Check out this blog to find out why someone in their right mind would attempt to kayak through the Sound!!!
Awesome photos!

Winter Warmers competition

Check this out. It's a competition in the local papers for a dish prepared with local produce. Now is the time to drag out your heirloom Manx recipes.
I'm guessing they couldn't ship the hamper prize but imagine the glory! Isle of Man Newspapers and 'I Love Manx' have teamed up to give you the chance to have your recipe selected by top local chef Kevin Woodford. The top four recipes selected by Kevin will be made and sampled by a panel of judges at an Isle of Man farmers' market to be held at the Villa Marina, Douglas, on Saturday, December 6. The winning recipe and runners up will receive a delicious hamper containing the finest Manx produce and a copy of Laxey School's 'A Taste of the Isle of Man' Manx cookbook. E-mail with a your recipe and method, remembering to include full contact details and a daytime telephone number.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Darn it! Having secured pole position in the Macao Grand Prix street race, Connor Cummins experienced technical problems with his AIM Yamaha and was forced to retire. Still, he's still the best local rider to come out of the Isle of Man and I'm sure he'll go far. Ride safely Connor.

Interview with Robin Gibb

At the end of the Award for Excellence evening, BeeGee, Robin Gibb, a Manxman by birth, sang "Ellan Vannin" along with the school choir from King William's College. Click here to read about it and to click through for the song and an interview.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Counting in Manx

Adrian Cain will teach you how to count to ten in Manx

One - Nane
Two - Jees
Three - Tree
Four - Kiare
Five - Queig
Six - Shey
Seven - Shiaght
Eight - Hoght
Nine - Nuy
Ten - Jeih

Friday, November 14, 2008

Awards for Excellence

A sparkling venue for a sparkling evening. The Awards for Excellence were presented last night in the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas. It sounds like an evening full of tears and cheers as Manx notables were awarded for their services to the community, charity and commerce. Check out the IOM Today website for a long, long list of outstanding achievements. Not bad for a 33-mile long rock in the midle of the Irish Sea.

Friends again

The UK Government has no plans to examine its constitutional relationship with the Isle of Man following a "reassuring" meeting in London between Lord Chancellor Jack Straw (left) and IoM Chief Minister Tony Brown. Check it out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday festivities in the Washington metro area

At the suggestion of two of our Board members in the Greater Washington Area Manx Society we are sharing some suggestions for entertainment in the DC area over the holidays. If you'd like to join us, make your own arrangements and leave a Comment below or email Kelly/Manx Mum so we'll know to look out for you.

The Washington Revels is dedicated to reviving and celebrating cultural traditions -- music, dance, stories, drama and ritual -- that have bound communities together over the ages and across the globe. An established cultural institution in the greater Washington area for nearly 25 years, the Washington Revels produces "The Christmas Revels" at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. The eight performances over two weekends in early December draw over 10,000 people annually.

This year, the 26th annual Christmas Revels will celebrate in French-Canadian style with Québécois singing, dancing, music and tales. Join the acclaimed Revels company (over 75 performers, ages 8-70) on this journey through the deep winter woods to the settlement of Trois Rivières, where villagers gather to greet the New Year and the legends of the Voyageurs and their Flying Canoe come to life! Three internationally renowned performers from Québec -- step dancer Pierre Chartrand, fiddler Éric Favreau, and accordion master Stéphane Landry -- are the featured guest artists and tradition-bearers for this joyous, colorful show, sure to have you tapping your toes and singing along in true Revels fashion! Tickets now on sale!

Location: Lisner Auditorium of The George Washington University
We're going: Date: Sunday, December 7, Time: 1:00pm (Accessibility Services)
Orchestra A-N: Adult $45 Youth $27
Terrace AA-JJ: Adult $45 Youth $27
Terrace KK-RR: Adult $30 Youth $20
Terrace SS-UU: Adult $18 Youth $12 (and sitting here)
Wheelchair Spaces (Row N) Adult $45 Youth $27
Youth = 18 and under$12-27
ONLINE: Go to:
Service charges: $2.50 per ticket plus $3.50 per order
BY PHONE: 1-800-595-4849 (24 hours, 7 days per week)
Service charges: $3.75 per ticket plus $3.50 per order
GROUP SALES: 10% off for groups of 10-19
20% off for groups of 20 or more
Available through the Revels office only at 301-587-3835.
Service charges: $2.50 per ticket plus $3.50 per order

Concert and party!
Also, Maggie (a friend of GWAMS) & friends will be playing at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis at 7 pm on New Year’s Day. Assuming everyone is sufficiently recovered from the prior evening, this could be fun. The Ram’s Head Tavern onstage offers a performance package that includes free parking at Gott’s garage, a free Fordham draught and 10% off the dinner check. However, tables are arranged such that we would have to move quickly if we wanted to be relatively together instead of scattered hither, thither and yon.

Dec. 6 ( Saturday)- 7:30 pm. An Evening of Celtic and Christmas Music. Featuring: Maggie Sansone, hammered dulcimer, Irish singer Pat Egan on vocals and guitar; Sue Richards on Celtic harp and Laura Byrne on Irish Flute. Adults: $18, Seniors & students: $10/Under 13-$5.Tickets and Information: (703) 765–4342,St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 8009 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria VA 22308.

Jan. 1 (Thursday), 2009. 7pm. Welcome in the New Year with Maggie's Music & friends. A compelling blend of Celtic music sure to dazzle and delight! with Maggie Sansone, hammered dulcimer); Sue Richards, Celtic harp; Pat Egan, vocals, guitar; Laura Byrne-Egan Irish flute; Jim Eagan, fiddle and Irish dancer Shannon Dunne. Rams Head Tavern, 33 West St, Annapolis, MD. Tickets:410-268-4545.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kirsty's blog

Kirsty got to witness an election - not a nice modest Manx one - but the full-contact American variety on a liberal campus in a liberal county in Idaho. Must have been quite a day - especially the celebration when the West Coast was declared. Here's her description.


SES Satellite Leasing Limited has announced the sponsorship of an executive space MBA programme to benefit students from the Isle of Man.
Beginning in January 2009, SES SL will support a five-year plan to establish and manage the programme through the auspices of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, and using the resources of the International Business School and the newly formed International Institute of Space Commerce based at the Nunnery in Douglas.
SES SL will kick start the programme in January with a 30,000 Euros initial investment, plus an additional 50,000 Euros per year from 2009-2013, including one SES SL scholarship. In view of the rapidly growing role of space commerce on the Isle of Man, one of the residential sessions of the programme will take place on the Island. Everyone is very pleased with this, “The growing success of SES and the other space related companies on the Island is further evidence of the growing diversification of the Island’s economy,” said Treasury Member with responsibility for the space industry, Alex Downie, MLC.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Presentation by the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Sergeant Dave Cameron from Cumbria and three Isle of Man soldiers, Kingsman John Quaggan, Kingsman Stuart Dawson and Kingsman James Kelly, who are in the Island representing their battalion for Remembrance Sunday, are presenting the library with a gift of a framed photo in return for the young members’ support during the Battalion’s tour of duty in Basra, Iraq, which came to an end this summer. Members sent the soldiers drawings, gifts and letters of support, which boosted the soldiers’ morale while they were in Iraq.
The Regiment – the North West’s Infantry – recruits from Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and the Isle of Man. While in the Island the soldiers are also attending a civic dinner and taking part in Douglas’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony, where they will lay a wreath.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Now here's an answer to the fuel problem

The Peel P50, the world's smallest road-legal car, is a little gem. (And if you ever watch BBC's "Top Gear" on BBC America, it was the hero of a great show where Jeremy Clarkson dragged and drove it around the BBC HQ's offices -- it even fitted in the elevator!)
Its most recent appearance was at the funeral of its inventor, Cyril Cannell. The Peel P50 was the first in a series of experimental microcars built in the 1960s at his fibreglass firm Peel Engineering Company.
Seventy P50s were produced between 1963 and 1964, not many remain, but this one was bought by Peel's Manx Transport Heritage Museum after a public appeal in 2005 and it stood guard as its creator was laid to rest.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I don't normally do politics but...

Alistair Darling, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer called us a bad word. He did it in a Treasury Select Committee's meeting and lit the fuse of the firework left smoldering between Parliament and Tynwald. Not fair really, the Isle of Man has worked hard to improve its reputation for transparency and compliance. It led the way in developing and signing Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) -- the OECD’s favorite means of tax transparency – although it’s a hard message to spread and quickly undone by ill-informed press and politicians. And of course I feel sorry for those people who have appear to have lost their life-savings -- let's hope the IOM delgation to visit Jack Straw will have a positive outcome for them -- but I understand that the Manx depositors' money was frozen by the UK government not by the Manx.

Evidence dealing with savers in the Isle of Man begins at 2h 05m 45s but the comments about the UK needing to take 'a long hard look at the relationship with the Isle of Man, a tax haven sitting in the Irish Sea' can be seen at 2h 16m 50s -- or so I am told, I can't get it to fast forward.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back Door Slam in Baltimore

We all turned out to see the boys last night (well, my family did). They are on tour with "Govn't Mule", an Allman Brothers Band descendant. We battled up through the rush hour traffic, caught the opening band and left. But it was totally worth it -- they were brilliant. Back Door Slam are great -- we saw them and Mim got lots of hugs which made her night! We were frantically looking for something to take them and came upon some Chip Shop Curry packets -- just the job! If you click on the link you can play Roll Away which is about leaving the Island and check out the tour dates.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remember remember the fifth of November
For gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Anyone up for penning a reply? Leave it in Comments or email me.

With the US presidential election this week we are looking at how this could affect the Island, particularly given Barack Obama's views of offshore financial centres. We would welcome any comment you, or another NAMA member, would like to include in our coverage.
I hope you can help with this and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Kind regards

Rachael Bruce, Reporter
Isle of Man Newspapers Ltd,

Government on the IOM

Be don't have a election this year so here's what the IOM government looks like from a distance. Dating back to Viking origins over 1,000 years ago, Tynwald is the oldest legislature in the world in continuous existence. It has two branches: the House of Keys and the Legislative Council.

Her Majesty the Queen as Lord of Mann is our Head of State. Her personal representative on the Island is His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, who is appointed by the Crown for a five-year term. The Island is a Crown Dependency which, through its ancient parliament, Tynwald, enjoys a high degree of domestic legislative and political autonomy.

Every five years the House of Keys is dissolved by the Lieutenant Governor and a General Election is held to elect members of the House of Keys. The voting system used is Proportional Representation (PR). The House of Keys is the lower branch of Tynwald, which consists of 24 members who represent single member and multi-member constituencies. The members of the House of Keys are directly elected by the people of the Isle of Man. The majority of Members sit as independents, and the virtual absence of party politics has contributed to the remarkable stability of the Manx system.

Tywald Sitting

Eight of the eleven Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs), are elected by the Members of the House of Keys; the remaining Members of Legislative Council are the ex-officio members, H.M. Attorney General, the Lord Bishop and the President of Tynwald, who is elected by Tynwald as a whole.

The Legislative Council generally acts as a revising chamber for Bills which are usually introduced in the Keys. The Royal Assent to Tynwald Bills is given by the Queen or, now more commonly, by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.

The two branches sit separately throughout the parliamentary year principally to enact primary legislation; they sit together as Tynwald Court mainly to debate matters of policy, approve delegated legislation and to adopt financial motions. On 5th July each year, Tynwald Court assembles in the open air on Tynwald Hill at St. John's, a Viking site of the Manx parliament, to conduct parliamentary business and receive petitions for redress from aggrieved citizens.

Kelly's Note: Technically the Isle of Man Government has a tricameral system, not a bicameral system as is widely reported, because -- as described above -- it meets as its two parts and then together to make some laws, which makes three parts. Hat tip: Alex Downie, MLC

Monday, November 3, 2008

No really - this is a good thing.

Very cool cow rescue by the Coastguard at the Faragher's farm, last week. For anyone who cares - I used to work with Ian on his parents' farm, Ballahick in Ballasalla, and remember Ian very well (he's a year or two younger) and his brother James and his parents Jack and Jessie with great affection. I'd help in the harvest and as I was quite tough back then I got to pitch bales on to the flatbed.
Manx note: The Faragher's had a notable experience -- possibly unique for the Island -- when their Ballahick farmhouse was split in two by an earthquake.

Mike the Bike

This is a great article from the US website about Mike Hailwood whom I remember because I'm old and had a dad and an uncle who were car-struck. My dad also did radio commentaries on the TT races back in the 1960s and I remember listening to him at home on the old valve wireless (radio to you whippersnappers). In those more sensitive days he commented "and he's coming round the bend (or whatever) like a Bat out of He--you know where!" He is also famous for screaming when he bounced up and down in excitement on the old wooden schoolchair in the radio hut and managed to get a splinter in his you know what. Anyway, Hailwood is a racing hero. Check the link for a great article.
There is a great article in the Times (of London) Online website about the IOM. It has all the hallmarks of being a piece planted by the IOM's PR company as a result of the new Tourist Board Advertising Campaign as it is glowing in its praise -- most newspapers like to make a sideswipe about our "yokel" ways -- so read it and ENJOY!! I've not eaten Loghthan yet - at least not knowingly - I'm going to try next time I'm home.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kirsty in Moscow, Idaho

Click here for more of Kirsty and her experiences at the University of Idaho. It's all a far cry from the IOM! She's moved into the Global Village, where there is a mixture of international and American students and she's made lots of new friends from all over the world, including Switzerland, Macedonia, Germany, Sweden, France, Morocco, Ireland and, of course, America.