JASNAMN: When did you First discover Jane Austen?Cynthia Ali: I have known of Jane Austen for years. But during the summer of 2019 I was searching for a tearoom online. I came across Bingley Teas and visited the shop with my friend. My heart was sparked with Jane Austen. All through the summer of 2019 I drank blends of Bingley Tea, Jane Austen, Sweet Anne Bennet, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. At the same time while searching for places for afternoon tea I found also the JASNA-MN Tea in the Garden meeting at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. That’s when I joined JASNA.JASNAMN: What do you love most about Austen?Cynthia Ali:Jane Austen touches the place in my heart that loves all things English, all things tea, all things Royal, all things costume design and fashion, all things history, all things music, all thing gardening and all things romance.JASNAMN: Member since:Cynthia Ali: 2019JASNAMN: What do you enjoy most about JASNA?Cynthia Ali: I love going to the teas and hearing the speakers. JASNA-MN has a checkout library with various magazines Royals, TeaTime, Majesty and Jane Austen magazines. I have checked out some at each meeting and have enjoyed them immensely. For Christmas I baked a mint cookie with chocolate ganache and white chocolate from the TeaTime Magazine.
JASNAMN: Tell us about your involvement in JASNA
Cynthia Ali: I am new to JASNA but so far I absolute love attending the monthly meetings. They are held in beautiful venues with fascinating and knowledgeable speakers.
JASNAMN: Tell us a little about your backgroundI am a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano. I have a private music teaching studio in my home in the Como Park Neighborhood. I am on the board of the Saint Paul Piano Teachers Assocation, currently I have accepted the nomination for President- Elect. Since I am a piano teacher I love when Jane Austen’s character can play the piano.JASNAMN: Other passions?Cynthia Ali: I love the music in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet. I bought the piano book with soundtrack music. I especially enjoy playing the song “Dawn”. It’s really quite beautiful. I’m interested in the history of piano and the pianoforte used during the time period of Jane Austen’s novels.JASNAMN: Favorite Austen work/character (feel free to add a runner-up to either!):Cynthia Ali: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, of course!JASNAMN: Other favorite authors/genres:Cynthia Ali: Tasha Tudor, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha ChristieJASNAMN: What are you reading now?Cynthia Ali: Northanger Abbey and Tea with Jane Austen
JASNAMN: Fun facts:Cynthia Ali: I visited England for three weeks and saw many places mentioned in Jane Austen’s books. While reading Northanger Abbey the book comes alive to me. I can envision the setting with memories I have of Bath. This adds a layer of enjoyment for me. On my same trip to England, Queen Elizabeth II was having a royal visit from King Fahd. I saw Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Diana and King Fahd in their royal carriages coming down the street on their way to Buckingham Palace. They were right in front of me as I stood on the edge of the sidewalk, across the street from the former Whitehall Theatre.