Kathy & Dave Sherman, Sue & Ray Jones were the hosts for this fun event. From the feedback Dave, Kathie, Sue, and Ray are getting, we think we can safely say the 8th Shanghai Expatriate Reunion in Chicago over September 25-28th was a success. Good times had by all!!! Actually we can all attribute the success to the weather!! Most uncharacteristically, Chicago had beautiful, sunny days in the high 70’s! It was a bit humid, which is normal, but the warm, not too windy, weekend made the city bright and welcoming!
Thursday’s evening registration turned out to be more of a pre-party and a great way to start the weekend. Sue’s refreshments were so good, we all forgot to go out for dinner, but stayed and caught up on the last 12 months of everyone’s lives. The Omni suites were very comfortable and roomy and the service was great.
By the way, we do hope no one indulged too much in the White Rabbit candy we hunted down and gave everyone in their “welcome bag”. We were caught unaware of it being laced with the industrial chemical melamine that had just been found in China’s milk products! Luckily the Omni must have seen the article in the USA Today! They printed it in their newsletter left by every bed that very night! Coincidence? No, just T.I.C. (This is China) and “God looks after children, drunks, and expats”.
Friday’s tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio offered interesting insight into the architect’s philosophy and early designing. And, of course, we were all delighted to have the birth hospital of Kathie Sherman pointed out to us. Later, it was a beautiful afternoon to cruise down the Chicago River and learn more about Chicago’s famous buildings and their architecture, which rose up out of the ashes from the Great Chicago Fire.
Friday night we all enjoyed a social evening again, in one of the hotel’s party rooms, eating, drinking, and talking, talking, talking. Kathie tried to get a group to go bar hopping, but got nowhere as no one wanted to break up the good time they were already having.
Saturday morning many of us poured into one of Chicago’s red trolleys to tour the city. Little did we know what a treat we were to have. Our driver/narrator, Bobby turned out to be a stand-up comedian trained at Second City by Tina Fey!!! Dave acted as a great straight guy, taking the brunt of many of Bobby’s jokes. Our sides were aching when we finally debarked after seeing Wrigley Field, Magnificent Mile, the Loop, the Museum campus, the South Side including sort-of seeing Obama’s house, China Town, Little Italy, Halstead Street, and all the other neighborhoods Chicago is known for…with an informative, though irreverent, commentary.
We finally got a chance to do our own thing, until we met for Saturday night’s banquet at Phil Stefani 437 Rush, a traditional, Chicago style, Italian steakhouse. The cocktail hour refreshed our appetites, which was good, as the dinner was everything from salad to pasta to steak to chocolate cake! We topped off the evening with our “meeting”. Sheryl and Kirk Pinney passed out fortune cookies, which predicted that many of us would end up in Phoenix/Scottsdale next year! They gave us a preview of what we can look forward to … possibly a southwestern cookout! And for those that had their interest in Frank Lloyd Wright piqued at his home and studio in Oak Park, a tour of Taliesin West, his school in Arizona! And they encouraged us to plan for extra time to take in the Grand Canyon, Sedona, or any one of Arizona’s spectacular sights.
Ray and Dave did a great job giving out the raffle prizes, though anyone who did not win a prize might disagree.
Sunday, the hotel offered us a private room for our goodbye buffet brunch, giving us freedom to roam table to table to take final photos and say farewell till next October. I think personally that they just didn’t want us to disturb the other, more sedate, guests … or the hung over wedding guests at the two weddings the hotel hosted that weekend.