Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Making Memories...and Friends

Wednesday of our girls' week was one of the best nights ever! Little did we know when we signed up for the Navy Pier excursion that we would make such wonderful memories!

We gathered in the lobby of our hotel on Wednesday evening and waited for the charter bus to arrive. As we were standing there, one of our Japanese language classmates (who happens to be from Shanghai, China) came over to chat with us. I started asking her some questions about her culture. I asked if she minded that I was asking her all of these questions. She smiled and assured me that she didn't mind. We stopped talking because they were making announcements and giving out cell phone numbers so that no one would be left behind in Chicago. Once the announcements were over, Celia turned to me and said, "Any questions?" then winked. That was hilarious! ;)

So, we get on the bus...my mom and sister sat together and I sat with Celia. We talked the entire way, sharing tidbits of information about our families, showing one another pictures of our boys (she has a 2 year old son), and clearing up misconceptions about our cultures. The ride to Navy Pier seemed to fly by! Once we got there, we walked around taking in the sites. There was a band playing in the Beer Garden, so we stood and listened for a minute before continuing to the end of the pier. After taking tons of pictures like the tourists that we were, we decided to find something to eat. We asked Celia what she wanted to try, and we all decided to walk up towards the restaurants and look at the menus that were posted to see what sounded good. We finally settled on Riva Cafe (there is an inside dining room upstairs with a separate menu that is very chi chi, but we ate outside.) Mom had a small salad with shrimp, Celia had clam chowder in a bread bowl, I had fish and chips, and Margie had a quesadilla. We sat and chatted for over an hour while enjoying each other's company and people watching. Celia taught us that in China, you told the waiter when you were ready to leave, he brought the check, and you left. She also said that they do not tip in China. When our waiter brought the check, she thought we had to leave and we assured her that he wasn't hurrying us out of the restaurant, he was just bringing the check for when we were ready to go.

Celia and I

Margie, Mom, Celia

Dawn, Mom, Margie

After dinner, we went to the giant ferris wheel to wait for the fireworks.

Giant ferris wheel at night

Waiting for the fireworks to start



Beautiful Chicago skyline at night

Once the fireworks were finished, we headed to the bus for the journey back to the hotel. We exchanged email addresses and started planning for next years' seminar, which will be in St. Louis. St. Louis is about 4 hours from my home, so I told Celia that if she is planning on coming, she should come a week early, fly to my house (well, not to MY HOUSE, but to O'Hare in Chicago) and stay with us. I told The Man and he was on board with that. :) She has also extended an invitation to our entire family to visit Shanghai. Now that would be quite an adventure!

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