What a long and fun weekend this was!
I went to Chicago, IL for the yearly conference of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS).
Thursday morning my mom (the chapter chairperson) and myself hopped onto an 8 o'clock plane (which meant we had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get to LGA on time) and landed in Chicago by 11:30 a.m. The flight was uneventful (just the way we like it) and we had to wait forever for the shuttle to the hotel... about 20 minutes away. Once at the hotel, they told us the restaurant doesn't open till 2 p.m., it was 12 (but our bodies thought it was 1 p.m. (time difference) plus we had eaten breakfast at 5:30 ish so we were practically ravenous! We were given the flier for a place that does Chicago pizza delivery and when we called they told us ONE HOUR! for a pizza. Mom was not interested but I pointed out we no other options!
Well the pizza was very tasty (though a bit doughy) and took at least 75 minutes to get to us! I went for a swim before our meeting and it felt great! What a work out! We had meetings the rest of the day till dinner time. We had dinner at the Church which was a mezzeh style meal and very yum! Gail made it in late and I woke in the middle of the night to see her n the bead next to me (she was a wake) and boy was I confused! Friday was a day full of meetings, and dinner was on a dinner boat cruise, the "Spirit of Chicago" The food was delicious, the music was good, the waiters all sang and danced... it was sorta amazing. Imagine a LARGE group of Armenians, mostly women (I'd say over 50) on a boat with all sorts of other people. When we get together, we like a goof Kef! No one does Kef like we do! Anyway... Imagine Armenian line dancing (similar to Greek and Jewish) to DANCING QUEEN by ABBA. I mean, seriously? What's better than that?
Saturday, Gail and I skipped all the meetings and went to Chicago to be tourists. We weren't delegates and just "guests" so we weren't obligated to be at all the meetings. We took the train in and wandered the city. I had just a couple things I really wanted and she too. I had to see the bean and the fountain in Millennium Park and also wanted to check out a brewpub AC told me about and to stand on the glass balcony in the sears building and Gail also wanted to check out the sears balcony and wanted to check out Linkin Park (not he band) Well, the Bean was amazing, the fountain was closed for maintenance (WHO THE HECK DOES MAINTENANCE on a landmark on a WEEKEND! jerks. and the brewpub I nixed because Gail's not really into beer.
We accidentally missed Linkin Park and went through Olde Town instead, almost witnessed a fire which we later found out was a subway fire (they re-routed all buses because of it. there were no trains!) then went back to the pier to wander and have lunch. And a Goose Island beer I would have gotten from the brewpub. Sears was nixed because we realized it would be crowded and we wouldn't have time to actually do it. If i only have a little bit of time, I'd rather do more with it than less.
Last night dinner was at the church, but this time it was a more formal thing with table cloths and waiters and the whole shebang! Dinner was good, but the music was late to start, not during the meal, then the REAL Kef songs didn't start until we were leaving! I had a lot of fun dancing and bopping around. The band played an Arabic song and Sona (not my mom) came over and tied a scarf on my hips which meant I had to go dance. She eventually came and joined me and we basically belly danced on the dance floor alone with 100 people watching. I learned some new moves from her which I enjoyed! And today was just full of meetings and fling back.
Actually that's not true. My moms good friend Ani, her brother lives in Chicago, so he offered t pick us up, have lunch together and take us to O'Hare. He has the MOST amazing house EVER. To beautiful structurally and also decorated nicely. His house is basically a museum. It was awesome!
On a side note, of the 40 or so women at the conference, I would say a good 10 were name Sona or Sonia. my mom is friends with a Sona and a Sonia so they were the 3 Sona's! So funny.
Anyway, I'm typing this on the way home (no I'm not driving) and will post it when I get home, but you'll have to wait for pictures! Sorry, I'm friggin BEAT and a half!