An Update from Chicago


Just thought I’d give a brief update from the Windy City, which has had wonderful weather after an icy Marshall, Illinois, start 5 days ago.

Smooth sailing from there on for me and my mom.

We’ve taken in a few half-price ticket shows and gone on some free or low-price tours.  One of those was at the Chicago Theater, a premier movie theater for silent movies when it opened in 1921, seating 5,000.


Our tour guide, Harold, was a recently-graduated theater major who was aspiring to become an actor.  He was a wealth of information and the 4 of us on the tour for that day were very fortunate to have him.


Especially interesting was to see backstage where the signatures of many famous performers were written up and down the walls.  This tradition began with Frank Sinatra who signed his name when he gave the first performance in the newly renovated theater in 1986.



Meeting Up with Old Friends



Today at noon, we had our yearly meet-up with Barb Ziemba.

Barb ( a Chicagoan) used to work as the secretary at the infamous Chicago Temple, the largest UMC in the world.  In 1992, I walked into the Chicago Temple while my parents and I were visiting Chicago.  I attended a UMW meeting and afterwards, visited the pastor’s office.  Although Rev. Eugene Winkler was out, a friendly Barb greeted me.  I left my newsletter, putting the church on my newsletter list and later, added Barb herself.

Over the years, we have kept in touch with Barb enthusiastically collecting loads of things for me which she mailed to my home in Marshall.  Every time I visit my mom, there is Barb’s stash of pencils, notepads, calendars, bookmarks, and cultural materials waiting for me.  She is such a joy to be with, and one of the many women I feel so lucky to have met through our United Methodist Church connection those many years ago.

Finishing Off our Chicago Week

Tomorrow is our last full day in Chicago before leaving on Saturday.  We are planning to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo, a first for us, where many inside exhibits will keep out the cold.

Tomorrow is also the first day of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year),the Year of the Dog.

At our hotel, there is one member in the housekeeping staff who is Chinese. Her English name is Sally.  I tracked her down and made sure her day was a good one with a Chinese hong bag (red envelope) filled with a monetary gift thanking her for servicing our hotel room.

For Valentine’s Day, my mom and I surprised each other with small Valentine gifts, but we also surprised the hotel staff (anyone we saw) with Hershey kisses and Lindt chocolates.



Everyone deserves a little “thank you” on Valentine’s Day, and chocolate is a great way to do it.

From Chicago, here’s sending you Ping An (Peace) for your day and an auspicious first day in the Year of the Dog



About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
This entry was posted in A Grand Chinese New Year Vacation, A Visit Home to America, China, From Along the Yangtze, Luzhou Vocational and Technical College, Luzhou: Yangtze Rivertown Stories, Smalltown American Life. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to An Update from Chicago

  1. Kate Lindsay says:

    Sounds like a wonderful holiday! Today I celebrated the coming Year of the Dog with my Silver Sneakers class…..our leader is from Taiwan. We had a small table of mostly healthy treats. I took a list of the Chinese Zodiac so we learn a little about each other. Ming and I are helping the others to could backward from 8 in Chinese…….I had to work at backwards. Happy Spring Festival!!!

  2. Linda says:

    Glad you and your mom made it to Chicago for your outing despite the weather. It is good to see positive pix and info about the windy city.

  3. Teresa says:

    This sounds like so much fun!!! Glad the weather is decent for ya’ll . I love the Carol Burnett signature. Enjoy your time together.

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