Chicago SBI Conference Part 2
Did you miss Chicago SBI Conference Part 1? Catch up on the beginning of this tale here!
Full of excitement and anticipation, I arrived in the windy city to steamy 90 degree weather. After an extremely hot Texas summer, I was looking forward to some cooler temps up north in late September.
I asked a lady inside the airport how I might get to my hotel, the Embassy Suites O'Hare from Midway Airport. She said for me to wait for an Omega shuttle outside that would arrive on the hour, every hour.
"Perfect" I thought, 10 minutes till. So I sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Then I waited some more. No omega shuttle in sight.
I blamed myself, rightly so, for not making travel arrangements prior to leaving on how I would get from Midway to the hotel. That being said, I didn't and I so I sat, alone and a little scared. $75 for a cab ride to the hotel seemed like a LOT of money. In retrospect, this would have been a bargain!
A seemingly nice man who was a driver from another shuttle approached me and asked where I was going. I told him The Embassy Suites O'Hare and he said, "I take you there for $20, only I have to go 7 or 8 miles out of the way for a reservation, but I take you."
So *stupidly* (don't laugh - hindsight is always 20/20) I hopped in his van and away we went. I mean FAR AWAY we went View from the van of Downtown Chicago
I took this photo during the exciting "I'm on my way" stage, before it turned into, "I'm scared I'll never get there" stage.
At some point I began texting my friend Misty
this message, "Just in case, his name is Abeldahamed Abedelnamed" which I saw on the badge hanging from the mirror.
I did make it to the hotel finally after a short 3 hour drive.
Okay, okay I exaggerate, it was a 2.75 hour detour. I had now been traveling for 11 hours, and I was certainly ready for a drink.
Next on my agenda was two very important things -
- Meeting up with my friend Misty, whom I had not yet met face to face, although we've been phone/internet friends
for a year.
- Going down to the Manager's Reception and having a free drink! Thanks to my 2.75 hour detour, I only had a 15 minutes left for free drinks, and I can't begin to tell you how badly I needed one.
Misty was everything I imagined her to be. Since we had spent so much time on the phone together, it wasn't awkward at all. It was moreover just putting a body/face with her voice. She was warm, friendly, fun, and had super cute short red hair. I absolutely adored her from minute 1.
We screamed, jumped up and down, hugged, then perhaps repeated 5 or 6 times before I recalled 2) having a free drink!! So down we went to consume 2 drinks in a short 10 minute time frame. At 11 hours since my last meal, the two drinks went straight to my head. The adrenaline rush had already begun, and I had just arrived.
A group of us went to the hotel restaurant for dinner, and I lucked out to be seated by a charming, lively, infectiously happy British gal named, Cath
I had never personally been around anyone from the U.K. I was captivated by her accent, and I told her so no few than 10 times. There's no doubt she thought I was a freak! How could I explain, that my limited travels had left me completely unexposed to such a divine accent, and that I would have happily just followed her around the rest of the weekend just to hear her speak?
I finally did tear myself away long enough to walk around the table and introduce myself to this dynamic group of SBI'ers. I made a concerted effort to remember names, but I'll blame the drinks on an empty stomach and general exhaustion from traveling that prevented me from retaining a SINGLE name the following morning (other than Cath of course). In my defense I remembered each of their faces, unfortunately just not the names to go with them.
This is already turning into a long confession, so I'll end it here. Stay tuned for Chicago SBI Conference Parts 3,
. No guarantees there won't be a 5
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