The tenth annual meeting of the Global Greeter Network took place on September 21-23 in Chicago, where the weather was gorgeous.
Participating Greeter groups spanned the globe: from Chicago, Houston and New York, to Brussels, Buenos Aires, and Shanghai to the Loir Valley and L’Aisne in France. This was testament to the enormous range of programs – in 83 countries on six continents – inspired by the flagship Big Apple Greeter in New York City.
Our reception on Sunday evening had us all in the clouds…literally. It was held on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower. We were up so high, we felt we could touch the clouds as they rolled past the windows.
Monday and Tuesday were chock full of meetings and eatings, especially a sumptuous lunch at Macy’s Department Store, a historic building which was once Marshall Field’s, another department store. Key discussion topics were: the unusually fast growth of Greeter programs around the world; streamlining the mentoring process of new members; and electing a new board.
Now to the aptly named Dine-Around dinner, since we dined at three different restaurants in three different locations using three different modes of travel. We first took a water taxi to the Lao Yu Ju restaurant in Chinatown for succulent appetizers. Next, a bus whisked us to the Pilsen neighborhood for our scrumptious main course at the Mexican Restaurant, Perez. The Pink Line “El” (an elevated subway line) sped us to the resplendent Palmer House Hotel for our decadent desserts. The history of the hotel was equally delectable. American businessman Potter Palmer built the hotel for his bride in 1870, only to have it burn down one week later. After about five years, the hotel re-opened and today it’s the oldest operating hotel in Chicago.
The hotel is also notorious for having invented the brownie, and a fudgy one at that! We thought this was the perfect metaphor for the sweetness of spending time with good friends, working hard for a wonderful cause, and creating memories that will last for years to come.