Friday, July 17, 2009

end of an era...

I've just got back from my final shift at the Courtyard Marriott - Chicago-Schaumburg property and my time here with white lodging and can't believe its all come to an end! My final week has been an eventful one and have barely found time to pack!

Last Thursday my mum turned 50 years old... yes I know, old! My dad turns 60 in a few days, even older! Anyway with their two birthdays together I decided to surprise them with a weekend away in the Lake District. I put the itinerary in their cards and they opened them while on holiday in Austria. Luckily they managed to be surprised, its hard to sneak anything past them two! I had to convince them that I wanted an entire weekend to move my stuff into my house in Leeds in order for them not to plan anything else during that weekend!

On that day I also said goodbye to my dear friend Grace, or as she's commonly known as Gayface, which is weird, as she's very much a hetrosexual. Although if you apply the original meaning of gay, ie happy, she would be happy face and I think that sums her up to a tee! Gayface moved to Australia for a years placement with a Christian group, just days before I was to come home, and therefore we'll be going two whole years without seeing each other. Ridiculous. So a trip out to Oz may be needed in the next year, although I know already I'll annoy the Australian public with all the innuendo's of being 'down under'. I wish the best of luck to Grace, although she'll be having that much fun with all those surfer boys she won't even be reading this.... do they even have internet in Oz? or just sand? hmmm.

That night I went to see Bruno at the movie theatre. What can I say? It was brilliant, but America was not ready for it. People were walking out the cinema in horror, shouting at the tv, and when the credits came on at the end, I had to get out of there as fast as possible as everyone wanted to find the nearest gay and beat him. What many of the audience failed to understand I think is that the film makers had not gone out to make a gay porno, they didn't want the movie to be pleasent for ANYONE! Hence choosing an ugly old fat man to be his lover, was not attractive to even the most repulsive of gay men. And I'm pretty repulsive. It was fantastic, hilarious, and very creative. But should be kept in Europe.

On Friday I went for my final trip to Boys Town in Chicago. We had a few drinks and watched an incredible electro band do a very interesting but fantastic cover of 'Man in the Mirror' by Michael Jackson! It was my last night out in Chicago and was sad to have my final night out with Albert and Patrik, two people I really couldn't have done without this year. They helped me set up my life and my home. When I first arrived in America, they drove me to Ikea and helped me set up my stuff, they helped me move twice! We've gone on many adventures across Chicago and Illinois this past year and will be gutted to leave them.

On Monday I went downtown to work at the Courtyard on Mag Mile. It was fantastic to be able to go down here on my final week and say goodbye to the friends I'd made down there. Working in Chicago is always interesting. We had a girl come in and ask for a $99 rate... in CHICAGO.... we told her we couldn't take that rate. She told us she was being chased by someone and so we offered her the phone to called the authorities but informed her we didn't hand out sympathy rates. She then ended up admitting she was a prosititue and that it was none of our 'god damn business' what she does with her body and that if she wants to sell it, she'll sell it. We didn't even ask.

The next day I went for my last wonder along Mag Mile and said goodbye to my favorite city in the entire world (so far of course). I went along Navy Pier and it was like they knew I was leaving. They were blasting out a song called 'goodbye' across the pier, and it really hit home that I was leaving soon. I then walked along to Millennium Park where they had a live orchestra play, they were fantastic. I then passed what was the Sears Tower as it was known for the last time before they changed the name. I headed home to Schaumburg where I met up with some of the staff and managers from around the cluster who took me on a night out to Alumni to say goodbye. I went to get around, $1 pints! bargain... especially if you know cook county where the average beer is $5, not even including tip. Ridiculous. I'm looking forward to being back in a good British pub where you pay between £1.50 -£2 for a pint :) Although I've been away a while, hope those prices haven't gone up too much!

I worked my final evening shift on Wednesday, and that didn't go without drama. A guest runs in screaming telling me to call an ambulance. I called emergency services and I went out to find a woman covered in blood. She had tripped and smashed her face in, and looked like a broken nose and teeth. Luckily due to a medical group being in house, we had many nurses around to help in the situation. I saw the lady that fell on my final day, as she passed the desk. I asked her how she was, and she was in bright spirits and smiling about the situation, she told me she was fine and that she had fortunately not broken anything. I then jokingly asked her how our side walk was and told her I hoped it wasn't damaged. Insurance claim alert! Could get a new parking lot for that!

Yesterday (16th), my best friend Rachael's daughter turned 1! can't believe how fast its gone and how much she's grown! I'm gutted I've missed so much of her first year, however she's in the molding stages now where she'll remember me! So I can have a big affect on the 2nd year as well as meeting my god daughter in August. It has gone scarily fast this last year, this time last year I went round to Rachaels to meet Isabella for the first time and say my goodbyes, and now I'm coming back next week!

That evening, me and Amy took a trip downtown to Wrigley Field to see Elton John and Billy Joel play the Face to Face tour concert. They came on together and sang a medley of hits, before going off and each artist coming on individually to do an hour set each. Elton came on and sang some great hits including Rocket Man and I feel fine! Billy Joel followed with hits such as 'Uptown girl' and whatever else he sings. Then they came back on together at the end to do a final few songs together, including Candle in the Wind and they finished off with Piano Man, a perfect fitting to the Piano men! Such a good finale song too, especially with a drink. Me and Amy teared up a bit realizing this was our finale and that this was a perfect last night together after an amazing year of friendship.

I'm now sat in my hotel room, packed and getting ready for my adventures tomorrow! So much to do still but I'll get through it. Meeting Patrik and Albert for a final meal together over at Weber Grill and then some more packing!

My last day was a busy one but I leave in confidence that they are on the way up and getting past these hard economic times, and that the staff will lead onto bigger and better careers having got through these hard times. I'm really looking forward to returning to Schaumburg in a few years time to see how the hotel and the area has changed. There is so much unused land and full of land to let or buy for businesses to open, it will be interesting to see if it is like a smaller chicago in 5 years time!

So this is the end of an era, I'm not unemployed and off for a packed summer of fun and little responsibility until September!

So goodbye Courtyard and the white lodging team across the cluster of Schaumburg!!!

Bring on Vegas and California!


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