Rebecca is graduated! After four years of hard work, intense studying, a series of board examinations, and externships in various corners of the country, Rebecca has completed her final phase of schooling.
Her graduation from the Illinois College of Optometry brought us back to our old home town. While we only spent a short time of our lives in Chicago, we came to love and treasure the city. So we were excited to come back.
We both have friends and connections to the city, but the short trip, focused as it was on Rebecca and her graduation, prevented us from making many plans to see friends (my apologies friends!). Still, we did stay at the Disciples Divinity House, which enabled us to share in a few brief conversations with some familiar faces.
The city was a little disappointing. A foggy cloud-thing (I know, my powers of description are overwhelming) sat on the lake all weekend, removing any view of the water or the watery horizon I remember so fondly (and longed to view again). The dense cloud/fog also hampered our view of the city when we went out on a dinner boat cruise. To our surprise, Rebecca’s tuition included costs associated with this graduation cruise, so we were able to celebrate in style, even though we missed out on that much desired view of the sparkling cityscape from the waters of Lake Michigan.
Rebecca came ready to dance. The boat cruise included a dj and some dance tunes, and Rebecca, dance-tastic as she is, brought along comfortable shoes to enjoy the music and the rhythm.
The fog did make for a rather cinematic experience on our boat cruise. I was peering out one of the windows, lamenting the wall of cloud that blocked the view of the lake and the city, when a shadowy vessel floated by. I could make out the outline of a much older boat populated with the outlines of pirates. Yes, even that famed Hook character stood alert at the bow. I felt like I was in Pirate’s of the Caribbean… though it turns out there is a pirate-themed boat that attracts the tourists at Navy Pier. It was passing by on its way back to the pier.
Rebecca’s family joined us the next day and we were surprised to see her brother emerge from the Hampu van. We expected to see Rebecca’s parents, sister, brother-in-law, and our two nephews, but we had no idea that Daniel, her brother, made arrangements to come as well! My parents made their way up from Louisville that evening and we all enjoyed a dinner at Ed Debevic’s. This special restaurant is a 50’s diner throw-back where the servers treat you with as little patience and courtesy as possible, on purpose! Our waiter called Rebecca’s dad “gramps” the whole night and ordered him to speak up because he wasn’t speaking loud enough. When I tried to make a joke to join in on the phone and whatnot, she turned to the table and said “Everyone thinks they’re funny in here for some reason…”
The next day we gathered in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. It was very meaningful that Rebecca and I were both able to graduate from the same building, even though ICO shares no formal or official ties to the University of Chicago (they just rent out the beautiful space).
We all squeezed into the chapel to witness the ceremonial hooding of all the doctors. Rebecca looked great in her preacher-like, academic gown and fancy beret.
She was hooded in green and received her degree–we were all very proud of her. Rebecca displayed what I would like to term “professional spunk” in her recessional–always professional, never dull she is.
After a few photos and many words of congratulations, we shared lunch at a Carribean-style restaurant in Hyde Park and then said our goodbyes. We love Chicago and our rich memories carried us away happy to close that chapter of our lives with degrees in hand.