As I reflect over the 2017, I realize it was an extremely busy year. It was a year of a lot of firsts for me, particularly as it relates to building my two year old business This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM).
It was a year that allowed me to see how I brought dreams to fruition for others and just how much satisfaction I derived from playing a role in that. It was also a year where I faced some long-standing doubts and fears, and surprisingly I came out on the other side! I like to do yearly recaps mainly so that I can not only see what I’ve accomplished, but examine the misses and areas where I still need to grow, as well.
So for all that it brought, here is TIDFM’s 2017 recapped:
January — I, along with nine female relatives, took (what has become known as “The Cousins’ Trip”) a four day jaunt to Atlanta, Georgia. Our cousin and her husband treated us royally. The trip was made especially memorable because we traveled there during the time Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was being celebrated in his hometown. It was also magical to spend that time with family members. We took in the movie “Hidden Figures”, saw Roy Ayers perform at the City Winery, ate at some fabulous restaurants, laughed and talked, talked and laughed, and more importantly, we paid homage to Dr. King by visiting his grave site, along with that of his dedicated wife and comrade Coretta Scott King.
March — I was able to visit a close friend who lives in Berkeley, California. This was the first time that I spent my entire time in Berkeley versus spending time in Oakland or San Francisco. We saw an art exhibit at Berkeley Museum of Art, ate Bi Bim Bap at a Korean restaurant (ate there twice because I can never get enough of Bi Bim Bap), watched a myriad of movies at her home and toured the campus of The University of California, Berkeley. I have always wanted to see this campus, especially because of its history of protest, advocacy and of being a change agent.
A visit to the Bay area would not be complete without paying a visit to the outstanding restaurant Burma Superstar! That place! That place! They offer every imaginable way to please your palate; their coconut rice alone will have you begging for more, and the variety of Burmese food offered is amazing.
September — I finally got to travel to a city that I have been longing to visit for quite some time. This trip, like my excursion to Atlanta, allowed me to spend time with family — 3 cousins — who made my trip so special. Not only is Seattle a most gorgeous city, its food scene is amazing and as diverse as its residents. You want good ice cream? There is Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. You want really good Sushi? There is Trappers.
And I can’t forget my visit to the famed Pike’s Market, The Northwest African American Museum and the city’s Space Needle!
The University of Washington’s campus is picturesque, and situated on that campus are some of the most architecturally unique buildings I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, Seattle’s weather is my kind of weather. Although it was overcast on several days, the breezes and fresh air made the trip all the more enjoyable.
Also, Seattle gave me a chance to be mesmerized by The Chihuly Exhibit held on The Seattle Space Museum Caampus — what magnificent work!
October — Reykjavik, Iceland — Not a place I would have ever imagined myself visiting until I came across an incredible fare offered by Southwest Airlines, but AM I GLAD I DID! Naturally, once I really began to research Aurora Borealis (aka The Northern Lights), I was determined to witness this phenomenon first hand. On a cold Iceland evening, I got my chance. How awe-inspiring it was!
Who would have thought I would have paid to join an excursion to whale watch? I maintained the attitude that “as long as I am here, I might as well immerse myself in Icelandic culture.” It was cold and wet, but I felt like a trooper because I pushed myself to do something that I would never have done before. I saw not only whales, but but I saw humpback dolphins, and other unrecognizable water bound animals.
I shivered my butt off, but I enjoyed every minute.
I was also able to partake in a two hour Icelandic Beer Class where you not only tasted a variety of beers (that was a lot of fun), but I learned about what was going on historically in Iceland at the time those beers were crafted. Our class members were from Canada, Italy and Sweden.
Of course we took the obligatory city tour — Reykjavik’s Cultural Building was hosting a run of Tosca, along with some lesser known productions and exhibits.
We also saw the building (pictured below) where President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev held in 1986 made progress toward creating The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and The Soviet Union.
The highlight of the city tour was seeing the Lutheran Church Hallgrimskir, which is one of Iceland’s hallmark tourist attractions. Running a close second was bathing in the iconic Blue Lagoon.
November — The end of the year saw me revisit Sydney, Australia, but unlike my first visit in 2015 where I went Down Under solo, this time I escorted eight women aged 50+ to the land of Oz! It was a monumental trip because it was the first official excursion for This…I…Do…For…Me and it was the first time some of the ladies had ever left the United States. AUSTRALIA WAS EVERYTHING!
Our Sydney, Australia Itinerary Included: The Sydney Opera House Tour, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Cronulla Beach, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Seeing the Southern Cross at the Sydney Observatory, Sea Life Aquarium, Madam Tussaud, Watson’s Bay and Doyle’s Restaurant, Bondi Junction (for shopping) Day Trip to The Blue Mountains and numerous restaurants representing Thai, Greek, German, Italian and Mexican Cuisines.
OTHER 2017 THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME GROUP OUTINGS AND EVENTS
- We took a Greek Cooking Class at Sur La Table in Chicago;
- I and 12 TIDFM patrons participated in a Wine Tasting and Food Pairing led by Sommelier Brian Duncan at Eddie Vs on The Gold Coast;
- We attended The City Winery’s Sunday Concert Series; classical, jazz and choral music was the fare;
- We attended a Salute to Katherine Dunham at The Harold Washington Library;
- We attended both The Annual African American Film Festival and viewed a film monthly at The Gene Siskel Film Center;
- TIDFM sponsored its First Annual Book Swap and Dinner at Eddie Vs;
- We attended three theatrical productions — Hamilton, An American in Paris and The Bodyguard;
- TIDFM in conjunction with Chisiko offered a Women Warrior Masterpiece Art Class at Robust Coffee Shop;
- We attended The Chicago Cultural Center’s showing of the documentary “Still I Rise” featuring the life of phenomenal Activist, Writer and Renaissance Woman Maya Angelou;
- We attended a musical performance featuring drummer extraordinaire Terri Lyne Carrington and Liz Wright;
- We attended Dixon School’s Annual African American Cultural Festival;
- I attended “Black Girls Gather” in Chicago hosted by “For Harriett “Writer and Activist Kimberly Foster;
- I was invited to join The Shanghai Committee for The Chicago Sister Cities Program;
- I even learned how to play Mah Jong;
- Attended The Annual Good Food Conference;
- I threw my first Paella Party (see pics below)
I am excited about 2018, as TIDFM will be traveling to Greece in September! We will continue to experience the wonderful cultural scene that Chicago offers.
I will keep you posted on our other exciting events scheduled for throughout the year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY PROSPERITY ABOUND! #thisidoforme