So today is another birthday blog. Happy Birthday Bonnie Chung!
Bonnie is one of my former Busey Bank co-workers and a dear friend. She was my Kendra and Allison, before Lindsey. The boys have always outnumbered the girls in Busey's Credit Analysis Department, so the "Ladies of Credit Analysis" (as fomer co-worker Don Dahl used to call us) typically have a tendency to bond. Bonnie was my first female co-worker at Busey and she set the bar high as far as "work girlfriends" go. I have been truly blessed that the bar continues to be high... I work/have worked with some incredible women.
Bonnie is a native of Hong Kong, and recently moved back there with her husband, Conrad, and their 2-year old son, Ian. Bonnie lived primarily in the U.S. for about 18 years, attending college at Illinois State University, and then returning to the U.S. to work at Busey while Conrad completed his PhD at UIUC. They later moved to Boston and both worked out there for a number of years before recently moving to Hong Kong. Bonnie also worked with me at the Hall, I hooked her up with an ushering job. I have had some awesome co-workers over the years but Bonnie is one of the few that I actually enjoyed working with for potentially 12-16 hours a day, following each other from one job to the next.
Bonnie was just lots of fun to hang out with at work. She was an early luncher, I was a later luncher, so often when she retured from lunch we would have "girl talk" when most of the rest of the office was at lunch. I do remember that both Eric, and then later, Don were also early lunchers to they were privy to these conversations. Eric just buried his head in his work and ignored us. Don actually would sometimes participate, or just quietly glean info knowing this "woman's insight" could one day come in handy. He later told me that he was able to bond with his dad's girlfriend/now step-mom because he actually new what Longenberger baskets were, and when he ended up at a church-function where he was the only guy, he could intelligently contribute to the conversation on "Clinique Bonus Time".
While she was here in C-U and especially while working at the Hall I am proud to say that I mangaged to turn Bonnie into one of the most rabid Illini basketball fans. She held a particular fondness for Robert Arhibald. So much so that when she and Conrad relocated to Boston she dragged him to a Celtics game so that she would watch Robert sit on the bench when he played for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bonnie and I had absolutely nothing in common when it came to our backgrounds, but we truly learned to appreciate our differences. I really enjoyed learning about that Chinese culture from her, and she was my Chinese buffet lunch buddy for four years. I loved that two of her favorite Chines dishes were crab rangoon and General chicken, as she told me they were not readily available on Hong Kong as they were essentially created by Chinese-Americans here in the States and were not traditional Chinese cooking. I was amazed at how much American culture Bonnie was exposed to in Hong Kong. I vividly remember bonding one day at work over our love of the 70's tv show "Six Million Dollar Man"... both doing the "na, na, na bionic run at our desk". I also loved that Bonnies loved C-U... it was nothing like Hong Kong but she completely embraced this community. We always laughed because the greater C-U area has approximately the same 15 square mile area as Hong Kong... but Hong Kong had over 6 million people living there compared ot C-U's 100,000+. She said that she just loved having so much space here.
I miss Bonnie. She just always managed to make me laugh. Some day I may try to get to Hong Kong to visit her. Anyway, Happy Birthday Bonnie Chung!
Editor's Note: This pic is one of my favs. Nikki, Bonnie, Karen and I are all sporting our Big 10 champs t-shirts, same as Robert Archibald and Lucas Johnson, pictured with us holding the trophy.