And so it goes… My last day has finally arrived here at CAUPD Beijing! While I am excited to go off and see new parts of China (my itinerary includes stops in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong), I will be sad to say goodbye to my home away from home. From the start, my co-workers and supervisors were incredibly friendly and welcoming and their hospitality never ceased during the 8 weeks that I was here. As such, I will miss the little things that have made up my experience…
The walk to the office.
The walk to the office was always one of my favorite things about working at CAUPD. Upon leaving the hotel, I would almost always give and receive a friendly “Ni Hao!” from the woman who owns the convenience store located about 50 feet from our hotel front doors. Halfway to work, I would give and receive the same friendly greeting from the woman who owns the dumpling shop where we eat dinner frequently (and I mean frequently). Both women have been unfailingly patient as I practice what little Chinese I know, which is demonstrated by the fact that our interactions are exclusively composed of saying hello back and forth, but no matter…
Nap time around the office after lunch.
After eating lunch at the glamorous CAUPD cafeteria (I joke, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t too bad for a cafeteria), returning to my desk for some rest and relaxation was quite welcome. Granted, I have yet to master sleeping upright in a desk chair as my Chinese counterparts have, but I welcomed to chance to take some time to myself during the day. I think office culture in the U.S. could take some pointers from the Chinese!
It seems I may be one of the few interns who have experienced the joy and wonder that is fruit time, but I’ll be damned if I ever go one afternoon without taking a fruit break! Everyday between the hours of 3 and 4pm, I will inevitably hear the word “Xīguā!!!” being shouted from the common area of our floor. And inevitably, there will be an orderly exodus from the cubicles to the freshly cut watermelon. People, why don’t we do this in the U.S.?! I’m sure our collective waistlines would also appreciate a fresh piece of fruit for snack rather than the typical processed flour product that passes as a decent snack in the U.S.
OK, I shall step off my soapbox now…
Witnessing everyday life in Haidian
After work, life seems to just happen. I think that’s very true across the world over, but I have enjoyed walking around my neighborhood to see people go about their lives when not on the clock. During evening walks around the neighborhood, I bear witness to dance sessions (it looks like some sort of Waltz, but I have no clue what type of dance it is!), exercise time in parking lots, generations of families having dinner together–you name it! It’s everyday life that has fascinated me the most. One can see all the tourist destinations in the world, but without seeing what everyday life is like, it’s impossible to really experience of the local culture.
So as I prepare to depart Beijing, I will do so with a heavy heart. Two months may seem like a long time, but it doesn’t feel like enough at this point. I hope to keep in touch with all of the new friends that I have met, but I know distance can take its toll. Regardless, this has been a fabulous experience for me, and I still have more adventures to come!
CAUPD–it’s been real!