This past weekend was the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie) and so I had a 3 day weekend which was great. I was able to meet up with several of my Chinese friends. On Saturday, I met up with my old language partner from when I studied in Shanghai. She along with several of her classmates planned to go to Qibao, which is a traditional water town, and I was invited to go along. We were going to watch a shadow puppet show and just wander the streets since they have a lot of great food there. I had actually been to Qibao two times in the past, but had not yet seen a shadow puppet show so I figured it could be cool to check out. Unfortunately, when we finally arrived (it was around 25 stops away on the subway for me) it turned out that the shadow puppet show doesn't play on Saturdays. We spent the rest of the day walking around streets, went to karaoke at KTV (which is probably one of China's most popular places for entertainment) and finally ate dinner together. All in all, I spent around 10 hours with a bunch of Chinese people speaking only Chinese since my language partner is the only one who can really speak English. The others can understand some and read and write but speaking is incredibly difficult for them. Its really something that China should consider implementing into their education system since spoken English ends up being most useful for business situations. Regardless, by the end of the day I was more than exhausted. Speaking a foreign language all day is incredibly tiring when you aren't used to it.
The number of interns here has been increasing every week and there is talk of there being a total of 40 sometime in July. I would guess there are around 20 here now although I regularly only see around 10 of them. Last week Wednesday though, we were invited to eat dinner with the other interns and were instructed to invite our "closest" friend at Wison. I would have to say that my closest friends are other interns but obviously they were hoping we would bring Chinese coworkers along. It resulted in an interesting time. Since I have been to similar functions before, I knew that it would likely be a very fun although often awkward get-together and that's essentially exactly what it was. They had asked people from each country to prepare presentations about their country's holidays and in turn, several Chinese people introduced the major Chinese holidays. Unfortunately, there were a lot of Chinese who were incredibly eager to practice their English and so when people were giving presentations, the Chinese would often ask the intern sitting near them questions completely unrelated to the material being presented. Regardless, I learned a lot about other country's cultures and one of the Swedish interns actually taught everybody a traditional children's song about frogs that they apparently sing while dancing around a maypole. The motions that go along with it were quite humorous and I imagine seeing a huge group of slightly drunk Swedish adults singing and acting out the part would be quite a sight to behold. I was able to practice quite a bit of Chinese though with several of the Chinese who were less comfortable with speaking English and I actually discovered that one of the women I met sits in the same department as me. The next day when I saw where her desk was, I realized that she was the same woman my fellow intern and I had asked where the bathroom was on our first day. What a coincidence!