Its hard to believe it but I'm already on week 4 of the internship which means I'm halfway done. Time is going way too fast! Anyway, things have been going well so far, although the number of interns here keeps growing and growing. I would bet there are around 30 right now and more are still coming. My desk is rather centrally located though and since I'm in HR, Eleven often brings the new interns to me and introduces them, and then leaves them here until they find a place for them. This means that my fellow intern, Eli, and I get to explain how the basic things work at the office, like where we can get water/coffee and where lunch is. Anyway, my tasks here have really been rather random as I have done things in several different departments and Eleven for some reason or another, asked us to email him what we do here. This actually will probably be useful when I need to think of points to put on my resume and it also was nice to see all the different things I have done.
While the job is going well, there are definitely some things that baffle me in China such as a poor internet connection at our office. Nothing like seeing this when trying to do work: You are seeing the basic version because we think your Internet connection is slow - Switch to standard version. I really don't understand. Additionally, it seems like some people are working ridiculous hours while others do virtually nothing. I come at 9 and leave at 5:40 every day but there are always people who are here when I get here and are still here when I leave. There are a few workers though who often come by and talk to us since they are curious about where we are from and often want to practice their English. These ones often say they do not have that much to do, although they are often the newer workers.
Because of the intern dinner from a few weeks ago, I met a few other Chinese coworkers and they invited me and any other interns who had time to go to KTV (Chinese karaoke place) over the weekend. I was the only intern that went but it was a lot of fun and also nice to get to know some of the Chinese coworkers. After singing, we went to Yuyuan Garden, which is a popular tourist spot, and ate dinner at a restaurant that is based on the "wuxia" Chinese genre. "Wuxia" refers to martial arts and so the waiters and waitresses were wearing the proper dress and the decoration inside looked like it was from a martial arts film. The food was pretty good as well although it was mostly meat.
My 21st birthday was also during the previous week but since it fell on a Thursday night, it was not really a good time to celebrate the way most 21st birthdays go in the US. Instead, many of the interns and I went out to dinner at a restaurant called Element Fresh. It has completely Western cuisine and just like the name implies, the food is generally quite fresh. The only other exciting part from this week would be going to the Bund with many of the interns. The Bund and the Oriental Pearl Tower are probably the most well-known icons for Shanghai and lie on opposite sides of the Huangpu River. It's best to go at night since the lights look spectacular, although admittedly the ugly brown color of the polluted Huangpu is covered by darkness. While we were there though, we attracted a lot of attention. Even though there were plenty of other foreigners, no other groups consisted of 10 people of many different races being loud. When we stopped to take a picture as a group, there were several passing Chinese who felt it was appropriate to snap photos as well. It's quite common for the Scandinavian girls to be pulled aside by random Chinese girls and be asked to take a picture. While there though, we also had another surprise. I spotted a boat with the characters "惠生号“ on its side. The first two are the Chinese name for the company, while the last one usually means number but apparently also is used as a suffix for names of boats. The back of the boat said "Wison" on it as well and we tried to take pictures of it but it was moving too fast.