Friday, October 9, 2015

Hello from Guangzhou!

I know it has been quite some time, but I finally managed to get my internet working on my computer and I am now subscribed to three different VPNs so I should definitely be able to access this website no matter how tough the Great Chinese Firewall is.

Here is a quick Q & A that I am having with myself trying to anticipate some of the questions you might have:

Hey, Theresa how is Guangzhou treating you:

Actually it is pretty awesome! Guangzhou is a great city so far and I have already settled in well. I have to say I prepared for the worst having seen some of the other mega cities in China, but I am pleasantly surprised. Now, that doesn’t mean that Guangzhou is not an insane mega city. It most definitely is. My commute is crazy, the buildings are huuuuuge and it takes a good minute to walk across a main road (which makes it at least six lanes wide). However, contrary to Shenzhen the city has a good vibe to it. People work extremely hard during the week (that’s including yours truly), but they relax on the weekends and go out for tea, dim sum, or drinking. It’s great!

So how is your work?

It is amazing! I get to basically do what I did in college: Research! Except this time it’s being applied in the real world and I might actually make some sales. I have long working hours and usually leave home by 7.20 and get home around 7. However, I honestly do not care. My job is great and I am excited to go to work in the morning. My coworkers are super nice and I think they like me. So that is great.
I feel like the company is actually caring about me despite the fact that I have only worked here for about a month. I get my own projects and in a week I fly to Shanghai to get training on a product I feel extremely passionate about. So all in all I would give these past few weeks a solid 9 out of 10

Have you made any friends outside of work?

I have! When I move across the world I generally try to talk to every person that seems interested to learn more about me. I have already befriended some great people on a pub crawl and became friends with the manager of a tiny Japanese restaurant, which I consider my go to restaurant no matter what. (Don’t worry I will most likely write about it soon). I have been already invited to dinner by a lot of people and have been able to meet people from all different kinds of backgrounds. For example: One chemical engineer from Mongolia who works for Exxon and one classical string musician working as a music teacher in a private school in China. The spectrum of people here is so big!

How is your stomach?

It’s pretty good, but I honestly have only been eating good food. I have two minor incidents, but I knew something was fishy as soon as I entered the restaurants. But now everything is okay. The food here is good and the quality is good as well. I have a kitchen and will soon start cooking hopefully. There is a foreign food store close to me and they sell all sorts of Western food.

What do you eat on a daily basis?

I make myself oatmeal in the morning before I leave for work. There is a starbucks on my way to work and I sometimes pick up a muffin and coffee, but I am more often than not trying not to.
For lunch I usually eat in my office building. They have a kitchen and serve pretty good food for very cheap. That includes a bowl of rice, green veggies and two dishes of your choice from a daily selection.
For dinner I usually go to some place around where I live with is Zhujiang New Town or the central business district. So there are a lot of options. I go to Yuki’s Japanese restaurant a lot for a bowl of ramen. All in all I am spending almost no money on food. My lunch costs usually around 2 dollars and dinner at Yukis place will cost me around 8 dollars. So …. Not that much at all.  

How is the dog meat?

Funny joke.

And how is your health in general?

Pretty good. I have sinus problems, but I think that is just the adjustment phase to this incredibly humid environment. The air is pretty good, so no reason to complain about that.

How is the weather?

Oh the weather…. Its great now. Around 28 degrees I would say. Mostly cloudy. (8 out of 10 days would be my estimate)

How is the commute?

Pretty intense but exhilarating! I am in the middle of a wave of Chinese people pressed into a metro for 40 minutes. It sounds like it sucks, but its pretty fascinating in its own way. I commute around two hours a day, but I have coworkers who are on the road for four hours (that’s public transportation) so again, I can’t complain.
Also I can get off at pretty good stops and I don’t ever need to set foot in the Line 3 subway which is a whole  other story. Where I get off and on the train there are a lot of people, but its all manageable. I learned quite quickly that the public transportation where I come form is NOT the norm. (I knew that before of course as well)

Sounds like the adjustments are going great!

It really is nice to have a good job with an amazing boss. China is never an easy country to adjust to, but I have to say I was expecting worse. I am not saying I was not overwhelmed. I definitely was contemplating my life decisions when I first got here, but now its all good. Guangzhou can most definitely be overwhelming when you look at the big picture, but what you find in the small streets is absolutely amazing.

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