10 Feb Our Chinese New Year Feast!
The internship program I am in happens to clash with Chinese New Year. This has meant I’ve been allowed many days off work. So I’ve actually only worked three full days so far at my law firm in Shanghai. However, I will describe to you all what appears to be a typical day in my internship.
In order to arrive at work by 9am I wake up at 7am, get ready, eat breakfast and ensure I am ready by 8am to meet my fellow intern Emma in the lobby of our hotel. We then walk together to the metro station and catch two metros, passing a total of only 5 stops on the way. Luckily enough for Emma and I, the station of our final stop is literally across the road from our office. The location of our office is fantastic; it is central, surrounded by a great shopping centre and food stores, and is close to our hotel. We usually arrive around 8:30am, due to the convenience and constant flow of the metros and the lack of walking we have to do. Better to be early than late anyway! So we waste half an hour in none other than our favourite ‘Paris Baguette’. In this time we eye off which of the new pastries we will be eating for lunch and chat about how tired we are. At 8:50 we take the lift to level 12 and set up our desks so we are ready to work by 9am on the dot. The office is quite spacious, with each of us having our own desk separated by dividers and comfy desk chairs. Just down the corridor are meeting rooms and the bosses offices.
We were given two tasks on the first day of work, which were to be completed by the end of the third day. The first task included researching six American Universities, entering information about them into an excel spreadsheet and comparing the options. The second task involved researching ‘EB-5 Projects’ and writing a summary of the research. These tasks took about a day and a half to complete to the best of our efforts. This work is then sent to Jessie, our mentor and a partner of the firm, via email. On the third day we met with Jessie who read our work, gave us very positive feedback and small suggestions on how to improve it. Jessie then made Emma and I collaborate by joining our written summaries of EB-5 Projects together. The last task delegated to us before going on holidays for Chinese New Year was to read three business plans of potential EB-5 Projects and take notes. This task will definitely keep us busy, as there is a HELL OF A LOT of reading.
Every work day from 12pm until 1:30pm we have a lunch break. This is ALWAYS spent at Paris Baguette ordering a savoury pastry, dessert and a hot chocolate for a maximum of 35 Yuan (approximately $7AUD). I literally get so happy when I know it’s time for my lunch break because there is different food every day there, and food is my favourite thing in the world. An example of a different type of food supplied by Paris Baguette includes the ‘sausage donut’ Emma tried, which was apparently delicious and cost under $2 AUD.
On our third lunch break we also explored the shopping centre behind our office. There were many trendy clothing stores, delicious food stalls and SALES! We will definitely be visiting that place again!
We have been told we are allowed to leave work anytime between 4 and 5pm. The first day we left at 6pm, the second we left at 5:30 and the third day we left at 5pm. Emma and I feel it is more respectful if we stay until 5pm. At the end of the first day Emma and I gave Jessie a present from each of us, along with our business cards, as it is a sign of respect to give your boss a present on your first day. Jessie truly deserves the gift as she is such a lovely, wise and helpful boss. After work we walk across the road to the metro station, catch the same metros and can be home by 5:45pm. We are not required to complete any work at home – thank goodness because I hate homework with a passion.
Another exciting thing that has happened, as a part of work, was the fact Emma and I were invited to Jessie’s Aunty’s house for a traditional Chinese New Year meal on the Friday night at 5pm. So we caught the metro for a 30-minute ride (the longest time we had been on a metro for) along with the Australian bottle of wine we would present to Jessie’s Aunty. Jessie met us at the station and walked us to the house. When we arrived we were the first ones there, and greeted the eldest person (Jessie’s Aunty) first. She made us remove our shoes and put on a pair of slippers, as well as remove our coats, which they hung on a portable clothes rack they put in the living room just for us. They were absolutely lovely people, although we could not understand a word they were saying. At first we were asked to sit down and eat all the snacks they had prepared by the fireplace (which was gorgeous). They offered us tea and coffee as we stuffed our faces with mandarins, strawberries, Hershey’s chocolate, dried fruits, nuts and candies. We soon found out there were only two other guests coming, Omar who is another intern from America, and his girlfriend Latoya.
Once they arrived we sat at the dining table and began eating our meal….or more accurately described as our FEAST! There were dishes every where including pork, jellyfish, chicken liver, tofu, brown boiled eggs, a whole fish, cucumber, noodle soup, potato salad, dumplings, omelette and spring rolls. We also had Chinese wine and soft drinks. And I thought Italian family meals were bad! I tried everything and it was all delicious. However I was so full after trying only three dishes that I had to wait for my stomach to digest before continuing to eat. The five of us (Jessie, Emma, Omar, Latoya and I) sat at the dinner table for a solid two hours trying to complete the dishes. The picture of the meals in this blog is just left overs – that is how much food there was! It was ridiculous! And Jessie’s Aunt and Uncle did not even join us to eat, they cooked the whole time. Jessie actually told them to stop bringing out dishes – yes that’s right, they had more.
We had a great time laughing, chatting and discussing places to visit in Shanghai. I can’t wait to spend more time with Emma, Omar and Jessie at work, as they are all lovely people.
At the end of the meal my knees were cramped from sitting down for too long and as we were trying to leave Jessie’s Aunty and Uncle were forcing us to take home the snacks they gave us at the beginning. So I left for the cab with a bag full of Mandarins and Hersheys – not complaining.
So my internship experience thus far has been so great- full of work, food and fun! I am yet to speak to many of my work colleagues, however the ones I have spoken to thus far have been very helpful and kind people. Can’t wait to properly get into work after the holiday ends!
Anyway that’s all for now folks! Catch up wit ya later!