If you think charades is hard…

It’s a Sunday night and I’m writing this blog post as I prepare for another week of internship for Pico Exhibition Management. As I briefly mentioned last week, Pico is a total brand activation company. I work in the project department with a team of seven other people. Our main client is Audi, but more broadly, our department focuses on brand and product launch events. My supervisor’s name is Maria and she is one of the most welcoming people I have met. She is project manager for our team but also helps out as a translator as she speaks four languages including English, Chinese, German, and Uygar, her home tongue. Her schedule varies depending on what project they have. Right now, she is tying up loose ends with other projects but when she is on site, she is moving around making sure everything comes together for the event.  She is so open and friendly and helps me whenever I need it.

My tasks so far have been to find new creative teams and studios that do work for car shows. I am to research them, collect video examples, and find contact information in case a client is looking for these types of resources. Last Thursday I had a company retreat where we hiked up this large mountain side about an hour out of the city to a Buddhist temple and a magnificent view. This allowed me to bond with my team as we hilariously struggled to the peak. We played games with the rest of the company as well. If you think charades is challenging, try playing in Mandarin. I am looking forward to seeing my coworkers tomorrow but I have a feeling it is going to be a long week. We are still hoping to see a contract pushed through soon for an Audi project so I hope that works out.

I have been in Beijing for a little over three weeks now and its already starting to change me. Anyone who knows me understands that I am not a patient person. I am often impulsive and do not like when things don’t go my way at first. I like to plan my days and relatively stick to schedule. Simply put, China has taught me to roll with the punches. Nothing goes exactly how you planned it, but you must stay adaptable. The main fuel to this ambiguity is the language barrier. For instance, you never really know what you are ordering in a restaurant (especially when pictures aren’t provided) but I have never once had a bad meal. I often say “yi ge” and point to an item but I have found that this is the best way to discover great food in China. Also, it is very difficult to get a taxi on a Friday night in a city of 26 million people so sometimes when the taxi driver doesn’t want to take you all the way across town, you switch your destination. This weekend we ended up at an outdoor bar, Fez, that played calming house music complimented by a view of the Beijing skyline. Beijing is full of incredible surprises and it is opening my mind to so many new spontaneous adventures. I was lucky enough to visit the Olympic stadium today in another district of Beijing. It blows my mind how huge this one city is.

I am also happy to say I have figured out a simple way to and from work using the bus and subway. The ride is long but not crowded like the Central Business District lines, so I can’t complain. I am always able to find a seat to sip my coffee and admire the view as my train is also above ground. My weekly mandarin lessons are going well and I’m starting to speak more easily. We review topics that are useful like how to order in a restaurant. I hope we can review directions this week as the taxi drivers are hard to communicate with. I have downloaded Didi, the Chinese version of Uber where you can also call taxis (side note: Didi bought Uber earlier this month), but I should keep practicing my language skills.

I’m anxious for the weekend already to explore more of this incredible city, but here’s to a good week!

Lauren retreat

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