It’s hard to believe that we have been here a month. Visiting the cultural sites during the first week feels like another life. Moving to our condos seems like years ago. As this marks the halfway point in my journey, I am excited to see how much more growing I have left to do here.
At work I am in the middle of composing a large, complex spreadsheet that has a ton of data about private, international schools in the US. I met with my coworkers last week and discussed my initial research. They directed me where to work further and gave specific areas of research that they wanted. I hope to complete this spreadsheet soon and be assigned a bigger task. The supervising team seems to be working on a different aspect of this research, so I am confident that my findings and future work will be useful.
Our office stays quiet. Despite this, my relationship with my coworkers remains healthy. They introduce me to everyone that comes into our part of the office.We have lunch some days, and they have no hesitation asking my opinion on news in America. On the flip side, even though they can all speak English, if conversation does not include me, they speak in Chinese. This can be frustrating at times. Perhaps it is a part of the learning curve.
The most eye-opening thing I have learned from working in Beijing is the reality of a commute without a car. We are very privileged in America, as most of us have cars and can operate on our own time when we would like to go somewhere. In Beijing, this is not the case. I have to carve out an hour and 10 minutes to get to work. In Gainesville my commute would be a 20-minute drive—tops. About half of this is walking, and the other half is time spent on the subway. I usually take the same route, but sometimes I switch it up. What seems ironic about this, is that despite taking the same route home, it feels different every time. Different people, vendors, activities, etc. flood the streets every morning and afternoon. I never fail to be amazed by some of the sights here.
I am excited for the next half of our trip has to offer. We are all more than comfortable in the city, allowing us to explore without as many limits. Here’s to the next four weeks.