Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Into the Groove

I've had a couple of really nice days at work.

This has been kind of a nutty week when it comes to work. Most weeks I do my usual 9-5 at the Shanghai office, go back to my place for dinner and then get on the phone around 9PM and have one or two hours worth of conference calls. This week I had an early call on Monday (meant I needed to skip Pub Quiz again) and a bunch of calls Tuesday... and Thursday (caught a break on Wednesday). And, maybe tonight will also turn into that.

Yesterday there was a bit of a group lunch where about a half dozen of us went over to the Element Fresh right near my apartment complex. I had gone to EF once before and enjoyed it. I tried going back a few other times but, for whatever reason, it was closed during the day. It's a decent enough place and they have some carrot cake with ginger ice cream on the menu that I've been wanting to try...

Anyway, I got sat across from a co-worker from our Singapore office, Aparajita. We talked a bit about Singapore and I found out that she used to live in India. "Oh! There's a really good Indian place just up the block from here. You should come over tonight and we can have dinner!" I told her. And, surprisingly, she agreed. We met up around 6PM last night and split some dishes at Bollywood. I was in high suspense whether she'd like the food or not but, fortunately, she seemed to really enjoy. She was having trouble finding vegetarian dishes here in Shanghai where sprinkling just about anything with pork is not unheard of.

This morning I hung out in the lobby at work, using the free WiFi from Starbucks (which doesn't have nearly as many hoops as the US WiFi -- again, you put in your phone number, confirm that it's legit, and off you go. I waited for my Shanghai co-worker Eileen to come over and take me to the TSC (Technical Service Center) where we met about the "Kung Fu Masters" section of the site.

I would think that that name is terribly offensive as a China replacement for our "Garage Gurus" program but apparently it's not. I blanched the first time I heard it like, "Is that the only thing you know about China is Kung Fu?" Glad that's not the case.

Eileen doesn't know English very well but she knows a lot more English than I know Mandarin. She kept apologizing for not knowing certain words or terms. She had even go so far as to buy a translation machine in order to help facilitate communication. I spoke to her very slowly and clearly, trying to avoid slang and turns of phrase as much as possible. "I am speaking to you slowly but I know you are not stupid. Please do not be offended if I sound like I am speaking to you that way."

Swag from the TSC -- a "Kung Fu Masters" flash drive (now stocked with photos for the upcoming website):

Eileen ended up being the co-worker that I had hoped to meet a few months ago. She was thrilled when I told her that I would help her with her English if she helped me with my Mandarin. She and family live just a few kilometers away from my apartment and she asked if we could all go out this weekend so they could show me the sights. I deferred for this weekend. I plan on just holing up and editing again so I can get a few weeks break from it during the last bit that I'm here. I also plan on seeing a few movies.

Picture from my ride home Friday:

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