In honor of the Chinese New Year (02-10-13), today’s Photo Friday Flashback takes us to 2007 – the year I lived in China.
After graduating with my Bachelor’s in December 2006, I accepted a position as a management trainee at a brand spankin’ new InterContinental hotel in Shenzhen, China. Three of my classmates from Oklahoma State’s Hotel & Restaurant Administration program made the flight east (although technically we flew from California, so I guess it was west?) with me in January 2007. A double helping of culture shock followed.
This particular photo was taken at Splendid China, a theme park in OCT (Overseas Chinese Town), the “neighborhood” in which I lived and worked. Located in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, it has several hotels and theme parks, many residences, businesses, restaurants, etc. and is owned and operated by the Shenzhen OCT Holding Group.
This was one of our first full days in Shenzhen and I remember walking around Splendid China, taking in the theme of history, culture, ancient architecture, art. The other Amy and I did somersaults down a grassy hill, and the four of us donned plastic bags to ride a water ride in the park. We saw a replica of the Great Wall and watched the reenactment of a battle with men in ancient gear astride horses in a large arena. It was the first time (or close to it) that we had been in China without the aid of a fluent Chinese speaker, so we stumbled our way through the language barrier.
Perhaps the most significant part of the day, in hindsight, was simply spending time with Amy, Todd, and JT. We were acquaintances thrown together for an undetermined amount of time on the other side of the world. Little did I know, wandering around Splendid China that day, that I would develop lasting friendships (of varying degrees) with each of them.