Written in early November 2007.
One fun thing about being a foreigner is when people try to guess where you are from. For myself, I’ve heard England, Australia, Canada, France…. The presumption that I hear the most, however, is Russia. Apparently, I look Russian.
Once I begin to speak, most people quickly deduce that I am an American. Then they try to figure out what region of the US I’m from based on my accent. The general consensus is that I sound East Coast, which is completely not accurate….
There are a great number of foreigners who stay on the executive club floor, which is where I am currently working. Many are frequent guests and I’ve developed a friendly rapport with them. It’s pretty easy to make friends when you remember that someone drinks cappuccinos and likes poached eggs with wheat toast, for instance.
After 10 months here, I have managed to integrate myself into the Shenzhen community a bit. I am a member of a gym that is very near my apartment building. The equipment is not state of the art and I have serious doubts that there is a functioning air conditioner, but it’s clean and certainly better than running outside, which is what I was doing. I’ve even attended a few of the yoga classes that are offered. Naturally, they are conducted solely in Chinese, so I’m a few beats behind everyone at all times.
Also, desperate for something to read, I obtained a “reader’s card” from the Shenzhen Public Library. Their foreign book collection is a bit sparse, and you have to put down a 200 yuan (about 25 USD) deposit to check them out. They have quite a few classics so I figured this is as good a time as any to get caught up on my Bronte, Hemingway, and Austin.
Many of you have asked when I’m coming home and what my plans are for post-China. The answers are, respectively, I don’t know and I don’t know. My contract ends in January and I plan to go home (fly out on January 3, local time—home for my birthday on the 4th!!) for a few weeks at that point. I could possibly stay here in Shenzhen, based on a recent conversation that I had with the Quality and Training director regarding some of the opportunities that she can provide. I may try to transfer to another IHG property (in the States or another country…who knows?). I’ve also began pursuing a few career path leads outside of hotels.
I am beyond excited that Dale and Mom have consented to Lisa coming to visit me for about a week in December before I leave. Someone to help me lug home all the stuff I’ve bought! And I’m so excited to see her and show her around my Shenzhen life.
Thanksgiving in Shanghai
Beach Trip with Friends
Lisa’s Visit to Hong Kong
Last Week in Shenzhen
I loved my time in China and the memories I have of that year are some of my favorite memories. After my time in China, I began a temporary job at a company. Temporary turned into permanent and I was there for six years. When I left China, I’d had every intention of going back to Asia to live in another country – South Korea was on my mind at the time – but, as it so often does, life happened. And I’m so glad it did because it got to me where I am today.