Saturday, July 5, 2008

Is there a 4th of July in China? Of course! It's right before the 5th of July and right after the 3rd of July. Chinese calendars would look pretty weird without the July 4th.

Anyway, jokes aside, the 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Come on, BBQs, great sales and a three-day weekend. Plus with my birthday the next day it's like celebrating early! And let's not forget about the fireworks. Who doesn't enjoy fireworks?

The only thing I love more than watching fireworks in setting off fireworks. I think it excites the inner 8 year old pyromaniac in me. Luckily I have yet to blow off any fingers or singe off any eyebrows (knock on wood). My family always gets some "illegal" fireworks and we have our own private show in the back yard.

The one time I actually went out to watch a fireworks show, I ended up getting lost and not even going. It was one of those traumatizing nights where nothing goes your way. I ended up getting there late and with a dead cell phone I wasn't able to find any of my friends. I ended up watching the show by myself. STRIKE ONE. Without my cell phone I couldn't even meet up with my friends after the show. But even more importantly, I couldn't call my parents to get picked up! And that was STRIKE TWO. I got lost and ended up walking aimlessly through Culver City for hours. I was young, miserable, and crying. In the end I made a collect call home and got picked up around midnight. Struckout. Happy birthday to me.

It's really a rather funny story looking back on it. Thankfully, I know that my 4th of July/birthday couldn't get any worse than that.

My schedule before I leave for China?
July 4-6: Camping
July 7-10: Training and Orientation
July 10th: I fly to China

I'll be back on Sunday with some fireworks pictures :p

Friday, July 4, 2008

In addition to being my favorite Chinese phrase, "I don't know" also describes my current mood right now...

Yesterday, I got a surprise call from my company contact. She was basically checking up on me and how my Chinese was going because they had finally placed me. She needed to give my future manager a heads up on the status of my Mandarin (or lack there of). It went so terribly! I couldn't understand anything she said and it put me in this nervous mood all day. I was so embarassed and scared I was going to lose this job. I actually went home and powered through like 4 or 5 lessons after that. She was really nice about it though and even suggested some Chinese dramas I should watch :)

What got my feathers ruffled even more was that I just had a phone interview today with my future manager. All day I had been dreading this talk. I was worrying about if he was going to try to speak to me in Chinese and what kinds of questions he would ask about my background. I treat this like a REAL interview and did all the preparations: reviewing my coursework, doing research on the department, coming up with mock answers, etc while repeatedly blaring "Eye of the Tiger." Boy did I feel stupid.

In the end I whipped myself into a frenzy for no reason. Basically the guy just wanted to talk with me about his department and wanted to get a feel for my interests and background. He works in optical electronics, i.e. projectors, cameras, optical devices, etc, but specifically with lenses. (I know, Alan + cameras = happy. I think I almost creamed my pants when I heard that.) Anyway the guy was very excited to talk with me. He even said he would arrange for me to come out and meet face to face and visit the place when I'm in China.

The down side? Well that brings me to the title of this entry. I have no idea what I'm doing at all (and I didn't know that much to begin with). At first I thought I was doing sales engineering, but this sounds more like R&D work. The guy didn't even know I was coming out to China next week! I need structure in my life and all this flexibility is a bit much for me. All I can hope for is that everything works. Otherwise I might be back home sooner than I expected :p

Monday, June 30, 2008

Is time relative? When I was a kid, my parents used to tell me, "Enjoy these times, because when you get older time starts moving faster." I just couldn't wait till my birthday came. In fact I used to countdown the weeks and days to my birthday. Hey, I was a nerd who used to enjoy counting and liked presents.

I guess somewhere along the way I just stopped counting. I didn't even realize that my birthday is this weekend until today. Part of me is sad about that; it means I can actually tell I'm getting older. That means I feel older.

My plans for this weekend? I'm going camping with my family. Yay for campfires, hiking, and mosquito bites!