Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm long overdue for a photo entry, so here are some pictures from my adventures at the "Shenzhen International Garden and Flora Expo Park." (It's quite a name isn't it? It's another one of those instances where the Chinese doesn't translate that efficiently.)

It was actually quite the adventure because I ended up getting lost for the first. Usually I prepare for my outings: do some research, jot down some notes, and draw up a map. But not this time. I which subway stop to get off of, but that was about it. I just assumed it would be easy to figure out the directions but there weren't any signs. I ended up wandered the streets of Shenzhen until I figured it out. However, getting lost worked out for the best because I arrived at the perfect time. Yay for golden lighting and sunsets.

I have no idea what this building because I didn't really take any cutline;  I was just trying to explore as much of the park as possible before it got dark:

I ended up just walking around the place taking pictures of things that looked cool. This was some sort of geodesic dome structure:

And them I stumbled upon a group of kids playing on this half dome. Turns out that the dome was really a large map of Shenzhen and Hong Kong:

It's kind of ironic that I went to a garden/park and I didn't take any pictures of plants. This picture of sheet metal flower sculptures was the closest I got to an image of a real flower:

As I was walking up the main staircase, I came across these statues. These statues of children racing up the stairs were bolted down into staircase. How funny/cute!:

Finally, I ended the day with a hike to the pagoda. I actually had to run up the hill just to make it there before closing time. By the time I got there, the sun had already set. I ended up having to walk back down the hill in the dark:

And so the cycle continues...

This Monday, I have another presentation. Maybe this time, the tour won't get canceled. Oh, that reminds me! I never told you how last week's presentations went. Well, they all got cancelled. I guess when you're upper upper management, you can cancel at the last minute. Argh, all that preparation for naught :(

Anyway, I've been busy this week preparing for Monday's customer visit. It's an important one, but I'm not that worried. In high pressure situations like this, I remind myself that I've already given two of the biggest speeches of my life. If I can make it through those, then I can make it anything. For those of you who weren't there or don't remember, I'm referring to:

1) High School Graduation: As stressful as it was at the time, giving a speech at my high school graduation has one most valuable experiences of my life. Speaking in front of a huge crowd of classmates, friends, and family takes guts. And unlike most schools where the valedictorian is required to give a speech, I had to audition to speak. I don't know what possessed me to do it; it sound like the type of thing I'd be interested in. Maybe I just wanted to sit on the stage at graduation. Haha.

Looking back on it, I'm actually embarrassed by my speech. Last year, I saw a video of that speech for the first time. It all just sounded incredibly corny and cliche. There was this one line that sounded like: "I can't wait to be done with tests and finals!" What was I thinking? Did I forget that I was going to college that fall?

2) Scott's Funeral: I'm only 22 years old, but I can honestly say that giving a friend's eulogy will always be one of the most difficult things I've ever done. I think back on and it and I don't know how I summoned strength to do it. I never even properly prepared for the eulogy: it was never edited and I never asked for a second opinion. And I definitely never practiced giving it out loud.

The most poignant memories from that day were those moments right speaking. I remember sitting on that pew next to my friends with a pocket full of tissues and the eulogy in my hand. After being introduced, it was my turn to speak. With my heart racing, I made my way down the aisle to the podium. I was so nervous: I just looked straight ahead, wondering how many eyes were fixed on me. I walked past the coffin and turned to face the audience. And from there, I don't know what happened. I just started speaking. Never mind that I didn't really prepare; it all just flowed so naturally.

I didn't meant to get all serious there. I just wanted to make point that with these types of experiences under my belt, come Monday, I'll be good to go. I've got nothing to worry about.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Knock, knock.

Arrrgh. What the hell is that?

Knock, knock.

“我醒了。怎么了?” (I'm awake. What is it?)

I crawl out of bed and go open the door. My roommate is standing there looking at me.

“现在几点?” (What time is it?)

“7 o'clock.” (Note that the shuttle leaves at 7:15 A.M. and it's a good 7 minute walk away.)

Shit. You've got to be shitting me. I must have slept through my alarm this morning.

I quickly grab my cell phone and look at the time: 15:45 (i.e. 3:45 P.M.). I realize that I forgot to set the clock on my phone last night. Whenever the battery pops out, it resets the time and date.

I throw on some clothes, pack my bag, brush my teeth and head out the door. I'm looking like a hot mess because I didn't get a chance to shower. I'm combing down my mad scientist hair as we power walk to the shuttle stop. We made the shuttle but I go to work starving; there was no time to buy any steamed meat buns for breakfast.

Oh, how I hate that cell phone of mine. Maybe I should just buy a real alarm clock. After all, here in China, the price is definitely right.

(And seriously, speaking Mandarin was my first instinct after being woken up by that knock on the door. I guess that total immersion really is working after all.)