Wednesday, June 1, 2011

final presentation

Thiago and I, we had our last presentations on Tuesday this week - we chose this early date for the last presentation as there were rumours that there would be a big group presentation on Thursday this week and of course we needed to consolidate all material we provided at the end of the assignment.

Unfortunately I got ill Monday night, so I knew it would be a tough day. It really was not easy to present with fever and a running nose, but I put all my heart in preparing my presentation of some sales trainings so I really wanted to present the material to them. As expected, all the sales employees of Galaxy came to listen to the presentation and the little conference room at Systop headquarters was packed with nearly 30 people. I will add some pictures for you to get an impression - it was great to see their real interest. When I was looking in their faces while I was speaking, I saw that they were all listening closely and when I gave examples I saw nodding and smiling and "yes, I know this situation"-muttering.

Let me leave you with some pictures, then I will return to my bed to recuperate from this silly cold. My colleagues were looking after me in a really heart-warming way - I could not have got any better care, thank you, you are truly sweet!

more and more seats were carried in our little meeting room.. I was looking at Thiago - take a deep breath..

no space left in this small room

everybody busily taking notes

I was touched by the real interest

the sales and marketing crew of Galaxy Talent after the presentation

less people at Thiago's "website development" presentation - less in number, but certainly not less interested

all carefully listening to Thiago's suggestions

it is rewarding to see these faces - it was worth to work that hard

the software development and operation center people after the presentation

Tonghong alias "Vivian" and myself (I am the one with the red nose...)

Wuzhibin proudly posing with "King Handsome"

- Sue

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photos of Xian

Dragon Spring

Xian City Wall

Xian City Wall (sky scrappers only allowed outside of the city wall)

Drum Tower

Bell Tower Show

Shaanxi Opera

Tang Dynasty Dance

Shaanxi Opera

Tang Dynasty Dance w/ Shaanxi Opera

Terracotta Warrior Excavation Site

Terracotta Warriors - it looks like models, but they're real life sized warriors

Terracotta Warriors - see the horse and warriors partially excavated

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Shaolin Temple

This past weekend we visited the Shaolin Temple and Xian. The idea started when we went to the Great Wall. Our driver’s cell phone ring tone was the theme song was Kung Fu Panda. Ever since, we have had the desire to visit the origin of kung fu and Buddhism, Shaolin Temple. The first thing we did was see a kung fu exhibition. Here’s a photo below of the exercises that small children do. I do not think I could do this even when I was young and flexible. They also showed weapons and the different kung fu styles. I loved how a lot of the styles were based on animals: monkey, crane, eagle, tiger, even frog, but unfortunately not the panda. I could not catch any of the actions through photos since they were moving so fast. There were a lot of schools around the temple, and we saw students practicing...young children with weapons. If I could describe shaolin kung fu in one word, it would be "impressive."

Our tour guide told us a great story. To summarize, there was a Chinese general, Shen Guang, who wanted to be the disciple of an Indian monk named, Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma said that if he would teach Shen Guang if he could see red snow. Shen Guang cut his arm off and his blood created the red snow. As remembrance, monks wear sometimes have only one sleeve and use one hand to pray. Actually in Shaolin Temple you can see the place for this story and the cave where Bodhidharma meditated for so long that his shadow is marked on the stone. However I heard it is a bit of a hike up and we did not have time to see it. But here's a mural on the wall of the shaolin kung fu exhibition hall.

Another interesting point of the Shaolin Temple was the pagoda forest. These pagodas are memorials for deceased monks. As you can see the grounds for the temple is really beautiful. I think if I come back to China I would definitely try to spend more time at Shaolin Temple.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

weekend activities

Hi everybody!

After my first (!) visit to the park nearby (you can find some pictures of the park experience in my German blog :-)) and a more or less unsuccessful shopping attempt on a very hot, humid Saturday, I decided - in spite of many warnings of apprehensive team members - to watch a "Peking Opera", in order to get some more local experience. :-)
Luckily Emily (our local student translator) went there with me, and she persuaded the persons at the door to let us in before the official opening time and to meet the actors in their dressing room. I was a little timid about that (then, at last, I realized that I would never be a good paparazzo..), but we finally entered the dressing room and made pictures of the room itself, the costumes, the stage props and of course the actors.

I met the main actress - woohoo!!

the second but one actress getting ready for the show

will book make up lessons with these guys

Emily in one of the costumes

having an important role in the opera orchestra

Emily sitting on the stage probs (it's the rich girl's seat in the story...) before the show

Since the show was fully booked, unfortunately we could not sit near to the stage, so my pictures are not the best (no, I do not have a fancy camera) - I also made some films, but I can only upload the shortest here (given the current bandwidth..) to give you a small impression of the spectacle. Actually there were nicer parts, honestly!

the show can begin..

the female voices are... let me put it this way: sort of an acquired taste

It was a 150 minutes show (no break!!!) and for sure a very unusal experience. The costumes were bright, the songs were not that bad after all, the music was interesting and passionately performed - the female speaking parts were really horrible, though. They have a very, very strange way of speaking and sometimes it was not that easy to bear (let's call it "sound intense").
I am happy that I had the chance to be there. I was for sure the only foreigner in the whole opera building, so I gained a nice insight into true Chinese culture.

Actually, they treat this event in a very different way than opera is "consumed" in Europe: they bring their children, walk around, no cell phones on mute,...

Obviously not many people dress up to go to the opera. I saw men in shabby jeans and "wifebeaters", you really need to get used to that sight!

So this was my Saturday...

On Sunday Thiago and I followed the invitation of the marketing lady of Ambow Training Center to have lunch at her home. We asked Lucy to come with us to translate the conversation and so it was a very nice lunch that lasted for more than 4 hours (lots of food, as always in China). Mrs. Wu and her husband were completely stunned by Thiago and his beauty (she was the one who gave him the name "King Handsome"...  do I have to add something?) and it was extremely funny to watch them being so honoured to have such a unusually good-looking guest.
Here are some pictures for you:

lots of ingredients for a Chinese lunch

table with half of the food that was offered

our hosts (both wanting to stand near to Thiago)

proud Mr.Wu

myself with the very nice marketing lady

So this was my weekend full of local experience in Shijiazhuang. I really liked it a lot.

Talk to you soon...  - Sue

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday presentation

To give a complete overview on our presentations, I should not forget to mention the Thursday session; Thiago's presentations on Web Security and Team Solution Design to the Software Development Company of Systop as well as to the Operating Center of Galaxy Talent (Job Center). In the morning Thiago had a bad headache again, so he took two pills to survive which made the headache go away, but which made him a little slowed down as well. I was afraid that he might fall asleep during his own presentation! On top of all, the air in the small room where the presentation took place was very limited, so I was even more afraid, that I could fall asleep as well...
In the end Thiago did very well of course and got nice feedback regarding the useful information he provided.
a small room, lacking oxygene

6 of the 10 people who carefully listened to Thiago

Now it is Friday, and I am sitting in the IBM office again, to work on my sales workshop material for next Tuesday... I am getting a bit nervous, as there is still one third missing, but I really want to provide them a useful, practical overview which helps them to improve. This is not that easy, and I feel like being back at university working on my thesis, putting together lots of information, copying stuff, deleting it again (too complicated and theoretical...) and looking for pictures in the web that can speak for themselves to emphasize my messages - in order to be less dependent on translations :-).

So I will leave you for now... talk to you soon...   - Sue

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Unique Chinese Snacks

Vegetable/Fruit chips including Tara, Blueberry potato Chips, Sweet Potatoes, Pear chips

Seaweed Potato Chips, Asian pears, Pocky-like sticks, Tropical flavored Fruit Pastilles

Donkey Sandwich - like Beef Brisket

Portuguese Eggs Tarts - many flavors out here including: blueberry, Cherry, Pineapple, Peach, Red Bean


Personal Image

We had a couple more sessions with the students this week. We spoke about networking and personal branding. For the session on networking, the students were much more quiet. We realized the term networking, outside of a computer environment, was foreign to them. But during the presentation we realized that the concept of networking was completely foreign. In their minds, building relationships is something you do after you have a job not before. We did some role playing of different personalities that a recruiter might meet (i.e. quiet shy girl, cocky hooligan, sexy bimbo) which gave them a lot of laughs. But I think we finally got the point across that how you present yourself to a recruiter can help you get hired or rejected. A whole group of girls came up to me afterward telling me how great my acting skills were. But then I just told them, it’s easy to be someone who’s quiet or doesn’t seem to think. It’s a lot harder to be perceived as someone who can think. I hope more of them will be more confident and be noticed when they look for a job.

For the second session, we did a game on personal branding. In the session, Mukul asked the class how they perceive us. Apparently he’s an Indian who speaks difficult to understand Indian English, and I’m a Chinese girl who doesn’t speak Chinese. So somehow we both confuse them.

The language situation is pretty funny. I think it took almost a week for my team to stop asking me to try to read Chinese characters. After Tom jokingly said read that sign, I read the numbers which were the only things not in Chinese characters. He says, “wow I can read as much Chinese as Andrea.” And I exclaim, “Exactly!” We were at lunch yesterday with our ABV coordinator, and I was yapping away. She laughs because a couple girls sat down behind us and commented, “wow her English is so good.” Mukul says I just need to get plastic surgery.

Well it’s not plastic surgery, but I did get a digital perm. You’d think that getting curly hair would actually make me look less Chinese, but I think I’m starting to blend in more with the locals. Check out this contraption used to do the perm. Pretty awe inspiring.