China Diary:
Getting to Work


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]


Sep. 7: Labor Day – Fittingly, I begin working in China on Labor Day. Rise at six, and realize this caffeine addict and news junkie hasn’t had a cup of java or seen CNN in a week.  I meet Jackie, my teaching assistant, and we unload my boxes.  He is in his third year of the MA program in International Business, writing his thesis under the advisement of the Management School’s Director of Foreign Affairs. He will also audit the MBA strategy class. I tell Jackie I have met the Director. Jackie’s topic is cross-culture management, and I tell him I will help. He tells me about his engagement dinner that night, and I decide to get him a rice cooker as a present. (I get an iron for myself.) I drop them off, and rush on my bike to meet the Executive Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Office (and a University at Albany alumna, the reason I am here) when someone stops dead in front of me. I brake. The front brake works too well and sends me over the front wheel. Lucky for the bike, it’s built like a tank. I am less lucky, but manage to hobble to my meeting. It goes extremely well – no substitute for connections, or guanxi. I head back to my office, where I give Jackie his present. He refuses the customary three times before relenting to accept it. I wonder if he knows rice is a fertility symbol in the U.S.?

Sep. 8: Goodbye, Summer – Jackie comes by and we get some business cards printed for me. Spend hours trying to get an Internet connection but to no avail in spite of several eager graduate students helping. We are more successful in figuring out the new projection system in the MBA lecture room, so I can use my laptop for presentations. Jackie buys me the same worker’s lunch they eat, and I finish about half (the stuff that looked familiar). I fire up my Allman Brothers CD on the laptop. Enough playing around. I pick up my first mail, a card from my daughter Debbie sent a couple of weeks ago. I have trouble finishing reading it as my eyes well up. Head home, spending the afternoon repairing my new bike then read some more. By 5:30 I am on the basketball courts, and eventually there are five of us shooting around with two balls. I forget to bring water, and it is hot. An hour later, it gets dark and I head off to pick up some takeout for dinner. Read Debbie’s card again. Tomorrow, my first class begins.

Sep. 9: First Class – Have a short session of the International Business class: introductions and hand out materials. Give the management library copy of the text. Jackie takes me and Kathleen to register our bicycles at a police station. Later, head to the E-Mart to pick up some stuff. By 5, Maurice and I head over to the courts for some four-on-four. It is hot and we play until it gets dark, around 6:30. Stop by outdoor market for whole fish and handful of shrimp. Wake up in the middle of the night with "jelly belly" but take some Pepto-Bismol and all is well by morning.

Sep. 10: Dinner – Harold and Jerrie run an institute in Hawaii on violence and aggression, and are touring universities in Shanghai and Beijing. They spend three days at Fudan, living in our guest house, so Kathleen, Maurice, and I take them to a local restaurant where we chat for a few hours (about $4 each).

Sep. 11: TGIF – I meet Tony, the USIS cultural affairs and information officer in Shanghai and apparently a China scholar, for lunch. We discuss my predicament and Tony will get me in touch with the local business community. After lunch, I pick up a short-wave radio so I can get some worldwide news. Then, off to my office I get the class roster for my MBA course: It is now up to 60, or 50% more than I was originally told. Maybe he can do the math, but there are not enough seats in the classroom or books and handouts. Kathleen hosts a reception for the residents, and about half-a-dozen attend. One is Mark, who taught English literature in Korea and Japan before coming to China. In spite of dating a local Chinese girl, he joins several of us as we wander down to the international area and grab pizza and brew. We stumble into a pub on the way home for another pitcher and some darts.

Sep. 12: International Students – Charlie, one of the MA students, stops by to get a CD-ROM for the class. I then head to the courts for some solo hoops. Hot and humid. After lunch and laundry, I wander the shops and eventually bump into Joe, one of the "Study Abroad" students from my home institution and who I am supposed to look up anyway in a few weeks. We are joined for an early dinner by other exchange students from Belgium, Japan, Norway. I pass my card around for future contacts. Several bottles of Tsingtao and plates spun around the lazy suzan later, we each put up two bucks.

Sep. 13: Forest Park – I head for the park I couldn’t find last week. Plenty of trees and grass, and not too crowded. The lake does not look inviting, however. I munch lunch in the Tea Garden. Arriving back at my place I meet Gay (pronounced "Guy"), the Director of the joint Change Management Program between Fudan’s School of Management and the Norwegian School of Management. We exchange cards, but he is rushing to class and I am rushing to the E-Mart.


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]

Rainbow

Copyright 1998 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.