Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day 30: Why I’m Gaining Weight in China

Someone needs to save me from myself. Why? Because I chose to intern for five whole days at a deliciously tantalizing bakery. Patricia and I work together at Skyways Bakery, a bakery founded and owned by German native Patrick Heckelmann. At the bakery storefront, Patricia and I man one of the baked goods counter—it's not only a fairly simple job, but it's also easy to overcome any language barriers with patrons when they can point at what they want, no words needed. Meanwhile, we also observe our coworkers and make small talk for our eventual essay due at the end of the week comparing Chinese companies to American companies. 

When Patricia and I stand behind the muffins, raisin coffee cakes, baguettes, whole wheat bread rolls, croissants, chocolate covered almonds, cookies, soft pretzels, cheese, cake and macarons, we inhale the sweet and floury scent, and we can't help but fantasize about all the crumbly pastries we want to eat once lunch comes around. It doesn't help that our boss generously gave us a preloaded customer card to spend on lunch, so needless to say, it's hard to restrain ourselves. Food perks aside, our coworkers are incredibly friendly despite Patricia and I mainly getting in their way. The space behind the counter is very small, yet we try to fit in eight people. Everyone is constantly walking back and forth between the baked goods, sandwich prep station, cash register and espresso machine, so it's pretty hectic, but fun. Patricia and I are learning a lot, too. Today we visited Skyways' business office and production site. We interviewed Mr. Heckelmann and prepared a survey that we will ask customers to complete tomorrow and Friday.

Everyone else seems to be having a good and significant experience at their internship. I heard that many of them get to take midday naps and I'm so jealous! Of course, this is countered with events like 12 hour meetings, which I heard that Michelle, Jared R. and Caton had to sit through one. I think I'll take baked goods to naps and 12 hour meetings any day.

My own host family treats me very well. They're kind and help me accomplish difficult tasks like buying a cell phone SIM card. My host parents ask me about the price of American colleges, the average American salary, and how Asian Americans act and interact with other ethnicities in America. As both of them are police, they also ask me about the police and government system in the U.S. My host sister is incredibly sweet and I address her as 妹妹 mei mei, the Chinese word for little sister because she's two years younger than I. But sometimes I feel weird calling her my little sister because she's 6 feet tall! That's almost an entire foot taller than I am! But height difference aside, we have a lot of fun together going shopping, eating out and watching TV and movies.

Tonight we will going to the home studio of Hu Jie, one of China's most important historical documentary filmmakers.  Hu Jie has produced works based on oral history about some of the horrific acts the Chinese government committed during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution like Searching for Lin Zhao's Soul (2004), Though I am Gone (2007), and Spark (2013). After tonight's meeting with him, we will continue to work through Thursday and Friday and gear up for Shanghai!

Malia B.

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