Greetings from Abroad-China
By Aaron Holmberg
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
May 14, 2006
It was a long trip to the other side of the world. It took me 29 hours from doorstep to doorstep. Thankfully my buddy Peterlee was at the airport waiting for me when I arrived. We hopped on the bus and rode it to the apartment the company is renting for me. The apartment is large compared to the dorm room I am used to. They don’t use hot water tanks in China, so water is heated on the fly by passing through an interesting contraption on the wall above the sink. It wasn’t functioning properly for the shower so I had to jimmy-rig it to take a warm trickle rinse. Like the Europeans, the Chinese just put a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor and let water fly all over the place without a curtain or sink basin. The bed they provided me is a board with a comforter on top. The sad thing is, I think these are really good accommodations and I should be thankful for what I have.
The company’s human resources person came over to the apartment at 9 a.m. to fill me in on a few facts about life here in Shanghai. We visited the company later that afternoon and the HR representative introduced me to everyone. The employees know English, but few of them can speak it well. The people on the team I will be working with seem very friendly and easy to get along with. The project I will be working on consists of coupling a cheaper engine to a different transmission in a current mini bus produced by Huizhong Automotive. It appears that I will be working on researching existing technology for the project.
On Thursday evening, the guy that lives below me (Simon Xu) led me back to our apartment. It took one hour by bus to get back to my apartment. It turns out that Simon has been teaching himself English and is happy to have someone to practice with. We went to the market to pick up some food that I could cook for supper, but it turns out my stove is broken. The auto light mechanism doesn’t function because of a lack of battery power. Simon came up to check on me and found me starving with no way to cook, so he invited me to his apartment and cooked my food for me.
A fellow intern invited me to a “design party” on Friday evening. It sounds interesting so I am going to attend. But first I must find an Internet café, some food and my way back to Huizhong.