I had a super busy past two weeks with events and adventures. In a blink of an eye, it’s already May and there’s only a month and a half left here in Beijing. Better start studying for those finals!
Right now I have an internship/volunteering with TEDxBeijing and we had an event this past Monday called “Design Salon.” We had eleven designers of various fields and focuses present their concepts and creations on stage and the whole process of putting the show together was life changing. I learned so much, not only about running an event, but about technology, hotel running, relations, communication, etc.
In the beginning, I didn’t really know what I was doing since I had never helped plan anything like this before. During high school, I was only in charge of publicity after everything was done for our benefit concerts, so who knew that so much work and effort went into creating these events, and even more so for more official events like the Design Salon. Soon enough, I found myself translating text between English and Chinese (my elementary school level Chinese), designing LED screen ads, and doing all sorts of technological knick knack that I had no experience doing, but if I could help out with everyone’s hectic schedule, I volunteered. Many people asked me if I was an IT major and my reaction would usually consist of staring at the frozen computer screen and crying internally because I’m an international studies major who barely managed to learn Google Docs.
We reached a giant crisis two days before the event because none of the speakers had their presentations in and everyone was flying in the day before or day of the event, making it really hard to schedule rehearsals. There was also the problem of getting to the speakers. Despite technological advancement in the 21st century, it seems that getting in contact with someone is still as inefficient as paper mail. Anyhow, everything worked out in the end and I managed to get the full presentation uploaded onto the two laptops used for our LED screen a minute before the show started. Due to the time crunch, we didn’t have time to rehearse with all the speakers and could only hope for the best.
First half of the show was okay, but everything started going downhill starting from the second speaker of the second half. The laptop we were connected to crashed and it took us around five minutes to get another laptop up and running. Everything was fine again until the new laptop couldn’t register the presentation videos…so we switched to another laptop. One of the speakers suddenly requests us to use a Mac for his presentation so my friend, the tech guy, and I were scrambling all over the place reconnecting lines, and then after that, another speaker requested a change in her ppt (China is getting to me) because she had completely changed her presentation. I was freaking out. The laptop crashed again and we got another laptop (by this time we probably had seven different laptops in front of us, all opened to the same slide), and finally, at last…we reached the end.
Stressful as it was, I definitely learned about just how much time and effort, and how many different groups of people it takes to put on a seemingly simple two hour event. I never had the opportunity to communicate with such a variety of people sitting at my desk jobs, and the happiness you get from completing an event is unimaginable. I also got to check out a yet-to-open hotel so that’s cool too.
Nanjing Friend and Peking Duck
On Wednesday, my friend from Nanjing University whom I met back in Cambridge came up to Beijing for a visit. She just graduated and now she’s off to Georgetown for grad school. Dream school alert! We ate some traditional Beijing food and headed to the Summer Palace since she’s never been there before. The taxi driver kept on questioning us about going to the palace on a cloudy day but boy, we don’t have time here, can’t be picky. We managed to paddle our way around the whole lake (leg day). People kept on asking us if we were tired but we never gave up.
Wednesday was also my friend’s birthday so at night, her dad invited us all to some delicious Peking Duck. There was so much food that we couldn’t finish it-even with ten people.
Everyday is Food Day
Thursday was PKU’s anniversary so the school had a holiday. Instead of participating in the celebrations, my friend from Chinese class and I headed out on a food adventure. We went to Fiume along the Liangma river and got our much needed fix on Western food (it’s an Italian restaurant but we didn’t order Italian). There’s quiet a few interesting restaurants around that area so I will definitely come back again. Afterwards, we headed towards Guomao and grabbed some cute desserts at Doko Bar (客从何处来).
Friday, my friends and I went out to Sanlitun and grabbed some not taco tacos at Q Mex and Japanese food and Sunday morning, I went to 前门 for some good ol’ brunch and great views and Capital M.
Last point of this post was that I experienced my first sandstorm in Beijing! Nothing to celebrate about that. The wind was super strong and nobody wanted to go to class, but after two hours, the sky was blue and the sun was shining again.