Shanghai we are coming!

26./27.3.2018

Our journey to Shanghai started from Kittilä. First we flew to Helsinki where we met the other students and the teacher who will accomppany us. We changed to a bigger airplane and continued our way to Shanghai.

We arrived in Shanghai at about 6.30 am. We were really tired since it was the middle of the night in Finnish time and we didn't sleep properly on the plane. It took a couple of extra hours to go through all the security checks, get Chinese sim cards and withdraw some money.

Two Chinese teachers from our co-operation school came to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel.

Before we all fell asleep after arriving to the hotel we went to have some dinner. It was quite interesting ordering food from pictures and using sign language.

 

-Silja & Petra

Zăo shang hăo!

28.3.2018

We left the hotel early in the morning to go to the Shanghai I & C Foreign languages school to learn some basic Chinese language and about Chinese culture. 

During the day we had the language classes and also learned a little bit of Kung Fu.

Later we met our Chinese buddies and also had a Chinese tea ceremony.

In the evening we went for dinner and did some food shopping at Walmart.

 

-Silja & Petra

Shopping day

Shopping street

29.3.2018

We had the day off and decided to spend it on the shopping street nearby our hotel. After going to way too many shops we went to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Ordering food was a challenge with no one speaking English and the menu also being in Chinese with pictures of the dishes the size of stamps. We thought we ordered chicken but it turned out to be broccoli with jalopeno and in another dish we found something disgusting that you can see in a picture below.

-Petra & Silja

Whose toes are these?

Work place visits

Nanjing road

30.3.2018

At noon we took a taxi to Silja's work place Classic Travel. Afterwards we fished for a taxi for an hour to get to Petra's work place Country Holidays. Then at dinner time we walked into some tiny restaurant which said 'restaurant' in English after its name so we thought someone spoke English in there. We were terribly wrong. The food tasted alright but there was hardly anything to eat because it was all bones and stuff. 

We found ourselves shopping again on Nanjing road. Then the Amazing Race started to find the only servise desk which sells the metro cards. Finally we headed back to the hotel.

-Petra & Silja

Crazy sellers and bargaining in a copy hell

31.3.2018

We decided to spend our Saturday by going to a huge copy market at the Pudong side of the river. It was located in the underground tunnels below the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. It was like a labyrinth and we were lost in no time. There were about a million same kind of shops and you wouldn't even notice if you went to the same shop twice. Bargaining was challenging and later we thought that we could've got some things cheaper. Our group got separated during the day and finding the rest of the group for lunch was a mission impossible. 

After eating lunch one girl still went to find a suitcase so we ended up wandering around the shops some more. We were not meant to spend anymore money but we failed and bought handbags that we did manage to bargain to a quite low price. At closer inspection  we noticed the bags smelled really bad though they were very pretty. The next operation was to find a way to get rid of the stink.

-Silja & Petra

The shops just went on and on in every direction.

The shops just went on and on in every direction.

Our late lunch after we managed to find a restaurant amongst the shops

Sightseeing

1.4.2018

A bus picked us up and we started a day of sightseeing with our Chinese buddies.

First we headed to the Jade Buddha Temple.

Then we headed to downtown and went by the river to see the skyscrapers. You can see the third tallest building which has a hole in it. It was build by the Japanese and shaped like a sword. We heard an interesting story relating to the building. Apparently the meaning of the hole is that a dragon can fly through it. 

Our Chinese buddies took us for dinner to a hot pot restaurant. There we had a table full of different raw foods, meat and vegetables etc. which we cooked by ourselves in the hot pot, dipped in sauce and ate. 

Last we visited the Yu Garden, it was already dark so we only went to the shopping area.

-Silja & Petra

The first day of work

2.4.2018

I felt slightly nervous in the morning when I left our hotel for my first day of work. I didn't really know what to expect, what I would be doing or what my new coworkers would be like. The underground system is relatively easy to follow and my way to work then quite simple but I wasn't sure how long the commute would take or would I make it to work on time. I decided to set off an hour and a half before work started and ended up being in the city centre half an hour early even though i missed the first few underground trains because they were so full no one could get in anymore. With the half an hour to spare I went to get a coffee and then headed for the skyscaper where the office is located.

I took a lift to the 19th floor and waited for the first of my new coworkers to show up since i was still a bit early. We introduced ourselves and then I was given a computer and my assignment for the next few weeks and so my first day of work in the travel agency actually began.

What i will be doing is compiling brochures of all the different trip itineraries the company arranges. The first brochure I made I will be using as a template for the rest so they become standardised and so all will look similar. For each brochure I collect information about the itinerary, pricing and accommodation options for a specific trip into a word document. The biggest challenge, I think, will be something that I found out about when I first opened the computer: it's all in Chinese. Thankfully I've used word that much that  I remember to some extent what happens from where but a fair bit of trial and error is definitely going to be included when trying to sort out the brochures.

My coworkers are nice and even arranged a welcome lunch for me. The lunch was delicious and I even managed to eat all of it with chopsticks.

 

-Petra

Found my work building.

On my way to get lunch.

People's square station in the morning

first day at work!

the street were my working place is

2.4.2018

woke up 7am and i was little nervous because of working in a travel agency in China and had no idea what i would be doing there and would i get lost or something. I ate some breakfast and left from the hotel around 8am and tried to get a taxi for 50 minutes and because of that i was late for my first day, what a start. I read some brochures first because there was some trouble for getting the internet working on my laptop. Finally after 2 hours i was able to start doing some actual work, so i started checking the Classic Travel pages and search all the outdated travel package tours and almost all of them had wrong travel dates. As i was investigating the pages i found some little mistakes and told Selina about it. Selina was my supervisor and spoke really good english so it was nice.

Selina and the other worker ( i dont remember his name ) took me to have some lunch at the near by restaurant and they even said that i am good eating with chopsticks.

Around 6pm my work ended and i had to wait Selina so she can tell me how to get to work by bus. The bus trip was very easy like 10 stops. I was back in hotel around 7.30pm and i was really tired so i went to sleep almost immediatly.

 

-Silja

How do I save this picture?

3.4.2018

I was just as early at People's square station ( my underground station in the city centre ) today as I was yesterday. Gladly I was given keys yesterday so I didn't have to wait for someone else to come to get into the office.

I continued to work on the brochures. Using the Chinese word is difficult and I think the Chinese version even has some extra features compared to the one in Finnish so I've been trying to work out how those work today. Someone from IT tried to change the computer from Chinese to English today but failed for some reason so I'm stuck with the Chinese. But I think it's okay, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it in a few days time. And there's always the undo button so I can try out what different buttons do. I also got VPN installed to my computer so I can get all the hotel websites open since many of the didn't seem to open without it. Now I can better fill in the accommodation part for the brochures as well.

It's good that I get along well with my coworkers since i have to ask what i feel like are stupid questions like "How do i save this picture?" since I obviously can't undestand the Chinese characters. Makes for fun interactions with them.

I finish work at 6 pm and after there's another crowded underground ride back to our hotel and even though the trip is only about 10 kilometres, it easily is around half past seven or closer to eight when I'm back. The sun also sets while I'm underground so it's already dark while walking back to hotel from our closest station.

 

-Petra

 

I think i have dementia!

our hotel

3.4.2018

So this is my second day at work and this time i was on time. I did count all the bus stops as going to work because the area was not familiar for me. Selina said that now i can update all the outdated travel package tours that i found yesterday so she showed me how to do it and thank god the program was in english. It was easy to use but the instructions that selina gave me wasn't that good because i don't know the right travelling date for those travelling tours.

As i finished the task i asked for more  things to do but it took so long so i started to think how i would change the web sites and did a word file all of those things that came to my mind. I left at work around 6pm and now i didn't have to count the bus stops.

So i arrived at the hotel and took the elevator up to 6th floor and realized that i forgot my room keycard at work, so i went to ask our teacher Anne-Maija to come to the reception with me because they don't speak very good english. Okay yes they gave me new keycard but they said that i have to give it back tomorrow morning.

After 12pm i went to smoke cigaret and when i tried to open my door, the room card didnt work and tried again and no, so i went down and said that it's not working so she did something okay now back to the 6th floor and no the card isn't working so back down and again went to reception and again to the 6th floor and yes now the room card is working. I was already prepairing to sleep on the hallway, but luckily i didnt have to.

 

-Silja

Wǒ jiào gāo xìng!

4.4.2018

We had a driver pick us up ( what a luxury! ) from the hotel and to take us to the school for our second day of Chinese lessons. Learning Chinese is interesting but the pronounciation is really difficult. We spend half the day at the school and the rest of the day at work. 

It was surprisingly chilly and we ended up having to go back to the hotel after school to get warmer clothes before going our separate ways to work. 

Silja couldn't get any work done because the internet was down. Petra continued to struggle with the computer that is in Chinese.

Later in the evening it sounded like some Chinese people were going to come through my ( Petra ) door but it turned out to be just Silja and Anne pranking me by pretending to speak Chinese. I did get frightened because I thought there were actual Chinese people behind my door trying to get in.

-Petra & Silja

Books books books

5.4.2018

Today the Chinese celebrate one of their traditional festivals, the Qingming festival ( or in English the Tomb-sweeping day ). It is a festival for remembering and honouring their ancestors.

For me, it means a few days off. I used the opportunity to have a lie-in and slept off some of the sleep debt from the past couple of days.

I usually really enjoy reading but I'm not too keen on the book I brought with me from Finland so I did some googling and found a few bookshops that sell English books and decided to go and see if I'd find something more interesting to read.

Taking the underground at midday was weird since it was so empty compared to the crowdedness of the rush hour. I found my way surprisingly easily to a few of the bookshops and picked up two books that I've been meaning to read for a while.

 

- Petra

Stopped by a bakery and a shop for a "coffee" on my way out

Nearly empty train.

It was also the first rainy day and I forgot my umbrella.

The books I found.

ZOO!!

5.4.2018

So now that we don't have to go to work because of the Qingmin festival me, Anne, Liza, Joni and Antti decided to go to the Shanghai Zoo. As we arrived to our destination we went to bought the tickets and entered to the Zoo.

First we had to check the map so we know where to go first. Okay so first was the crocodiles but they didn't move at all but it was atill nice to see them. Next was the monkeys and i loved them but i was little amazed because some people feed them like giving them chips and all kind of junky food, there was also all kind of plastic that people had throw there, like why people why? 

After that we saw elephants, girafs, rhinos, pandas, zeepras, bears, wolfs, birds and all kind of different animals but at the end i was really sad because of the bad conditon of the animals. 

Now we are all hungry and started to find some restaurant where we can eat and luckily didn't have to walk far to find it all tought my shoes were really wet because it started to rain and it wasn't nice to walk. Then back to hotel and rest.

 

South-East Asia, Western Europe, Scandinavia & China..

The company even does trips to Finland.

8.-12.4.2018

In the past few days I've completed brochures about trips to South-East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines. Using the computer itself has became somewhat faster but what slows my working down now is the names of the places. It takes a surprisingly long time to check that I've written all the towns etc. correctly though I will say that you do learn the correct spelling after writing a name a half a dozen times. 

After finishing the brochures about the South-East Asian contries I decided to take a break from the difficult names and moved onto trips to Western Europe and Scandinavia. So much faster when I don't have to double and triple check every name I've written down. Afterwards I started on the vast collection of trips to China. I wasn't really familiar at all about the different regions of China but seeing what it has to offer I would really like to visit a few more places aside from Shanghai in the future.

I like my co-workers, they're really nice and all can speak English, which makes things a lot easier. They do still obviously speak Chinese when they are talking to one another so it's an interesting environment to work in when I basically have no idea what anyone is saying or what's even going on. 

We all went to have lunch together on Tuesday at a rice noodle place since that was something I'd not tried yet. What I had was basically a noodle soup with beef but the noodles were made of rice. It was rather tasty though unfortunately I did spill some soup on my shirt while trying to eat with the chopsticks.

 

- Petra

I'm actually surprised I haven't seen any traffic accidents yet.

On the way back to our hotel.

I'm not feeling okay

9.4 - 13.4.2018

 

Okay so my day started and i have to let Selina know that im sick. I was sick for three days and finally on thursday was able to go to work. I started to write about Thailand top 10 best beaches and really liked to search information about those places because thailand has so many beautiful beaches where i wanna go. So the next couple of days i did that and it was friday again. Wow time goes fast.

Met my boss and found coffee

17.4.2018

Last week I finally met my delightful boss as she came back from a business trip to Europe. She ordered lunch to the office and we talked about Italy and other European countries and citites we'd visited and also a bit about how I'd settled into the city and into the workplace and if I could make my way to work conveniently from my hotel etc.

She suggested me a different route to work and that's what I tried this morning. The underground line I'd previously taken is extremely crowded during rush hour so I was pleased to find another alternative. The one I took this morning stopped a bit further away from work in the centre but was nicer since there was actually room to move and breathe in the train. And I also stumbled across the first coffee shop with a more sensible pricing so I'll finally be getting my morning coffee every morning from now on.

Today I worked on the brochures for all the Indian destinations. Internet was a bit of a problem in the morning but otherwise the day went well.

 

- Petra

Last days at work

18.-20.4.2018

Over the past couple of weeks one of the biggest challenges at work has obviously been the Chinese language itself. Even so working has become a lot faster than it was in the beginning. I've learnt to recognise the chinese characters that mark the fonts I'd chosen etc. and some keyboard shortcuts for the word that make working a lot easier. 

I didn't quite complete all of the brochures I had on my long assignment list of destinations but I still made plenty progress. More than I thought possible when I first found out the computer was in Chinese.

Working in this travel agency has been a good experience for me even though I did learn that maybe nine hours a day office job isn't for me. I did still enjoy making the brochures the way I wanted, it was satisfying to get them to look neat and similar. Also I don't really know how to explain it but it was really a strange experience to work in a place where the main language used is one I don't understand. On one hand it made working easier with pretty much nothing to divert my attention from it but on the other hand it was kind of distracting sometimes, especially when my coworkers got excitedly to talking about something very fast and then ended up laughing. I nearly joined the laughter sometimes, not because I knew what they were laughing about but just because of how funny the Chinese sounded when spoken very quickly.

 

-Petra

On our final Chinese lesson we learned how to order food at a restaurant in Chinese.

Shanghai.

This milk tea ended up being huge. But what do you do when you don't speak the language.

On my way for lunch.

On my way for lunch.