到达 了 沈阳！！ Arrived in Shenyang!!
My supervisor and a Consulate driver picked me up at the airport. After arriving at the Consulate I was given keys to my room and I promptly showered and went to sleep, only to wake up at 4:00am. That’s right 4:00am. The sunrise is at 4:00am. My sleep schedule has been all screwed up for the past week.
Highlights of the first few days at work:
On the first day of work (June 2nd) I signed my Scope of Work Agreement and finally got some idea as to what I will be doing this summer. I have 4 major objectives I need to complete. However, I have been assured that there are plenty of opportunities to learn about all the functions of the Consulate. Three of the objectives are the normal intern items such as updating websites and putting together informational booklets. The one objective that I am most excited about is the opportunity to:
Represent the Consulate at events specified by the Politics/Economic Chief, the Consul General, or the Chief of Mission. These events include, but are not limited to the 4th of July Representational Event, various Diplomatic Security Bureau-organized events, formal internal Consulate events, public outreach events, and others as necessary.
On just the second day at work I had the chance to represent the U.S. Government on a tour of Shenyang’s new Tiexi (Iron-West) District. The Consul General (the big boss), several very experienced FSNs (Foreign Service Nationals—Chinese employees whom work for the Consulate), and I took a tour of the district. This tour illustrated China’s modernization. It began with old steel mills and ironwork factories. There were numerous pictures of Chinese steel works from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Needless to say that working in a Chinese steel mill was not an enviable occupation.
Unfortunately, the tour only cursorily mentioned the Japanese occupation, the Chinese Civil War, and Deng Xiao Ping’s economic reforms (The Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution were not mentioned at all). I recommend reading a little on these topics to better understand the rapid development China has undergone.
Tours like these always end with dinner. Normally critiquing the meal would have been the most important part of the day. Although the meal was delicious, the most important event to occur that day was this –> the Consul General left the tour to attend another dinner function leaving me as the highest-ranking American representative on tour. I had the privilege of sitting at the head table with the Russian, French, and North Korean Consul Generals, a member of the Japanese Foreign Service, and the Chinese officials who coordinated the tour. In terms of diplomatic relations I was the least experienced. In terms of China’s exporting policies and TBEA business practices I was the least knowledgeable. In terms of the Chinese language I was the least proficient. All in all it was a good experience 🙂
Other points of interest:
Shenyang is a rapidly growing city. 9 years ago riding a bicycle was the most common form of transportation. That has been replaced by driving the car. It is estimated that there are 700 new cars on the road everyday in Shenyang. That would explain the dreadful traffic and the abysmal air quality. The air is really quite bad. Perfectly healthy people here at the Consulate have suffered from respiratory problems because of the air pollution.
On a lighter note the food here is really cheap. Right now the exchange rate is $1 = ¥6.83. That is pretty decent rate and it is the major reason why you can eat 3 meals a day for $5 or less. The cafeteria at the consulate offers a pretty sweet lunch deal. You simply pay ¥100 ($14.64) per month and you get lunch everyday.
In my packing frenzy I forgot to pack the AV cable/USB cable that allows me to upload pictures from my camera to the Internet. So until I procure another I will not have any first-hand photographs to upload.