1 Week Down; So much done, so much to do

Wow, it has already been a week. And what an exhausting week it was.

My internship is not one of those “take a backseat, watch the professionals” kind of hands-off internship. Instead, they immediately threw me into the fire with event planning, promotional photography, brewing time, festival service, and video capture. Which is super neat; I’m thankful that my internship is an actual learning experience rather than a blip on my resume. It has a few downsides; namely, I worked 8 days in a row after my first day, and was exhausted after that run. It made sense, there was a huge burger/beer festival that Jing-A participated in over the weekend, so they needed all hands on deck. But it was a lot, especially as I was just now getting used to a new country.

So I asked my coworkers when we got days off, and they sort of just laughed. “Whenever you feel like it?” was the blunt answer. I was confused- this work environment is entirely different from anything I’ve ever worked in. People mosey in for work around 9-10 am, and leave the office anywhere from 4 to 6 pm. You take days off when you need to, you get in late when you have to, you take off early if you want; it’s odd. I’m not sure if this is a cultural thing or if it’s specific to the work life of a brewery, but it’s taken some getting used to. People essentially just lump a bunch of projects on my plate, and it’s my job to finish them by whenever they ask. If that means I can do my work while also taking a 4 day weekend? Sure, go for it! However, it can also mean the opposite; I had a full work week and yearned for a free weekend to explore Beijing, but the festival stopped me from enjoying that. That’s one potential topic I’d like to explore: the average work environment and its affects on the worker in ‘Communist’ China versus the U.S. And how that relates to my experience at the Brewery run by 2 expats in Beijing. I took off today, Tuesday June 25, and explored Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, and a cool little hutong.

But before I go into my day, first: the beer festival! While it was hot, hard work serving people in the open air, it ended up being a good time. My coworkers brought giant speakers and we took turns on aux… plus, we all drank the product to make the day go by faster! While standing for hours in the hot sun serving beer doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, we made the best of it. I was able to do some cool video capture there, and hopefully I’ll put together a fun promo video for Jing-A.

That’s another topic I’d like to explore, perhaps; drinking culture in China vs. the US. Alcohol in the states is a big market, but its rather taboo; in my conservative family circles, it was actually a minor scandal that I was working at a brewery. The drinking age is 21, and places are typically very strict in upholding this. There are state owned liquor stores in certain places (shoutout VA). There are open container laws. In China, however, the drinking age is MAYBE “18” in certain places, but really it isn’t. According to my coworkers, nobody is carded, ever. Alcohol is sold everywhere; from bars to grocery stores to pharmacy’s to bodegas to clubs. There are no open container laws;  I could theoretically buy a bottle of liquor right now and walk down the street while drinking it. People don’t, however; while alcohol is also a big market here, there doesn’t seem to be a big “binge drinking” culture, as in the U.S. It’s normal; people have 1 or 2 drinks with dinner, maybe a beer with lunch. There are wild student age activities, however; my first morning here, jetlag caused me to be awake early and so I walked around at 6 am and saw people who were just then getting out of the Chinese clubs. So who knows, it’s something to explore.

Come to think of it, I actually will share my Forbidden City trip another time. My WiFi isn’t loading with my VPN right now, so it’s hard to transfer photos, and I’d like time to reflect on my journey. As for now- 再见!