Today I started my internship at Habitat for Humanity China at their Shanghai campus. Its the newest branch of HFH in China. The main branch is in Hong Kong, but they also have more offices in the south and a Beijing office. I was definitely nervous about starting today. You know how when you wake up to an important day and you have this gut feeling like everything was going to go wrong? Yeah, I had that. Definitely. Like when you have those naked dreams where you walk through your old high school without pants and everybody notices except you. Like you went to China for a semester and forgot to bring your black flats that you were going to wear to work everyday. That was me. I tore my room apart this morning looking for the essential shoes I’D SWORN I’D BROUGHT but instead I had to hustle to class in regular grubby clothes, completely frustrated and angry. Needless to say, my morning did not start off the way I wanted to. Thank sweet baby Jesus that I have an amazing roommate who not only understood my predicament, but also looked up the closest cheap shoe store, my subway route back from work, and picked me up lunch so I could quickly eat in the cab to work. I honestly don’t know what I would do without Fu Jie. Actually, I do know. I would probably have accidentally eaten meat several times, gotten insanely lost, and also would have gone to work barefoot.
So fast forward to after class (about 12:20) when I had to throw my work clothes on and Fu Jie and I went on an adventure to the shoe store so I could find these adorable (and cheap!) shoes for work. After Fu Jie throwing me in a cab, I was off to work. Unfortunately the taxi driver assumed I spoke no Mandarin, so he didn’t really say anything. But that gave me the option of observing my surroundings and a new area of Shanghai that I definitely need to explore. In the neighborhood where my work is, the streets are lined with trees. I can’t wait for them to bloom! And all the houses look like they’re from the English countryside. Very traditional with ivy growing all over them. We also passed all these little boutiques, bakeries, restaurants and other places where I will be definitely be visiting :)
So I get to work and automatically the guards are like “HEY, WHITE LADY! WHO ARE YOU?” except they didn’t actually say that, just yelled at me to show them where I was going. I showed them my directions and they lead me to my office. I wasn’t surprised that the office was extremely small and only had three people working in it. And they’re all named Rachel. Its fine. Non-profits usually don’t have very lavish offices. I can’t really say what I’m working on (non-disclosure agreement) but what I can say is that I’m really excited to be working for such an awesome organization with such good history doing such good work.
On the way to the subway, I noticed that the neighborhood is so cute, very ex-pat-esque. But I still want to explore, as usual :)
I will hopefully keep updating everyone with my work at HFH, and my explorations around new neighborhoods!