March: After returning to Shanghai after the Olympics, I decided I wanted to work for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. So I left italki and made Expo my mission. Success!
March-May: I took my first Traditional Chinese Medicine Class and a photography class at the Expat Learning Center.
March-November: I worked for Aden Services on the Expo project, first as hostess recruitment manager and later as Key Account Manager of Luxembourg Pavilion. As KAM of Luxembourg Pavilion, I had about 130 Chinese staff underneath me, which challenged my language skills, my management skills, and my cultural knowledge. I also had to manage the client relationship, including most notoriously, my first day as KAM when our security guards for the Pavilion went on strike. What a way to start! All ended well with a very successful Expo, Pavilion, and Aden team performance.
My colleagues at Aden were fabulous people, who knew how to work hard and still go out and have fun. They were some of the best, most diverse group of people I could imagine working with. And all of us were under 35 which added to the camaraderie.
May: The Expo Started!
June/July: Starting dating Adam, who I met as we worked together at Aden Services on Expo project.
August: In the middle of August I flew to Tokyo on an invitation from Sarah, a high school friend I hadn’t seen since. We had a whirlwind 3 day trip of the major shopping districts, parks, and restaurants of Tokyo. Good fun and great to catch up with her after all these years. Thanks, Sarah!
In late August, I convinced Adam to get on a plane for the first time in his adult life and go with me to Qinghai, including Xining, Qinghai Lake, and into Gansu to Xiahe to see Labrang Monastery, and ending in Lanzhou. It was a nice chance for us to spend time together and enjoy cooler weather, see rolling hills, some spectacular scenery, and China’s ethnic minorities.
At the very end of August, I managed to hop on a plane again to do Qingdao Beer Festival, my first and (probably) only trip. Considering I can’t stand beer, once was enough. But it was wonderful to have so many good friends around; we stayed in an old German castle style hotel near the water. We went to the beach and ate fabulous Korean BBQ.
October: In early October, I had to notify all the Aden staff of the termination of the employment contract: think Up In The Air. Not that this isn’t stressful enough in of itself, I had to do it all in Chinese. And I had to do it immediately before Luxembourg Pavilion Day, probably the most important day of Expo for our Pavilion. In the end, everything worked out. The staff did a fabulous job with Pavilion Day and we got to see the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
Besides the stress that certainly weighed on me, the process put extreme pressure on my moral center, and added strain to my relationships with my colleagues, especially Adam. If I can point to one defining circumstance in my life as an employee, that is probably it, which was the final straw in committing me to entrepreneurship.
And then the Expo was over. In total I saw about 154’Pavilions,’ at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and even that is probably only half. In November, after Expo finished, I went back to say goodbye and was sad there were so many restaurants I never got to try, so many bars I never drank at, more stuff I wished I bought or tried, Pavilions I never visited, and I had all the opportunity in the world. Strange how work always got in the way. But I truly cherish the many fond memories I have of visiting (and drinking in) Expo with different friends.
November: My contract with Aden Services ended. At midnight on the night my contract ended, I flew to Boracay, Philippines for 5days of sunshine, reflecting, and relaxing.
Throughout November I pondered what my next steps were, how I could follow my passion, and become ‘location independent’ and what that would mean for my career.
November 28th: After years, and weeks of intense preparation, I took the test of proficiency in Chinese language 汉语水平考试。
December: In early December, I jetted 0ff (well, took the train, actually) with 3 girl friends to Huangshan for my last trip of 2010.
After Huangshan trip, it was time to start moving toward the next phase of my life: following my passion.
December has been consumed with projects, gearing up to start my next business, and the usual holiday and going away parties (so sad Rachel & Helen are gone 🙁 ). The projects I’m working on for December and January are: helping a TCM doctor to write a book about functional foods in English and helping build the web presence and generate PR for PureLiving China. Besides my continuing Shop My Shanghai. In the middle of the month I took another TCM course, this time focusing on medical massage (tuina).
I also completed another major step towards becoming location independent and following my passion: signed up for a longer TCM course and started my new blog about health and wellness: World Vitae.
2011: So what does 2011 bring? After those projects are completed in January, I will be in the US for 3weeks, before returning to China to move directly to Hangzhou to study TCM at Zhejiang University of TCM. If you’re interested in TCM, health, wellness, or Oriental Medicine, please follow my new blog.
Therefore, I’m now in my last 3.5weeks of living full-time in Shanghai. (tear) I’m looking for a small room I can stay in part-time on weekends in Shanghai, if you know of any cheap cheap cheap places. And I’m looking for a room to rent in Hangzhou.
You can imagine I’m quite busy,
so goodbye for now!
And goodbye 2010! You have been another fabulous year.