I won't have to miss China too much during my stay here...
The first day at work went well. I don’t know if I’ve made it clear, because a lot of people are asking so I better say it once again. I’m currently in Finland doing a 7 weeks summer vacancy at a media company where I used to work 3 years ago, before I moved to China. In the end of August I am going back to China, but until then I’m working full-time over here.
It’s strange to be back at a company that I left 3 years earlier. Although the number of employees have doubled since I left a lot of things still haven’t changed. The big boss is a Chinese man from Beijing. Very honest. Very straightforward. The first thing he said when he saw me in the meeting room yesterday morning was:
-Oh, I see our little Blondie is back from China. You know guys, 3 years ago this girl left our company to run away to China with her big love.
Polite smiles and muffled giggles. I felt kind of silly. “Ran away with my big love?!” What the f****?! And also, what boss refers to his employees as ‘little Blondie?!’
As soon as the meeting was underway, I also realized that things are like they always were.
It started with one of the guys arriving a little bit late:
-Oh Mika, said the big boss. Look at you. You look so tired and quiet. You probably have not slept well.
-Eh, well… I….
This was the standard back during ‘my days’ as well. Whoever came in late got a honest, slap in the face:
-Look at you today! You look real tired/ fat/ old/ dishevelled!
I can tell that the employees of today take it just as personal as I used to do back then. I particularly remember one time when the boss said I looked real ‘meaty.’ I swapped my lunch for oranges for the following 2 weeks.
Then, we went on to the meeting.
The big boss had just been to China and was supposed to give us a summary of what he’d been up to:
-Yeah, I had a lot of good, important meeting… made progress when it comes to the X project… and then I went to X province to meet with the head of X and we talked about xxxxxx….. And then I had to go to Beijing to comfort a friend whose wife just committed suicide… and then I had a successful meeting about cooperation in some sections with this xxxx group….
Wait… what.. hang on a second? Did he just said… suicide?!?!?!
Me and my workmates were discussing over lunch. I mean, he said it so fast and so briefly that it just blended together with all the other, important meetings he’d had?!
After discussing it for a while and listening to the sighs from my workmates it hit me:
-This still happens kind of often, doesn’t it? Some kind of important and inappropriate information is thrown into a meeting about something else?
-Sure does. They said.
Yup, not much has changed! And it’s kind of interesting to get this ‘grind of Chinese spice’ in your every day life over here.