Wednesday, June 25th 2014
(Pretend today is Wednesday!)
With the exception of the horrible WiFi in the office, work has been exciting and meaningful and we are making good progress/headway with our project, so yay!
Today, our colleagues brought us to Lenovo’s Toastmaster’s Club meeting, which meets every Tuesday from 12PM to 1:30PM. It was also my first Toastmaster’s meeting, and I ended up being asked to speak on a table topic. The theme of the day was, ‘You are more important than you realize’, and I was given the scenario ’Tom and Jerry’, in which I had to speak from the perspective of Jerry and provide Tom encouragement. Since the scenario itself was already fairly absurd, I decided to go all out, and delivered an impromptu speech about challenges, destiny, and meaning in life. At the end of the meeting, to my surprise, I was awarded ‘Best Table Topic Speaker,’ my first ever Toastmaster’s Award. To be fair though, a lot of the other table topic speakers were Chinese nationals who weren’t native English speakers, but I did manage to beat out a middle-aged guy from North Carolina (probably posted over from Lenovo’s HQ in Raleigh) and Brady, so… yay?
After work, Izzah and I met up for dinner at Wudaokou (五道口), a district that is well-known for its international students, Korean restaurants, and proximity to many universities, amongst which Tsinghua and Peking Universities are probably the most well-known. After dinner (Korean food), dessert (boba, of course), and much much conversation, we parted ways and headed back home, and I embarked on the long trek from the Xi’erqi (西二旗) subway station to the apartment complex where I’m staying over the summer, 回龙观新村中区. Brady had messaged earlier to pick up some tape on the way back, and so I did.
When I finally got back home, our colleagues Fantasy and Justin were at our place, helping us to figure out how to set up our WiFi. We were able to get the previous tenant to extend (续) his WiFi contract by 3 months, and we were also able to borrow a wireless router from one of our colleagues… we just weren’t able to register it with the provider. After trying many time to no avail, they finally called the previous tenant and asked him to come over and help us set up our WiFi. Right when we were waiting for the previous tenant to arrive and resolve our WiFi woes… Brady comes out of the bathroom and announces, ’There is no water. 没有水。’ So, not only did we have no WiFi, we now had no water either! Things were not looking good at all. We poked around the utilities closet and adjusted the valves, but nothing worked. 😦
Finally, the previous tenant arrived, and not only did he and his friend help us to resolve our Wifi woes, they also explained that the lack of water was just a temporary cut from 10pm to 6am the next day, and that a notice had been posted in the lift lobby. Of course, we hadn’t paid it any attention. So now, we had WiFi, but on the downside, we now had no running water. It was as if the Universe was saying, ‘Water or WiFi — choose but one!’
Still, having WiFi was pretty freaking fantastic. Riding on that WiFi high, Brady and I decided to keep improving the apartment — our baby — and finish Hack #3, the shower barrier. Just to recap, the problem is that since the shower and toilet are in the same room and there are no walls separating the shower from the rest of the bathroom, water pretty much splashes and flows everywhere. To be totally honest, it wasn’t a big deal for me — that’s pretty much how it is at home too, so it wasn’t anything particularly shocking. However, since Brady was pretty irked by it, we decided to build a low barrier to keep the water from flowing everywhere. When I got back from dinner, he’d already picked up some rocks/brick fragments and two wooden planks, and assembled them into a rough frame. After we got WiFi, we finished the barrier by slicing open (and in two) a plastic bag (with an exacto — I love these knives, and am so very glad I brought them with me, first to Berlin and then to Beijing) and securing the plastic strips to the ground and frame with the tape which I had picked up on the way back.
Photos will be posted soon, but for now, if you want to see photos of our apartment check out Brady’s blog here!