Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Its A Nice Place To Visit

In the office today with 7 people from my customer's company.  They were marketing, sales and other departments.  They had sent me a list before of things that they wanted me to speak on and help them work through.  I had finished the presentation - they said I had everything covered in it.  Thats what they always say.

This is the way you present in China.  Slow talk through a few sentences, using hand gestures and grand facial expressions, stop, let translator ATTEMPT to translate everything you just said, much conversation ensues from all around table continuing for many minutes while you fade into the background and then reappear while they summarize in one sentence what they were all talking about for the past 30 minutes.  And then you go to the next sentence, scenario repeats.  Three hours and two slides later there is much excess conversation and finally one woman says "now we take small break and then continue after".  AHHH - it took from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to go through 25 slides - and about 5 of those slides were ONLY pictures.

Do you ever feel like you can literally feel your life slipping away?
I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to go screaming from the room!
Especially when at the end of the whole presentation where you have completely and fully answered every single one of their questions, they say "now what about?"  and you grit your teeth and pray "please Jesus don't let me kill them" and you try to kindly say "well, if you remember those first 3 slides what we talked about" and you go back and repeat it all.

And then at 4 p.m. I'm told - "ok, now we take a small break and then we go to dinner".  And thats where I snapped today.  No mention had been made of dinner before so I said that I needed to get home to help my friends with a party they were having tonight (they were having a party and I did come home and help - kind of - so no lies were told in the making of that escape!).  They said "ok, that is our fault.  But we have dinner tomorrow night."  I said ok even though I really don't want to - probably more hyena or dingo or duck or something.  I'll muscle through it though.  Its just mentally exhausting with all the bad English and no one understanding you.

Tomorrow we'll see how the day goes...
We're supposed to take the bullet train out to a city for a hospital call.
The only thing is that my friend had gotten notice from their company that all these things were happening with APEC and that one of the things was that you shouldn't go outside of Beijing because you may not get back in.
I showed the flier to my customer today and said, I just wanted to make sure as my friends were concerned....
And I showed them this...

I have no clue what it says but Julie's translation said a bunch of stuff including "don't leave Beijing".  So when I showed it to my customers and they asked where I got it from and then proceeded to laugh I thought - ok - it must all be good.  Maybe I'm overreacting and I shouldn't be concerned.  It might just be an adventure.

And then when I got home I told Julie and Julie said - the thing about them is that they just may be laughing because they're trying to save face.  They've bought the tickets and they have all this planned so they're not going to say they were wrong and that you shouldn't go.  And if you do go and there are problems getting back in they won't say there are problems they'll just say "oh, there was a delay".

So I repeat - this may be an adventure tomorrow.
I only have one request, God, I don't want to live in China forever - please.....

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