While I have worked for other companies which tout their global status, until joining my current office a couple months ago, I had yet to be in a place where I was as likely to be seated next to Michigan natives as I was across from Europeans, Asians and staff members visiting from Germany. It's refreshing, feels healthier somehow; and makes me more self-conscious about not having passed the U.S. borders, beyond having gone to Canada (no disrespect, Canada!). When people ask where I have been and I don't have much of anything to report, the answering silence isn't snobby, it's just more a sense of it...not making sense to them. How curious...But there is a world out there. Meanwhile in my office, I still need to remind myself that email I wrote at my noon is someone else's midnight and that if I have issues with project X, I had better call or email before noon, to have any chance of reaching that one golden person who possesses the answers I need.
A fellow coworker, who loves a piece of cake in the afternoon, returns to her desk and plunks herself down. Her face is cross: "I am sick of being mistaken for being French. I do not even sound French!" Her ordinarily straight posture slumps. She frowns, her fork poised above swirls of chocolate frosting. I want to issue a collective apology: even in this university town, most of us don't know. We just don't...
An overheard phone call from the end of May.
"Oh, no. Actually our office is closed on Monday, in observance of Memorial Day."
"Oh, well, it's to honor soldiers who have lost their lives in service of our country."
"...No, it could be any war."
"...Honestly, we mainly just have lots of barbeques?"
Those kind of exchanges happen a lot. And I love how it brings you back to square one: Oh, right, this isn't automatically known. But ahhhh, will I love it in bigger doses? I am about to find out. Due to shifting staff on a larger project, which I am involved with, it came to light this past week that I'll be working overseas for several weeks, starting in the end of July! My head's spinning with all the details to be worked out. I expect it to be quite a hectic time, but am also hoping that it will be wonderfully stimulating and eye opening. Without any additional stops, flights to Shanghai last 14 hours; the time difference is exactly 12 hours. Quite an initiation to global travel! Whew. More to come, certainly. At least from Wikipedia, it looks like blogspot is blocked in China (as well as most of the major sites I am used to using~~), so I probably won't be able to post updates....Hmmm. I have lots of research ahead of me!