Two Weeks at the Office

The weekend is here again, so I decided to write something about the past 2 weeks here at CHECK-IT. Those weeks have been filled with both some fun activities with the group and sitting in the office with not much to do. Presenting all the available projects and assigning everyone to a group had cost about 1,5 week. I will be working with a company on some research about VR Interaction with my team (2 Dutch, 2 Chinese) during the next few months here. If all goes well, we can start some actual work on Monday after our first meeting with the project owner.

Every few weeks, our Thursdays will be dedicated to a cultural activity, which is organised by either the Chinese or the Dutch students/teacher. On the first Thursday, we went to the Xiamen University campus to check it out. The main campus of the university is pretty big, it’s like a city on its own. After assembling at the main entrance of the campus, we went to visit the Nanputuo Temple. This temple was built in the Tang Dynasty (yr. 600-900) and is now adjacent to the campus. After the temple, we went on an unplanned visit to the mountain behind the temple, which gave us a great view of the campus and sea when we, drenched in sweat, finally arrived at the top. During the rest of the day, we visited some other places on the campus and ended at another smaller campus nearby which contains the school of software.

Our second cultural activity was last Thursday, this time we celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival (although, the actual festival is tomorrow). This festival is the second most important festival in China, after Chinese New-Year. We’ve played some dice games at the office to win prizes and got some mooncakes. Playing dice games is apparently a tradition in Xiamen. Mooncakes are eaten around this festival in the whole country, but their taste can be a bit weird, depending on what filling you get.

Every Friday, we get our Chinese culture and language lessons. The first few lessons are dedicated to learning how to properly pronounce letters and combinations of letters in all 4 tones. Because of those tones, there are just so many ways to pronounce stuff, but getting the tone wrong will completely change the meaning of a word. Because of this, our teacher puts heavy emphasis on pronunciation and is currently drilling every combination into our heads (or rather, vocal cords?).

And now, I will proceed with enjoying my weekend. Next Thursday is National Day which means I get a whole week off. During this week, my father will be visiting me, we might visit Shanghai for a few days too! The Saturday after this week is “Special Working Day”, everybody will be at work that Saturday (might even be the best national holiday?). I still hope to make some progress in our project startup in the few days we have left next week though.

Here’s another picture dump:

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