Taking the sunshine along on my adventure
How did six weeks pass so quickly? I remember the day I arrived at NAPCO for my internship with the Publishing Business Group. The first person I met in the building was the security guard, and I’ve become accustomed to his kind greeting brightening my mornings. Six weeks, it seems, is long enough to form a habit: Getting up early every morning, catching the trolley and the bus, getting just 10 minutes of daylight. It was just the right rhythm for my life in Philadelphia. I think I’ll need time to readjust to life in Oxford, Miss., where I’m getting my master’s degree in May from the journalism school in Integrated Marketing Communications.
The trip to Philadelphia made my heart race. I’d just turned in my final paper, secured a sublet, and purchased a plane ticket for very early in the morning. Fortunately, I made it to the airport on time. When I arrived in Philadelphia after sunset on Sunday, my very first impression of the city was that it was wet. The rainy first two weeks here bothered me a lot, and made me feel depressed.
However, the office was just the opposite. On my second day in Philly, I started my internship. In the office, there was sunshine on everybody’s faces and in the air. I soaked up the sunshine and smiles every day. They helped me forget the freezing cold just outside the window. Philadelphia in the winter is dark and wet, but the NAPCO office is sunny and warm.
I didn’t realize it before I got here, but I think winter is the best time to do an internship. I got to go to a lot of parties! This might be a reason many companies do not offer winter internships, but I got lucky. There was the annual company holiday party, our group’s holiday happy hour, a new “third Thursday” series of get-togethers, and more. These made my internship more colorful and interesting. On one of our group’s chilly Friday afternoon coffee runs, we walked a few blocks into Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood to hit the good coffee shop, Café L’Aube, and I learned a new word: mural. The most impressive gathering was my farewell lunch. We went to a Chinese restaurant together. I was impressed with how well everyone used their chopsticks!
I started my journey from Kunming, Yunnan, China to America in the middle of August 2011. During a 20-hour flight with three transfers, throwing up the entire journey with airsickness, I imagined the inscription on my tomb, “Here lies Wanfei. She loved her dream and adventure to death.” Though I suffered getting here, I’ve enjoyed my time in this foreign country. Every day has been an adventure.
This is the first time I worked in a totally non-Chinese environment. I worried about culture shock and the language barrier. But the situation was better than I’d imagined it. I can feel the big difference between Chinese and American media. Also, though I’ve previously interned for a website and a radio/TV station, this is my first experience in print publishing. I learned a lot. It improved my information gathering skills, and definitely helped me improve my English—both speaking and in writing. It gave me a lot of opportunities to practice my poor English. It gave me a sense of where and how much I need to learn and improve. I am excited to see my name in the magazine at the very first time. (Editor’s Note: Read Wanfei’s contribution to App Watch in the February issue of Book Business.)
It’s time to say goodbye, though I don’t really want to do. Luckily, on my last day here the sun finally came out. There wasn’t a cloud in the blue sky. I am thankful. I will pack the sunshine and smiles from NAPCO and my Philadelphia adventure with me.
Editor’s Note: Wanfei is now back in Mississippi, but, an ever-curious traveller, she delayed her return by one day to head down to DC to see the inauguration. Her report: it was very crowded and hard to get to the Mall or see the parade and riding the subways made her feel like she was back in Beijing. What she did see? A lot of “people and trash,” but also a great cross-section of America in all the people who travelled to our capital for the celebration.