September 3, 2013
by Hayeon Shim

Hello HKS!
Two of my friends were visiting China so we took a weekend trip to Beijing this past weekend. Contrary to a few of my past trips, my trip to Beijing had a packed schedule. In the morning, we headed to Forbidden City. While it was merely 8 o’clock in the morning, it was already filled with tourists. Forbidden City was just as I had remembered from history of architecture class –city within a city, surrounded by defensive walls. But what I didn’t realize was truly how massive it was and all the intricate details within it. Especially when I got out to Jingshan Park where I could oversee all of Forbidden City, I could truly put to scale how big the Forbidden City was. The best part was seeing how modern architecture including the CCTV tower, National Center for the Performing Arts along with many others have somehow found their place in Beijing. While I loved seeing the traditional and historical side of Beijing, I couldn’t past the opportunity of seeing the iconic buildings of Beijing—NCPA, Bird’s Nest, Water Cube and CCTV. While all of them have become a part of Beijing, I couldn’t help but notice that the Bird’s Nest and Water cube have become monuments to highlight China’s big moment rather than functional sporting venues. Nevertheless, I was ecstatic to get to see them in real life.

The next day, we headed out to the Great Wall. We took a friend’s advice to head out early and to go to Mutianyu rather than Badaling which is a major tourist part of the Great Wall as it is the closest to Beijing. To our surprise, the Great Wall was completely empty and not a single person in sight when we started our hike. To see the wall stretch through the mountains was spectacular but to have it all to ourselves was absolutely an amazing experience. We couldn’t help but stop every 5 seconds to allow ourselves to be amazed and just take it all in. After the Great Wall, we headed back to Beijing to stroll through Temple of Heaven and headed to Beihai Park to relax.

I had such an amazing weekend in Beijing and even after two months of being here, I’m still amazed at this opportunity to work and live overseas. And after many weekend trips, I’m starting to realize that Shanghai has somehow already become a home away from home.

But not to be mistaken that there hasn’t been work to be done. I’ve continually been working with the hospitality team here in Shanghai. No matter what office I am in, what project I am working on, I find myself working with a group of talented people with so much knowledge that I could learn from. And this one has not been any different. I’m learning something new everyday whether it’s small or big. And best part of being surrounded by people that are passionate about their work, I find myself renewing my own passion in the work that I do and inspired to challenge myself. Thanks HKS. :)

Until next time, Hayeon