Bike: at My Own Pace ~~

            Now is my sixth week in Berlin and the fifth week of my internship. There are good news and bad news. Good news is I finally received one reply from a Chinese trader. I spent one whole day compiling 150 email addresses of Chinese traders and sending them my company’s offering email. Two weeks ago, I sent 100 emails but never got a single reply. My supervisor told me to work on other stuff while waiting for the reply. Yesterday, he wanted me to send out more emails; fortunately, I got one reply out of the 150 emails that I sent. In that email, the Chinese trader was asking if I could explain a little further on the meaning of “New German VAT regulation is targeting non-EU business”. I am thinking that he wants me to “convince” him official VAT registration and proper filing of VAT returns are crucial for his business in Germany. Thus, I am looking up for more information from the authority to support my reasoning. I will also consult my supervisor before replying to his email because I am too afraid of messing this up which I might lose a potential customer for my company.

            On the flip side, the bad news is my supervisor is not in the office today. I just heard from the company secretary earlier this morning. I “hate” this because I cannot reply the email today; I shall get his approval before replying the email. This also means that my job today is merely drafting the reply email and compiling more email addresses as well as sending more emails to Chinese traders. This is quite disappointing ;d :d because my supervisor planned to show me the company bookkeeping system and guide me through the VAT returns filing process of existing customers. I could have done more interesting tasks today, but the reality is the extreme opposite. I guess this is the typical work life as an intern.

            For my personal life, I had a relaxing weekend. It was physically demanding and exhausting to travel every weekend for the past four weeks; hence, I decided to give myself a break last weekend. On Saturday, I did not join my peers exploring Berlin city; Instead, I did grocery shopping for food supply this week and spent the rest of my day watching movies as well as doing homework in my hostel. I did feel bad and left off for not doing something fun with my friends, but I felt recharged. I finally got a good 8-hour sleep after 1 month; I never got enough rest in Berlin due to busy internship and packed travel schedule coming back-to-back.

            On Sunday, I went to the Thai market again. I heard it got shut down by government because the vendors were not registered; luckily, the market was still open. The Thai market is not only a tourist spot but also a place for Germans to hang out during the weekends; it has become a go-to place for locals and foreigners. Therefore, it gets to keep operating despite government deterrence. During this visit, I met three Thais who are working in Germany; they recommended me to try Thai custard, fried sticky rice and coconut filing dessert. They all taste crazily delicious, and I want to check them out again next weekend. I also had a special looking Thai cuisine; it was Thai curry served in a tiny rectangular paper bowl. I had a Thai yellow curry and a Thai milk curry. I wished I had more!

            Then, I went to Hackescher Markt on my own. Sadly, the market was closed. So, I went to a nearby famous bakery. I had the well-known Berliner Pfannkuchen with Vanilla cream. It was too good so I got a second one with Chocolate cream! xD After that, I decided to rent a bike and cycle along the river. It was my first time touring around not using Google Maps. My German colleague convinced me to do so as she had great experience and explored some underrated cool places by doing the same. Exceeding my expectation, I came across many fascinating places thanks to my bike tour. First, I bumped into Berlin Dom. It is the prettiest and most iconic cathedral in Berlin. Next, I saw the DDR museum. An interactive museum where visitors can learn about German History through senses. I also checked out Berliner Fernsehturm. I went up 203 meters and enjoyed 360-degree view of the gorgeous city landscape from top. I like this TV tower because it has a clear guide that points out interesting building to look for at every angle of the platform. Along the river, I stopped at an extremely beautiful river side bar. The intertwined plants and wooden seats made it a perfect place to hang out with friends and enjoy the breathtaking sunset. There is also the world smallest disco called Teledisco. It is just the size of a portable bathroom! I was fascinated by the view of the river side bar. Therefore, I decided take a nice photo of it from the other side of the river. However, the opposite site was super creepy. It had a closed bar and many tents. A guy told me that this place was the housing area for the unemployed. I was amazed by it because there were a couple “houses” that looked very beautiful. Last but not least, I ended my bike tour at East Side Gallery. The wall paintings were absolute gorgeous; the art works were realistic, flawless and good-looking. If I were to take individual photo for each of them and print them out, they look exactly like a high quality poster!

             Before this internship, I am a leader who always strive to lead my team to achieve the best results. This often times mean my team members would feel exhausted and exploited over time as they had to keep up with my fast pace. In my internship, my supervisor is a very easy going person; he wants the best for me, but at the same time he wants me to grow and learn at my own pace. Therefore, he usually asks me to do my own research on topics related to my job. If I come back with correct answers, we will proceed to the next topic; if I got it wrong, he will tell me to look into it again. Sometimes I did not get what he wants until the third and fourth attempts, but he would still patiently guide me to look for the right answers. I will learn from this experience and apply his leadership skill into my later position. I shall be a leader who focuses more on the growth of my team members than the outcomes. Only when I have a team of great individuals, we can achieve the impossible. One point that I disagree with his leadership style is there is a communication gap between me and him. He always wanted me to do my own research and often times what I got was not what he wanted; this can be work inefficiency and waste of time. I will prefer to talk things out and close the gap of miscommunication. I will keep this in mind in my future leadership role.