Happy Lunar New Year from the USC US-China Institute!
Scott Goldman - USA Pavilion Student Ambassador
How I Survived Golden Week October 15, 2010
I tried to arrive as early as possible today to prepare for the upcoming craziness. I arrived in the office after quickly signing out some radios at 7:28am. The inbox is already overflowing with over 79 emails. First one…”thank you for the confirmation of our request.” What a relief, the first email took no time at all and required zero action. I think this is just the calm before the storm!
The madness is starting. Some of our Chinese colleagues are out for the day due to the holiday! We are low on staff and high on guests!! Right now I am answering emails and trying to get some of our sponsors into other pavilions…jia you!
Catherine, a colleague in protocol has finally gained access to our website and workspace, thanks to the heroics of our valiant leader Peter Brenner Winter.
It’s so busy. (Pick up the phone)…”USA Pavilion Protocol Dept.” Before I can finish the word , the other phone rings, at the same time a van pulls up downstairs with 20 plus large cardboard boxes packed tight with gifts for our Protocol Guests. Ugh! Too much to do. Peter comes over to check on how this article is coming…more requests, emails, phones, ahhhh!!!!!
The boxes are finally all upstairs…I can relax for two seconds…just as I sit down Sponsorship walks over with a laundry list of emails to check on, outgoing visit requests to book. I reach for the phone to start calling my counterparts at other pavilions. The phone is too far, the damage has been done. In trying to overextend and reach for the dreaded ringing box, my pants get caught on the chair’s armrest. A shrill, shrieking, scratching noise sounds for what seems like an eternity. Right in the middle of all the craziness my pants rip!
My Pants are ripped, I have to go on a visit and my jacket is down the hall on the other side of the pavilion locked away in the cloak room. I run down the hall, using my fingers as safety pins to keep the tear more or less clandestine. Finally, I reach the cloak room, and throw on my jacket. There…concealed. Time to go visit with the Minister or Transportation for all of China…do we have to reserve seats for him? What’s the gift? Minister hmm…sounds like kind of a big deal…still not sure as this is only day 2 on the job!
Three visits and four mistakes later, I’m starving. I go upstairs to get my green pass (the expo version of AMEX). Hungry, weak and tired I plan to go grab lunch; a quick bite, but more importantly a few minutes of serenity. Just as I go to leave…guess what…more phone calls. This time, Saudi wants to know if the Deputy Commissioner General’s Cousin can get in through fast access…what?! I don’t know, sounds like he is one cousin too many times removed for fast access, but they asked and we have to protect the relationship! I process the request and sprint downstairs. Where too? Where else but my favorite Expo hotspot, the King of Burgers!
Of course the minute I take a bite out of that big juicy burger, cell phone rings…”can you come back?” “we need an SA (Student Ambassador) on the next visit!!! Sure I say, “I’ll be back in 30 min, I just stepped out to lunch.” 30 min of course is too long, just called the POC (Point of Contact) and the guest and his entourage of 25 will be here in 10!!
After a barrage of visitors, more opening doors, smiling and pretending like I actually know who it is that I am catering to, the day is coming to a close. I’ll probably jia ban (stay late) for a few more hours.
Protocol is fast-paced, busy, but enjoyable. You need to be on top of your game at all times, work well with your peers and give it your all. Remember the mission, we are here to put on a good face for the Etats-Unis, show off the good old American Spirit and do our small part for diplomacy and progress!
Stressful and crazy, I know when its all said and done I will be thrilled to be one of the fortunate few who has been a member of the Protocol Team.
As far as Golden Week goes, it’s crazy but I think I’m gonna make it. Like Aretha Franklin said…I will survive, even if my pants didn’t!!
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