U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University

China Experience Blog: Summer Internship 2011

Jason Fortin

June 26-30

Pizza on the Resume

Two of the Carnegie scholars teach a class at Tsinghua, and the semester has just ended, so the center threw a good-bye party for the students. I was invited to the party, as it was held right after work on Monday, and I was very excited to attend. Not only do I enjoy free food and socializing, but the center had ordered pizza for the students. I was instantly on the hook. Having worked at a pizza restaurant for four years it is difficult for me to go longer than a month without having a slice. I should not have gotten my hopes up. Similar to most food that is transplanted from one area to another, pizza was quite different in Asia. We had ordered form Mr. Pizza which is actually a Korean chain established in Seoul, Korea in 1990. It has 9 locations in Beijing and even a location in LA’s K-town. The concept—dough, sauce and cheese cooked in an oven—was still the same, but how it was cooked and the toppings were different. I prefer pizza with a little crisp, while every slice I have seen here is doughy. One topping set available was cheese, corn, pineapple, and nuts. Another pizza offered potato, bacon, sour cream, tortilla chips, mush rooms and corn. The pizza was pretty good though, but Mr. Pizza’s slogan, “Love for Women,” was the best part of the entire night. I am not sure how that slogan came about, but it definitely works.

This next session is a lesson to always be able to back up what you say on your resume. In the bottom section of my resume, I have an interests section. I thoroughly believe everyone should have an interest section; it is a great way to show employers you have a life outside of work and presents an opportunity to connect with your interviewer, grab the attention of human resources or even spice up the interview. Inside my interests I have “amateur food eating competitions.” Quite frankly, I love food eating challenges and have participated in pizza races, wings races, burger challenges etc. At our pizza party, I was reminded of this and was challenged to a pizza eating competition. To make it fair, it was two staffers versus me. They ate a total of 13 slices of pizza, and I gulfed down roughly 16—about two pizzas. I could have kept going, but had not prepared for the race and needed to ride my bike home, which was not a pleasant bike ride.

Beijing is internationally famous for its horrible smog, but is locally famous for its incredible thunderstorms. On Wednesday I was foolish enough to not check the weather and ended up caught at work during a thunderstorm. I ride my bike to work every day and had no way of riding the ten minute bike ride home without getting completely drenched in a suit. The storm lasted from 4:30 until 8:00, so I hung around the office and watched TV episodes that I had saved on my laptop. I love thunderstorms and I have not been disappointed in China. The sky turned completely black, thunder shook the building, rain drops pounded the roof and sides of the building, while lightning briefly illuminated the landscape. The picture to the left is the view from our center at no later than 4:45 pm. The sun does not set until about 7:45 in Beijing, so that can give you some idea of how dark it was.

On Thursday, only three days after my pizza extravaganza, my friend and I were craving burgers. Almost all western restaurants, at least the good ones are located in the Chaoyang District—roughly 45 minutes-1 hour away. We reasoned that if we were going to trek 45 minutes across town we might as well go to the best burger joint in Beijing. After about an hour of research we settled upon Let’s Burger and it was a good choice.  The menu was on the pricey side, roughly $12 for a burger, $3 for fries and $7 for a Mango smoothie, but it was worth every penny. The burger was juicy, huge and tasted like home. One of the best parts about the trip was the sauce bar we had access too. This sauce bar—good for burgers or fries—had a wide collection of sauces ranging from chocolate mayonnaise to sauerkraut to mango mustard and curry mayonnaise.

I have to skip town soon to refresh my tourist visa, I am only allowed to stay in Beijing for 60 days after each entry. I hope to go to Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Seoul. It all depends on which flight is the cheapest. This weekend I am going to Shidu on a company retreat, so look forward to an exciting post on my trip!

Return To Blog Home