Monday, October 24, 2011

week 57_Out of the Office!

Even though I only recently returned from the Greenbuild Conference in Toronto, this past week I had a few more opportunities to get out of the office again.

As part of our firm's community outreach, I was invited to critique Interior Design projects at a local Taiwanese University. In advance of the trip I was a bit thrilled and nervous at the same time - studying up on my design vocabulary, flipping through a few textbooks - just trying to jog my memory. I wasn't sure if my daily tasks would be relevant to the students' projects, and figured I'd better brush up on my theory/educational jargon.

To my relief, I actually did have plenty of input for the students. First of all, the projects were great - truly! - and it was really fun to see these creative minds thinking outside the box. [Goodness knows, the average client and the average budget don't allow for enough of that untamed creativity!] However, we also really 'gave it to them', so to speak. Based on our own experiences and at the urging of the design professors, our judges team decided to give these students as much feedback as possible to push them towards even more sophisticated final presentations. Some of the students probably weren't prepared for the reality of some of our critiques --- but it can't all be fun and games, can it?! All in all the day was really fun, and I hope I get to return for the final judging this November. [I was also relieved to see how far I've come in the few years since my own University studies] :) I can't wait to see how the students' designs evolve! I know they will impress.

That was Tuesday, and on Friday our company closed the office for a day of team building and corporate training. We returned to Camp Taiwan (for my loyal blog readers, you may remember it from last year's company outing). The weather was drizzly and foggy all day - we have officially transitioned from the summer season to the cool & wet season it seems - but the activities carried on, rain or shine. It was nice to be settled in this year. I remember feeling so new at last year's outing. Camp Taiwan reminds me so much of the camps I attended when I was younger. It seems like I spent at least 2 weeks every summer exploring the wilderness --- and now how often do I get to do that??? Well... at least living in Taiwan has given me some opportunities! And some motivation to get outdoors. The day out of the office was appreciated. There is so much laughing and camaraderie amongst our group. I like it.

To wrap up, we feasted on Taiwanese "barbecue" [This just means food cooked on a small grill, from what I can tell]. One thing is for certain, no one at our company should ever go hungry! We are constantly feasting... with some time to work in-between from one feast to the next of course. The barbecue was tasty, but the best part was roasted marshmallows for dessert! We even had almost-s'mores (marshmallow placed between 2 Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies), and the poor Taiwanese who've never tasted a classic s'more still don't know what they're missing!!!

After a long (and winding) bus ride back through the mountains and home, I finally arrived at my apartment around 9pm(?). Exhausted, but it was a great week! :)

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