I was told at the end of 2016 that I was on the budget to travel to Asia three times in 2017. I don't think I've traveled this extensively since 2006 or '07. I remember going three times a year 10 years ago. It was right before I started having babies and the trips back then were three weeks long. At least they are shorter now. I'm down to 11 days and that includes travel! My schedule is as follows:
13th Monday - flight to Newark, then Hong Kong
14th Tuesday - arrive in Hong Kong at 8 or 9pm, spend night near China boarder
15th Wednesday - stop at international grocery store and get breakfast foods for the week, drive into China, 1.5 hours, work in plush toy sample room until 7 or 8pm in evening
16th Thursday - drive to another part of China to visit an IC office, 6 of us stand over an engineer for 4 hours until we get the sound/mouth movement needed. Poor girl. I'm sure she was glad when we left. Return to our sample room and work till 7 or 8pm.
17th Friday - work in sample room
18th Saturday - work in sample room
19th Sunday - work in sample room
20th Monday - work in sample room return to Hong Kong in evening
21st Tuesday - fly to California
22nd Wednesday - meeting with client
23rd Thursday - return to Baltimore (home)
I'm not sure what condition I'll be in when I get home but for now I feel fine. Strange how the body adapts. I'm praying for down time after this trip and dreaming of all the fun things April will bring - Easter, Church Revival, a birthday party with friends from Maine, ladies children's day event from church, and time with friends. See, my 2nd Asia trip was supposed to be in April and I might have missed these things. It was hard taking this trip with short notice, but it will be better when April is here.
The question I'm asked the most by friends and family in the US is this - what do you do when you are in Asia? Well, I've accumulated 16 years of Disney plush toy design experience and I direct a team of pattern makers on how to make the plush toys look like the Disney character. I don't speak Chinese and I don't sew patterns. I create spec sheets and correction through Photoshop and Illustrator and a translator is needed to communicate with the team. We go shopping for materials, visit printing factories, embroidery factories, mechanism and IC factories while I'm here.
When I'm in the US, I review plush toys through photos. Being here in person allows us to get 200% more work done because we can work faster in person. There are no delays. So when we get big projects from Disney, I have to come here to work.
My job has given me amazing flexibility to work from home in Maryland so when Asia travel is needed, I do it. In time, there will be more creative people hired to work here what I'm doing now and this will not be always necessary. I might even miss it one day. For now, it's my life and I'm going to make the best of it.
This is the view outside my hotel window at 8:49am:
The bridge has been like this since I was here a year ago. I'm wondering if it will ever get finished.