Working in Small Town America
By: Qinyan Guo (Carly), Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar
Qinyan (known as Carly) is an Ambassador Scholar on the Work & Travel program working in Williston, North Dakota. This is her second year on this program. Read about how this year has been different for Qinyan!
Today is July 3rd, which means it has been 21 days since I arrived to Williston, North Dakota. This place is full of beautiful and nice people.
Everything started at 7 o’clock in the morning today. I like to wake up early and go to work early, but sometimes before I go to work at McDonald’s, I like to sit in the lobby of the Vegas Motel and with my journal, and while quietly listening to music, write done all the things that I see here. These times will be the best memories I will have from my time in the U.S. As I write this, I am sitting in the lobby of The Vegas Motel , recording everything that happened today .
I am learning new things everyday at work. Since I have arrived, I have learned how to use the coffee machine. I have also been learning all the different types of food at McDonald’s, even the name of condiments! We do not have a lot of this food in China, so it is all new to me! But I am a quick learner.
My job today was the “runner .” At McDonald’s some people choose to have their food inside, while others buy their food by drive-thru. My main job duty today was to pack and layout food for the people who choose to eat INSIDE the restaurant. The way I do this is that I first look at a computer screen where all the food is listed, per customer. Then I take the completed products and place them on the tray or in a bag. This morning I was a little stressed, because I had not done this duty before. It wasn’t an easy job, but after I found out I could do it, I was so proud of myself! Yes, that was exactly what I felt – proud of myself! We have really nice leaders and supervisors here. Jason is one of my favorite leaders, because he always creates an atmosphere that is fun and happy in McDonald’s. So even when it is a really busy and stressful working day, if you have Jason around you, you will still fell really happy.
One of the best things about working at McDonald’s is that I can have a free meal everyday. It is not only a means of saving money, it also means we have more time to talk with our co-workers, while grasping a better understanding of the food at McDonald’s. During one of these meals today, I told my co-workers that we don’t eat cheese in China. They are so surprised! Some other differences I told them about were that in China, we use vinegar, soy sauce, green onion, and garlic every time we cook, and in China we drink hot water instead of cold water with ice. My American co-workers that that was especially odd.
I see some of my co-workers as my “foreign relatives.” Tempsen (the one who hired me for this job) is like my American mom and is a very nice boss. Jason , whom I talked about before, is my American Big Bro; I can always count on him to protect me. Maria (in the photo with me) comes from Mexico and she is my Mexican mom. There was one day that I was not in a good mood. I didn’t feel like talking to people, so I went to her place and asked her to teach me how to make burritos. She talked with me for a while and it reminded me of my mom in China, I almost cried. So since this day, I now have a Mexican mom!
This is the second time that I have come to the U.S. on the Work and Travel program and this has been a totally different experience than last time. Before I left China, whenever I talked to people about going to North Dakota, they would ask “why North Dakota?” This made me a bit worried about coming to this community. But now, honestly, I love it here! I love it is quiet. I love the people. I love the sunshine. I love this small town of Williston!
Oh! Also, another exciting thing happened to me today – I finally found someone who can speak French! Oh yeah!
Tomorrow is a new page, and I am so excited to welcome it with a big smile! GO Greenheart!