I am often asked how working for a Chinese company is different. Telecom giant Huawei has its US headquarters here in Santa Clara, California, in the middle of the Silicon Valley. In the last 16 months, I have found much is the same as working for any technical company. Huawei’s cafeteria offers the same food categories as we had at Sun Microsystems: grill, Chinese, today’s special (usually Mexican), soup, salad, and sandwiches.
However, there are differences. Last week was the Mid-Autumn Festival – like Thanksgiving but with different traditions. We Americans grow up with turkey, corn, and pumpkin stories involving Pilgrims and Native Americans. I figured there was a history for Mid-Autumn Festival moon cakes too. So far, I have heard three different versions. My favorite is the ancient tale about the overthrow of Mongol rule helped by secret messages smuggled in moon cakes. There is also one about the round cake shape reflecting family togetherness, and a third story about shooting ten arrows at the sun.
I was recently invited to a party in a Huawei conference room – a special tasting of fancy frozen moon cakes, just arrived from Hong Kong. Later, everyone in the company was given their choice of up to three traditional baked moon cakes to eat or take home – take your pick free from open baskets in the cafeteria. Having been born and raised in San Francisco, I have always liked the red bean moon cakes but Date and Lotus Seed fillings are good too. Green Tea filling is my least favorite.
Last Saturday was the 16th annual San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival. This was the first year that Huawei in Santa Clara entered a crew for the Treasure Island race. Huawei’s office in Texas also entered a crew into their local dragon boat race. I wrote earlier about Huawei’s passion for ping pong. So, some food, sports, and traditions are different but in many ways we are all geeks together.
Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson