A Chat With Zilan

Today we sat down with our Office Assistant Zilan Xia to learn more about her.

What do you do as an Office Assistant? Which are your main responsibilities?

As an office assistant, I manly help out the different departments with several tasks, for example the HR or Sourcing Department with research, or the Sales Department when they need help pack and send out samples. It’s mainly small things but someone needs to do it. And I like it.

What was your dream job when you were younger?

My dream job was actually to become a driver, but it doesn’t make sense for a woman to become a driver in China. However, it´s more accepted now than it used to be, so today you can see female taxi and bus drivers. I really love to drive, every time I’m back home and we are a few friends going out for dinner and drinks I´m always the responsible driver. But I prefer to drive in the US, too many people here in China!

What did you do before you started at Swedbrand?

Before I started working here I was the manager of a small restaurant in the US for about a year. The owners didn´t have any children, so they treated me as their own daughter. I really liked to work for them! Every time I go visit them they always cook my favorite food no matter how busy they are at the moment. And before that I worked as a babysitter.

How long have you worked at Swedbrand for? What do you like the most about the company?

I’ve worked here for almost 9 months now, I started in February 2017. I really like it. When I was younger I loved to collect different paper bags, and working here I learn so much about how they are made, the materials and everything else. I can say that so far I’ve really learnt a lot. I also love to work with my colleagues. They come from all over the world so I have the chance to learn from many different cultures, and we also speak English all the time so I can practice. Last but not least, I love to organize things and help out where I´m needed.

Describe Swedbrand with three words:

  • Passionate
  • Creative
  • Fast

You mentioned that you lived in the US before, when and why?

When I first moved to America with my family I was 20 years old. At that time, I was living with my parents and my family because my father’s sister moved there several years before. But after living there for one year my parents had to move back to China and I stayed by myself in the US for 6 years while studying. I´m a very shy person and not so good at making friends, so I felt very lonely, especially in the beginning.

What have you learned from living in the US?

After living in the US for so many years I really learnt to be independent. Before, when I was living with my family, I was always asking my mom for advice, but after living by myself I’ve learnt to do everything without tasking for help, which is good!

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to have kids and take care of them myself. I would love to have two so that they have each other, this is something I missed growing up in a Chinese family during the years of the so-called ‘One-child policy’.

However, I´m not the kind of person who plans her future. We will see how it goes and what the future holds.

Where are you from originally? Tell us something about it!

I’m from Guangxi province, Guilin is my hometown. I love the nature there, you’re always surrounded by mountains and rivers. I also like the food, we are famous for the Guilin noodles.

What is the difference between Shanghai and your hometown?

Shanghai is more international, and almost everyone knows English very well. The culture in Shanghai is also more open and more western, while in my hometown they are very traditional Chinese. I like both parts. Some aspects of the Chinese traditions are good, but sometimes the open-minded western culture is better.

In the U.S. the culture is much more open and free. You don´t need to care about what others are thinking, the most important thing is to follow your heart. But here in China you always need to think about your family and what everyone will think!

What do you do in your free time?

I really enjoy cooking, especially fried eggs and steaks. I like simple food that doesn´t require a lot of preparation. My husband likes everything I cook, so it’s easy for me! I also play online games with my husband, and we often go grocery shopping together. And at least once a month we go to the cinema! We love that!

How did you meet your husband?

I met my husband in 2010 through an online game. At that time, I was still living in the U.S. so we started a long-distance relationship. After I finished my studies in the States I moved back to China and moved in together with him. We got married right after and we’ve been married for almost one year now.

Do you have any hidden skills?

I had violin lessons for one year when I was younger, so I can play the “Happy Birthday” song, but I’m not very good at that. She laughs*

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