What was your reaction when you were first told about going to China to train QVC presenters?
I was really chuffed to be honest. They asked me if I wanted to be considered. Then I went through the selection process including an hours chat to the device President in China, then he chose me to be the one to go! I was delighted.
Was the smog and the humidity as bad as everyone says it is?
On the worst days yes absolutely - look at the pictures of the big building in clear days versus the worst day .
When I was there I was lucky- sometimes it's even worse than that. We had some days under 100 on the pollution scale, so it wasn't so bad. But by the time I came home I did have a little cough.
Although I did take an industrial face mask that I bought from B&Q-looks like Darth Vader!
Can you describe a typical working day for us?
Breakfast in the hotel, one hour journey in the crazy traffic to the QVC /CNR Mall studios. Meetings all day, all one to ones with the presenting team. An hours journey home and then out to dinner, or back to the hotel to crash! Ha ha. I just about got used to it by the end of the 3 week trip and then it was time to come home :-)
Was the language a barrier?
Oh gosh yes! I spoke with the translator 95% of the time. Some spoke English but not very much and my lovely translator came with me to every meeting and. She was brilliant. It took some getting used to though, because you have to use a different part of your brain or it certainly felt like that! And talk slower and use clear plain English. Again after two weeks I was just about used to it. If I ever lived there, I would definitely learn more of the language, but I didn't really even need to know any words because we used Google translate and an app called 'we chat' which everybody has out there which has an inbuilt translate function!
Were you able to spend much time sight seeing and if so what were some of your favourite destinations?
Without a shadow of a doubt it was the great Wall of China -Possibly because we went up in a chair lift and came back down again in a mountainside toboggan!
Yes really! It was superb fun and I highly recommend it. We also saw the temple of heaven my second favourite, and the forbidden city which was on a clammy day and there were so many people, I didn't really enjoy it that much. But I'm glad I saw it.
Did you make lots of new friends that you are going to keep in contact with?
As much as I can! I hooked up with lots of them on the We chat app so I can always text them a message. It's a bit like WhatsApp. However the real joy was getting to know a QVC Italy lady called Marina. She was Crazy funny and we had lots of fun. I hope to keep in touch with her for sure.
If you could pick a highlight what would it be?
Seeing the looks on some of their faces as I explained about how to sell on television. The whole system was new to many of them who had less than a years experience. And I felt very appreciated. When I left they gave me a T-shirt with pictures of the team on the front and back! It was very touching.
How did you cope with eating a different diet and what was your favourite dish?
Yuck, one of the worst things was the food. I had a little kitchenette at the hotel so I could have cooked but they were really many supermarkets nearby with reasonable prices. And sometimes it was hard in restaurants to get good vegetable dishes.
I found the little noodle cafe nearby QVC which did and aubergine dish which was delicious - I think I had it five days on the trot!
I know you take regular exercise, were you able to go to the gym in China?
Yes I do. But did I go to the gym? Not as much as I should've done mainly because of the schedule.
But I did take my body blade with me so I was able to do some of that every day :-)
Do you have plans to travel overseas again with QVC?
I'd love to-but we'll take turns. Sara Griffiths is going out to QVC France which launches this summer, for instance. I would be over the moon to be asked again though. And would I go back to China? Yes I would… Just not yet!
Thank you very much Debbie, it sounds like you had a fabulous, if very tiring three weeks in China! I'm sure all Oapschatters have enjoyed reading this great interview. I look forward to hearing about your next adventures!