Faces of Ibeo – Flowers and silk: Liangli Fei

Just like last month, we would like to introduce you to a “Face of Ibeo”. Therefore, we spoke to Liangli Fei. What “Brötchen” (bread rolls) have to do with her first experiences in Germany and where you can meet her in summer – all of that and more here.

1.    Who are you and what do you do at Ibeo?

My name is Liangli Fei and I’ve been at Ibeo for 4 ½ years. I am a developer in the Technical Planning Team and develop software for autonomous driving.

2.    What made you initially consider choosing Hamburg as your workplace?

That is a slightly different story: I didn't come to Germany to study or to work, but because of my husband. Anyways, I got to know Hamburg as a nature-bound city and I really enjoy the fresh northern air.

3.    Can you tell us, what your most memorable experiences are from your first weeks living in Germany?

Brötchen (bread rolls) *laughs*. When I went shopping in the beginning, I bought a lot of bread rolls. They are very often served for breakfast in Germany. At that time, I couldn't speak the language that well – I was maybe A1 level. At the bakery it was then difficult to decide. People are already waiting behind you and I didn't know all the varieties. In China, there are often only very sweet rolls.
I then developed a strategy. I wanted to work my way from bread basket to bread basket and gave each basket a number. But then suddenly the bakers switched the baskets😉.

4.    Can you name a cultural difference between China and Germany you had to grow accustomed to?

After I learned the German language, I decided to go studying again. I noticed some cultural differences at that time and one situation imprinted itself on my memory:
I was visiting a fellow student – that was my first contact with other students outside of the university. When I got to her, she opened the door for me and spread her arms to hug me. But I didn't understand that, because in China you bow more and don't have this physical contact.
At first, I thought that she wanted to show me something and then looked along her arm at the ceiling *laughs*. She then said to me “I want to hug you!”. Even today, I still have to get used to this form of greeting.

(Editor's note: Outside of the pandemic, of course 😉)

5.    What do you like about the German language and what do you dislike about it? Do you have a favorite German word?

I like it very much that there are so many words for similar things. I mean the language is very diverse. For example, the word “gehen”. You can also say “bummeln”, “schlendern” (Editor’s note: in English “strolling, strolling”...) In Chinese, you have this just combined with adjectives. 
This is what makes the language so lively: “strolling” always reminds me of walking in Mönckebergstraße after work. And that's such a relaxed feeling when the sun is shining. 
What I don't like is the pronunciation. It is very difficult for foreigners. The 'r' in particular is difficult, for example with the mountain area “Harz” and the “Hals” (neck).

One word that I still find difficult is " herumquengeln” (whining). In this context, I have another story to tell:

I was on a business trip in Japan with my colleagues, and we worked until late at night because of the time difference. Then I made some noise because I was tired from the jetlag. And my colleague said that I shouldn't complain (herumquengeln). I didn't know the word and she then kept asking me throughout the trip, how do you pronounce the word again? * laughs *

6.    What are the most exciting (technically / professionally) challenges that you face in your work for Ibeo?

That's when the Isuzu project comes to mind. I was lucky and got to oversee the project. AD had a contract with the Japanese car dealer for an autonomous bus. I can speak Japanese and was able to introduce the software to the customers. I was then allowed to oversee the project together with a colleague, which I had a lot of fun with. But unfortunately, the project was canceled due to covid.

7.    What do you enjoy most on a "normal" working day?

As is so often the case, sometimes boring tasks alternate with exciting ones. But it's always the most fun with my colleagues. Because I also learn a lot, whether linguistically or experience-wise.
Oh and one thing I like very much: In summer, I always buy strawberries during the lunchbreak in the field near Ibeo. And most of the time I eat them right away. These are great memories! I'll do that again after the pandemic!

8.    What task / project, which you worked on at Ibeo, are you particularly proud of?

There is a Chinese saying that literally means something like: "Put flowers on the silk". The moral of this is that silk is beautiful itself, and flowers make it even better.
What I mean by that: I am proud of the collaboration with my team. I am happy that I can contribute my flowers. I opened my eyes very wide and got to know new things 😊 Teamwork is this “silk” for me, because I work with people from Legal, Sales and Marketing, among others, and this combination is Ibeo’s "silk".

🌸 I would like to introduce you to a flower. 🌸

I am very glad that I know Japanese. I have a lot of friends from Japan and I also watch a lot of movies, therefore, I also understand the Japanese mindset: for example, that they don't like to speak English. So, I tried to motivate them to ask questions. I wrote a Japanese speech for them and they were very happy with it. Also, they got to know the product better. That was my little flower.

9.    Is there anything else you want to share with us? 😊

Preparing for our interview made me reflect on my past at Ibeo. Especially to my colleagues, who have always been very patient. I was very quiet in the beginning and needed a little more time. And I am very grateful that I was able to ask a lot. Even with a lot of little things. I am very happy and grateful to my colleagues. I am happy to say that on this occasion.

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