Today's mission: extend my visa!
Because of the crazyness of life/non-being in office of the international department people...I have not extended my visa for this year, and it expires tomorrow! So I woke up early today on a mission to get legal.
Because nothing is logical/easy in this crazy world, extending my visa took almost all day. My friends and I laugh that if you get one thing done a day in Ch.ina, then that was a productive day. Things just take a lot of time and patience and humor.
I'm really relieved to be done with this errand. The gov. has my passport until next week, when I go back to the office to get my new visa. I can't believe this is my FOURTH year long Chi.na visa. My passport is going to run out of pages soon. ai yi yi.
Here's some pics:
Yesterday I met my friend Ji at a cute cafe. She was a little bit late, so I started talking to the cafe's cat. Next thing I knew the cat was in my lap and asleep! I want a pet so bad!!! The other customers kept looking at me like I was a crazy person because I was sitting there with the cat in my lap and a big smile on my face. Pets make life better. I want one. I found out later her name is Xiao Qian.
Today, Hannah and I met for lunch and the bike ride to the visa office (about 30 mins by bike). Along the way we rode beside West Lake and stopped for some pics. We really do live in a beautiful place. It's sad that after living here so long I sometimes forget how special this city is. I spend my days in classrooms and my dorm, when there is so much beauty around.
This pic was taken by self-timer while balanced on my bike basket!
Then we tried for some jumping pics....hahaha...and the natives kept thinking they were getting a free show because they don't understand RUNNING SKIRTS...
After our photo shoot and running into some friends who were also biking (small world), we made it to the visa office and found a hoard of foreigners also wanting to remain legal citizens in the Red Country. A mess of languages filled the air. I ran into a Turkmen friend and a Nepalese girl from church. All with the same mission: get a number so we could be seen this afternoon.
The way the system goes is people line up about an hour before the doors open. Then when the doors open, there is a bum rush to a number machine. When the numbers are gone, you have to go home and try again the next day. This happened to me last year, so this year my friends and I wised up and showed up an hour before they opened again after their 2 hour lunch break (rough life, huh?).
Hannah was a genius and got to the front of the line ot get me a number. I then had to wait about 1.5 hours until my number was called (I'm tellin' you, there is soooo much wasted time here). So what do you do with 1.5 hours outside the visa office?
More jumping pics!
Finally I was called, I sat for 2 seconds, handed the police officer my form, signed a paper, and left without ever saying a word.
And with that, I'm officially legal for another year in Chi.na.
walk slow. xoxo.