Friday, August 19, 2011

The China Diaries: Apply Yourself

The paperwork for my work visa application arrived yesterday. It contained an invitation letter to come work in China, and an Alien Work Permit. I assume I won't be greeted in China by a chorus of accusations that I'm stealing jobs from The Real Chinese. There's nothing to make you feel important like an express package from China containing official government documents. I imagine I would feel nervous if I got such a package from my own government.

In the last year, I have had to fill out three important applications; JET, a Brazilian tourist visa, and this one. I forget how much I hate filling out documents like this, and preparing the ancillary materials. I assume that I will incorrectly fill out just the right box, or neglect to include just the right photocopy, for them to reject me. JET was the worst, on account of needing to do everything in triplicate; I made the poor woman at the Post Office wait while I double-checked everything in the envelope, after having just double-checked before getting in line, and after having double-checked it before leaving my apartment, after having... you get the idea. Fortunately, this application is only six sides of a sheet of paper, and it's pretty straight forward. But that anxiety, rest assured, is still there.

I was going to use a visa agent for my application originally, but it turns out my employer, English First, would like me in Xi'an a work earlier than I'd thought, so I will be taking an impromptu trip to Washington, D.C. this weekend to get my visa on single-day service; offered, I assume, for those times you just gotta get away. There were a few hours of excitement yesterday when I thought I would get to go to Chicago, for one last visit with my friends there. Turns out that's the wrong jurisdiction. So instead of a $500, two-day trip to a city I know very well, I'm taking a $1,000-plus-hotel, three-day trip to a city where I don't know anyone. Maybe I'll see a congressman. I can glare at him.

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Unlike the single-entry CELTA Diaries (It would have been pretty boring for you), The China Diaries will become the predominant part of this blog. That is contingent on my being able to access Blogger in China, of course.

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