I haven’t written on this in a while, and I have a colourful array of excuses which will explain why – 1) I forgot my password, 2) I have been so consumed with misery at the glacial pace of this whole process, 3) I broke a limb. One of these is true, another is partly true, and the third is bollocks… All of my limbs are as whole and in tact as the day I was born (and some more so, skull you clever boney orb you).
So for a period of time about 3 weeks ago, I was starting to freak out. Like proper freak out. Picture the scene – I’ve completed my TEFL, waited for the certificate to come in the post, received certificate in post, and emailed this to China. I’m home dry! This underwhelmingly standard sized (A4) piece of card with my name on the front is my golden ticket into the country. Next my Waiban can send me the Work Permit and I can apply for my visa and book my flight… I’d be there in two weeks, max.
Instead, nothing. No word from China. I’m patiently waiting for my colleague to be sent his certificate. I’m patiently waiting for my Waiban to post my documents. I’m sitting behind my computer screen for 2 weeks, refreshing my inbox every 52 seconds to check if anything has come in (foolish waste of clicking, gmail is totally ahead of the game when it comes to instant refreshing). Nothing. I always thought of myself as a patient person – when I’m stuck in traffic I rationalise that stressing about the situation doesn’t get me there any quicker, so sit back and appreciate the extended karaoke session that a Celine Dion playlist inevitably inspires. But I felt as though the control over this situation was taken right out of my hands. My fate and future is subject to the whims and folleys of other people’s decisions. What if China decided they didn’t need us any more? They’ve managed the first two weeks of the semester without me, why bother going through the long process of getting me there, paying me, putting me up in 2-3 star accomodation with sit-down toilet (hopeful)? I wish I’d bothered to send myself a password reminder for my wordpress account so I could have documented how I was feeling right then. I was really and honestly freaking out. But this watered down account will have to do.
Past tense! I hear you cry. Yep, slightly later than scheduled (by my brain), my Work Permit was posted to me. Enter stage 2 of Mission:Refresh computer screen. The EMS tracking number for the documents was an oasis after miles of barren and dusty desert. I’d almost lost hope, when suddenly the power to watch a tracking screen update once a day was handed to me. Oh beautiful gift. It saved me, it quenched my thirst and allowed me the energy and faith to believe.
Then it arrived, I filled out the form and posted it off together with some discretely sultry looking passport photos that, hindsight tells me, will probably mean it’ll be rejected and I’ll have to start again. But providing that doesn’t happen, I’ll have my Visa in 5 days!
I’ll be waiting for my colleague to get his visa about a week later) before flying out. It’s funny how I was quite happy to sign up for this and go out into the big wide world by myself (think Miss Independent, Bootilicious, Man I feel like a Woman, and various other 90’s female empowerment propaganda, and this is what was going through my head when I signed up. And quite rightly so). But human nature has reared its ugly head and as a result I’ve grown quite accustomed to the idea of sharing this experience, of having someone else to be scared with (or in close proximity to), to speak English with. So rather than go a week apart, I’ve said I’ll wait and we’ll go together. CLINGY MUCH??!???