Thursday, August 15, 2013

Living on a PRAYER

What a crazy two weeks it has been! I had such an interesting time adventuring around China. A few big take aways from traveling China by myself:

  1. It would have been much better with a boyfriend, maybe its time to settle down and make myself more available ;) 
  2. I probably should have waited until my Chinese was a little more conversational…
  3. I feel extremely safe in China—maybe because there is so much surveillance or people are severely punished for their crimes, or I don’t really read or pay attention to the daily news like I do in America.    
  4. Now I need a nice relaxing beach vacation…so much traveling, hiking, and sight seeing! 

I will explain in further detail later…when I get a chance I will post about my travels! So many beautiful places and pictures. 

Anyways, life in China has been HECTIC since I completed my last day of work on July 28th.

  •  If I was unable to extend my tourist (L Visa) today in Hong Kong I would be kicked out of the country on August 17th. I also would have no way to get back to Shenzhen to get my things since i had a zero entry tourist visa. 

  • In order to apply for a tourist visa I had to give the Embassy my travel itinerary. I worked on this yesterday but since my plans are so uncertain I had to make up a lot of it—luckily I have contacts in Shenzhen, Nanjing, and Beijing so I could say I will travel to see them. 

  • It took 3 hours to reach the embassy from Shenzhen—its on HK Island. Once arriving I waited in line for it to open, had to check my luggage for 20 minutes for a fee, had to go through security, toss out food, bottles, or any dangerous items (who knew an eyelash curler was a “dangerous item”?!)

  • The fastest express service for a visa in Hong Kong is 1 business day so I wont be able to pick up my approved visa until tomorrow at 10am (I had heard I would be able to get it back by 4pm today) 

  • Getting a tourist visa for an American citizen is almost double the cost for Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, and Europeans. (About $200 RUDE) 

  • Did I mention there is a typhoon here? The weather sucks. Its also summer, there was national moon cake day yesterday, Tuesday was chinese valentines day,  and its almost a weekend so rates at all hotels and even crappy hostels are more than I paid for my total  accommodation during my 12 day trip. So until I can check into my hotel I'm hopping between free wifi at sstarbucks and pacific coffee company (you can only get free wifi for 20 minutes here)

From one free wifi to the next...

a kid on the metro was wearing this on Chinese valentines day

  •  My last payment at my previous job was screwed up so I only received half of it. They made a mistake with my vacation days, doubled them, and then told me they couldn’t return the 16 days of annual leave (about $100 USD per day) unless my manager approved it. So I was back into work a few days after my last day to fix the problem.  Ten days later I received the rest of my money. 

  • Moving out and getting our security deposit back was a PROCESS. It took nearly 4 hours to move out and discuss/negotiate all of the deposit deductions and then 13 days to get the deposit back. The housing agency (by policy) was going to transfer the money back into my account but they couldn’t get my ICBC bank account name EXACTLY right. I told them it was KATIE LYNN SCHMIDT. They tried two times then asked me to go to the bank while I was in Chengdu to check my bank details (which my account name was KATIE LYNN SCHMIDT) and then tried one more time. Finally they told me since I was a foreigner the company could make a “special exception” and they could give me the cash. I took care of that right after arriving back in Shenzhen—straight from the airport. 

  • It was a HUGE realization what a problem it was or could be that I didn’t even know the exact name that my bank account was under. After I set up my original account last year I have gotten two new bank cards. When I got a new bank card the bank filled out all my paperwork (using my passport) since I couldn’t read the Chinese writing on the forms so i had NO idea what they put as my exact account name.

It has been such a long day, over the next week I should have a lot more time to relax and figure out my life. Looking forward to sitting on the couch all day and doing NOTHING.

I guess being such a planner doing things so last minute is a bit of an anxiety attack for me but I have to say since living in China I have learned to be a LOT more flexible…life goes on!

After writing about so many things that are CRAZY I must say that my last few days in Shenzhen at the end of July were really nice.

A friend had a going away dinner and we all went out together and I had a really nice going away dinner with my coworkers. If it wasn’t for them I really do not think I would have made it at my previous company for an entire year. So many really interesting people! And working so closely with local teachers and marketing staff really made a difference in getting support when I needed help in China and in learning so much more about the culture!

Some of our dinner group!

If you lost the game we were playing you had to eat some peppers

fried bananas!

northern china salad

Customer relation staff :D

I sat with most of the local staff and my closest coworker friends Jose and Grace. Dinner was really good for such a cheap Northern restaurant. We had to be asked to be quiet a number of times…lots of cheers-ing.

Going to miss them so much!

More to come! xoxo

1 comment:

  1. WOw- what an adventure getting the Visa! Love to read your posts- keep them coming!