Stress, stress and more stress.
I certainly don’t like it nor do I need it but ever since Little Flower died, the stress has been through the roof.
Stress of the air-conditioner being broken for a month now(92 degrees inside–uhg), ending the school year, saying goodbye, collecting-sending-scanning-signing-mailing vital documents for the new work visa in Sichuan, packing up everything, getting the movers’ dates approved, preparing to lead this summer’s orientation for the new teachers, getting plane tickets for home and in-country . . . With Little Flower around, there was always a happy face and wagging tail to come home to. No matter what happened in my life, my little dog always made me feel better.
Not having her around to relieve all that pressure and anxiety has been very difficult and just not fun at all.
The Work Visa Woes: China Cracking Down
The most annoying has been the new visa application process, which the Luzhou school, my current school and I have been working on for over 3 months. My current resident permit and work visa will expire July 29. To get a new work visa in another province with another school requires a great deal of paperwork, original documents and tons of official letters from my current school, the Amity Foundation and my future school.
Every provincial government Foreign Expert office has a different procedure and different requirements. Guangxi Province is quite a straight-forward affair. For Mr. Luo, our foreign affairs director at this school, it was work but not so difficult because he knew everyone in the government office. In fact, his uncle worked there. If there was a need for help, his uncle pushed me through for my foreign expert card and work visa. Thus for the past 3 years, it’s been somewhat of a breeze to be legally teaching in country.
During these past few years, however, other provinces are becoming more strict about giving out work visas to teachers at colleges. Many foreigners faked their diplomas or didn’t truly have the qualifications necessary to teach. Some didn’t have insurance coverage and caused the schools to be burdened with this when they became sick.
When I was in Sichuan before, it wasn’t quite so complicated or strict to get a work visa. Now is a different story.
The Current Regulations for Visa Application
Online application takes place first, which had me scanning tons of materials to email back to Luzhou (passport, current foreign expert card, old foreign expert card, insurance card, health booklet, photo headshots, diploma, signed contracts between me and the new school). It just seemed to go on forever.
Last week, everything was finally approved online and the originals of everything could be taken to Chengdu by Yin Ying, my foreign affairs director in Luzhou. I express mailed my passport to her along with all the originals I had except my diploma, which is in America. I only had a photo copy.
Naturally, when Yin Ying went to the government office to formally apply, they wouldn’t accept my paperwork because the diploma wasn’t the original. They wanted it. I didn’t have it. I couldn’t get it here in time. End of story.
We all have now been frantically putting together documents that vouch that I have graduated. I have a scanned letter from my university linguistic’s department. I have a scanned letter from Amity. I have a scanned letter from GBGM, my sending agency. And there is a letter from the Luzhou school. Not the originals (which are in the mail and won’t arrive until a week from the States) but at least it’s something.
Aside from the questionable diploma, the government official also said the proof of insurance was vague and sketchy. We need some other documentation that says I am covered. (What I have no idea.)
Heavens! What a fuss! Scrambling over the past 5 days to do all this stuff is exhausting. Thank the Lord for computers is all I can say.
And we are running out of time because I’m leaving July 10 fo the States. If the processing is not completed before then, I will have to re-apply for a work visa from the Chinese embassy in America ($400) and then we have to start from scratch when I return to China in August.
So, yes, it’s been very stressful, and, yes, I really, really miss my dog.
Some Bright News
Today, Yin Ying has informed me that tomorrow, she will try once again at the Sichuan Foreign Expert Bureau with all the new documents she has along with the old ones. If all goes well, the 2-week processing will begin and she can send back my passport. If not, well, . . . guess we start from scratch in August!
From Longzhou, China, here’s Ping An sent your way . . . and whole lot sent mine as well.