Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Plan

So, remember my rant about the Vogon-inspired visa process? The sands ran out of the hourglass on that front; there was just no way the whole process (which takes roughly a month) could be completed in time. The current teacher leaves at the end of term - which is around November 21 - and, naturally, the school wanted a time cushion to make the transition easier. With the mailman continuing to hold my police check hostage and the Chinese embassy still having no idea what I'm talking about when I ask about medical checks, it was looking like it wouldn't be sorted until sometime in mid-December. Needless to say, not an optimal outlook.

And so Plan B was born. Instead of going with a Z visa (which is the work visa), I'll be travelling to China on an L visa (which is a tourist visa). The process for the L visa was fairly simple; I just had to go to the visa centre (in my case, handily located right here in Montreal) and hand in the following:

  • the complete visa application (which included a complete itinerary for my planned visit to China, including all the where, what, and when of travels)

  • printed confirmation of hotel reservations

  • printed receipt for airline tickets

  • a passport sized picture of myself set against a white background

  • my passport

On October 29th, I had my appointment and "fairly" simple turned out to be "ridiculously" simple. My mom drove me downtown and, honestly, I think finding a place to park may have been the hard part. Finding the office with little difficulty, we went and I pressed a button on a touch screen asking the reason for my visit. In customary waiting-room style, a small piece of paper popped out of the nearby printer with a number on it. Miracle of miracles, however, I'd barely sat down when it called. I went up to the window and handed the girl my paperwork. She looked it over and told me that since I'd requested such a lengthy stay - I'd figured I'd be optimisitic and asked for about three months - she'd need to check with the consulate and get approval before moving ahead. As such she had to TBD the time for pick up and - bam! - done. I could leave. 

Like I said, ridiculously simple.

A few hours later, the girl called me on my mom's cell phone (I was at the veterans' hospital painting a pumpkin with my grandfather) and let me know the consulate had already gotten back to them, approving a visa valid for forty days. All I had to do then was write a letter accepting the offered terms and agreeing to amend my trip accordingly. My sister went and picked up the visa yesterday. It cost $96CAD. 

I am now officially leaving for Beijing on Monday, November 10 - just five days away (*gulp*)!

Accordingly, I've moved to include Buffy in my denial binge watching. 

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