The waiting. We went on long adventure out to Los Angeles last week all for the glory of seeing that little official seal from the Chinese consulate slapped on the back of our documents. I have to tell you, it was a bit stressful.
I hold absolutely nothing against our new employers, but it is a very confusing process to go through and there's not a lot of resources out there to help you navigate the confusing world of dual country bureaucracy. Having a 15 hour time difference didn't help communication much either, but we managed to make it out to LA and bring all the relevant documents with us.
Man... that poor woman at the consulate who had to serve us. We were not prepared. I'm sure she's seen it a hundred times before because she managed to helps us plod through the whole thing with a smile on her face, but jeez... if I had been her I would've slapped me. We went up to her window five freakin' times before we had everything in order and even then, she said she couldn't guarantee they'd accept it. With a smile she took our documents and told us to come back four days later.
Four. Freakin. Days. Dropped into LA for most of a week, a thousand miles from home. Surprisingly, things went better than expected. Got to meet two friends I had previously only known through the internet and doing some podcasting online together. They were awesome (shout out to Kit and Dan!) and even paid for our dinner that night. That made things look up a bit. Then came a day tooling around Chinatown, which, depressingly, seemed to be mostly closed. But we followed that up with a Disneyland trip and our first time trying hot pot, so in the end, I'd say the waiting wasn't too terrible.
And then that magic moment. Waiting outside the consulate. Fingers gripping too tightly around the wheel of our rental car. Wife returns with documents. On the phone she sounded confused about whether we were accepted. I cringe. She opens the envelope. And there's that beautiful, indecipherable seal.
So now.. we wait. Aside from a physical I've been frantically trying to schedule with our doctor, we've done everything on our side and it's all in our employer's hands. Could be a couple weeks. Could be a month. They have to push our stuff through the Chinese legal system and who knows what that may entail. But for now, we wait.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.