How’s it going, y’all? It turns out that, as per usual, things took a lot longer than I expected they would. Yay paperwork … or not. >_< However, I’m happy to say that I have finally made the move to China. In fact, I’m typing this while sitting in the Beijing airport for my final flight to Wuhan. I know, I know. I thought I’d be moving either at the end of August or beginning of September, but hey, better late than never, right?
First off, I’ve had a lot of people asking me what it takes to get ready to go, so let me explain a little. There’s a lot of paperwork, long authentication processes, and so many steps that have to be done exactly right. Documents you need include a letter of invitation, fully authenticated certification (my MLS diploma in my case), an authenticated letter of good conduct from the police department, and an intense medical form. And that’s just to get your work permit, which you need before you can apply for a work visa, which you need before you can fly out. As for authentication, first you have to get the document(s) notarized by its granting institution. Next you have to get it/them authenticated by your secretary of state’s office. Finally, it/they must be delivered by hand to the Chinese consulate for your region (mine happens to be in Chicago), along with a form explaining what you’re requesting be done with your document(s). Whew! It’s been a crazy process. I’ve been spending lots of time at my public library, downloading forms and documents, printing forms, filling them out &/or signing them, scanning them back into digital form, and sending them off to my organization liaison. I’m so thankful that each stage has been clearly explained to me, and that my liaison is a lovely person and really easy to work with.
So what did I do while waiting? Well, I read a lot, listened to more audio books, and watched TV. That was while I was by myself. I also had the privilege of being able to spend a fair amount of time with family and friends. First off, back in August I spent a little over a week in Colorado for a family vacation. It was the first time we’ve had the whole family together for more than 30 minutes in about 5 years. It was also the first time we’ve had the whole family together since my most recent nephew was born. On either side of the week we had scheduled for family, I was able to spend time with several different friends from college and even high school.
Shortly after returning to Indiana from Colorado, I drove to western New York with my parents in order to attend the 50th wedding anniversary of my mom’s oldest sister. It was really cool. I got to hear all sorts of fun stories about them, as well as stories about other, more distant, relations. And of course my parents and I stayed at my other maternal aunt’s cottage on the shorefront of Lake Ontario. It was so delightful to spend time relaxing and hanging out with my mom’s side of the family.
Just last weekend, I visited my younger brother just outside of Philadelphia. As has become normal, I made a guest appearance in the praise team of my brother’s church while I was there. Every time I go to my grandparent’s church, I sing with the choir, of which they are members. Every time I return to my church in Bloomington, I rejoin the praise team. With that background, why not do the same with my younger brother, who also happens to be part of his praise team?
On the way back from Philly, I spent the night with one of my dearest friends, who recently started a new job as a theatre professor. (Note: I have the coolest family and friends, with the coolest array of jobs and geographical locations.) My friend just adopted a puppy a month ago, so I loved finally being able to meet him.
Other than those bigger trips, I’ve mostly stayed in a little mother-in-law apartment belonging to some family friends, making occasional excursions to Plainfield to spend time with my grandparents and my middle brother’s family, as well as trips to Bloomington for business and/or friends.
Well, that’s it for my waiting period. I must admit that it’s been really hard to have to wait around while constantly readjusting my planned timetable. Thankfully, that period of time is over, and I can now begin adjusting to my new environment. Also, now that I’m here, I’m sure I’ll have lots of material to inspire blog communications.
I love you all, and look forward to this next stage of life.
P.S. Both I and my luggage landed made it safely to my new apartment somewhere around midnight-ish on Monday. My roommate kindly stayed up to welcome me. So far everyone I’ve met has been super nice, so I can’t wait to really start getting to know them.
P.P.S. I’ve been having a bunch of difficulty with internet connectivity and VPN’s and such, so it’s been difficult to even attempt communicating with y’all so far. Take how long it took me to be able to post this, for example (almost a week after writing it). I’m starting to figure stuff out, though, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep abreast of communications better.