another change in plans

Where are the magical giant visa pandas when I need them?
Where are the magical giant visa pandas when I need them?

Remember how I was planning to leave on Monday the 18th? Well, I didn’t get my visa, so that’s not happening. I am a silly person and I assumed that, since I was expected to arrive in China on the 20th, the visa would be ready by then. I guess it COULD have been ready, in theory. Theory isn’t practice. Lesson learned.

Just a paragraph of reassurance: I still have a job waiting for me. The school wants me, but the government is taking longer for whatever reason. I’m not the only one in Chongqing with this issue, so there will be a separate orientation for us, and I’ll start work when I’m ready. I did have to cancel my reservation (yes, I made reservations without a visa–ask me how well that worked out), but it wasn’t as expensive as one might guess (and I believe the school will cover the cost). And my friends said I can stay with them longer if needed.

So, now what? I guess I have some time to take care of a few things I wanted to do before I leave. I can go to the Minnesota State Fair! My friend says she might have some work I can take care of (for money, which is a thing I may run out of if I treat this like some crazy pre-China rumspringa). I can study Chinese in earnest.

Psychologically, though, it’s taking a toll. I turn 40 tomorrow, and it’s a natural time to look forward and backward. But I don’t know what I’m looking forward to, or how long I have to wait until I get out of this liminal state. The birthday is just adding to the weirdness of the situation.

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moving and moving on

Zoe (and my left eye)
Zoe (and my left eye)

Here’s what I’ve done this week:

  • Moved out of my apartment. I’ve lived in that unit for five years and in the building for seven. It’s very strange to have it not be my home anymore. It’s also very strange that I was able to pack so much crap into such a small apartment. I had greater than average closet space, which is a blessing and a curse, let me tell you. So many hidden treasures, forgotten craft projects, old papers–I found papers I had written in college! They weren’t even papers I did well on! What was I thinking?
  • Moved into my friends’ house. The guest room is pretty much stuffed to the gills with my crap. I definitely do not have my belongings distilled down to two suitcases and a carryon. I have a few days to do that.
  • Finished working at the Healing Garage. End of an era. It’s hard to let go of things, like, do we have enough paper towels? Should we buy a new water filter? And of course, the massage, but that doesn’t require a lot of brain space at this stage.
  • Said goodbye to Zoe. That was the hardest thing of all. She has been with me since she was 8 weeks old. I wanted to take care of her for the rest of her life. I can’t now, and I can’t really explain it to her. My friends are taking really good care of her, so at least I feel good about that. I was driving away from Zoe’s new home on Wednesday morning and the radio decided to play “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. So many tears. Wednesday was hard.
  • Bought a plane ticket. That is a major purchase! I was told that I’d need a round-trip ticket because China might not let me in without proof that I can get back out. So, major money, but I think I got the best deal possible (and the school will reimburse me when I complete my contract). Twenty-six hours later, I’ll be in Chongqing.

I think I’ve earned the right to sleep in tomorrow.