Monday, July 13, 2009

On the other side

So, I haven't really mentioned it here, but I'm going to China on Saturday. Yeah, as in that big country on the other side of the world. I'm gonna be there for two weeks, and see my Dad, and visit Beijing, and see where Michael Phelps swam in the Watercube, and see this Hello Kitty house in Shanghai. And of course go shopping, and take a bazillion pictures.

Only, it seems as though their government hates me. You see, in order to visit, even if it's just for vacation, you have to apply for a visa. So you fill out a bunch of paperwork, detailing out where you're going, where you're staying, etc. and then you send in your paperwork and passport and they send it back to you with a visa in it. At least that's the way it's supposed to work.

In my case, I did all of the above, except then I got a call last week, saying their government wanted more details on what my job entailed. I filled out a statement promising not to write about China. I even wrote a 3 paragraph letter detailing my job description. I thought okay, this is going well. I'll expedite the process, get my visa by Wednesday, and be all set.

Um. No. I get into the office today, check my voicemail, and get a message....

"Hi, this is __ with the office. I have bad news for you. The Chinese government isn't going to process your visa request because of your job. I know you wanted this expedited, but at this point, I might not get it to you until Friday night or Saturday depending on shipping and when you are leaving. I will try to get them to reconsider, but at this point they are saying no. Please call me back at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thanks."

I'm not okay. It's just starting to hit me that I'll be on the other side of the world in less than a week, and I'm worried as it is about traveling there. I'll be fine once if I ever get there, but this sucks. I'm sorry that I have a job. I'm sorry I know how to write and use the internet. I just don't get it. Why me? Nothing is ever easy. All I want to do is see my DAD, to see my FAMILY. Is that too hard to understand? Why must they hate me? What if I was Asian? Would that have made a difference?

Please pray/send positive thoughts that they will reconsider and that I will get to go.

My dad is trying to talk with the processing people to see if he can do anything, and my mom said that if worse comes to worse, I'll just have to come a little later and fly there alone.

I don't know what to do. I want to cry, but as my friend Linda said, I can't do anything--its out of my control. Which doesn't set well for me, because we all know what a big control freak I am. *insert sarcasm here* I couldn't resist. I had to do something to lighten up this post.


Matt said...

Damn them!!!!

Emmett said...

Love the blog, well done.

Anonymous said...

That REALLY sucks! :-(
I'm SO sorry for you. Have you booked your flight yet?

What did you put for your occupation on your visa app? And did they ask for your employer? If they did, you had an uphill battle from the beginning. :(

Unfortunately, China is pretty well-known for being tough on granting visas for journalists, or anyone they think may be a journalist, which could really be anyone in media. It probably wouldn't matter if you were Asian or not. It's just the way they are. You def made the right call by applying through an agency though, rather than trying to do it yourself. I'm sure they'll be able to get it sorted out. :-)

It might be too late now, but for the future: one trick I know of is to stretch your "occupation" a little bit to make it sound less media-ish. For example, I'm a TV news producer, but I'm paid as a 1099 contractor (rather than a 1040 staffer), which makes me a freelancer, which makes me a "consultant." I got Indian and Pakistani visas with absolutely no trouble by putting "consultant" on my app instead of "producer." I even got extra questioning in Canada, of all places, when I said I was a "TV Producer."

Good luck the rest of the way, though. I'm totally jealous. You're (eventually) going to China!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

(BTW, this is GB, from Sadler, but I'm commenting anonymously this time.)

Andhari said...

No, really, wont make any difference whther you're asians or not. One of my friends is chinese descent and even her find it hard to go to Beijing although a lot of her family are there. CHina is way too paranoid sometimes.

katiedotcom said...

That's ridiculous. I don't have much else to say about it only because I have zero experience with traveling. Seriously, I've only been to like 4 states in the US let alone another continent.

But what I can do is sent you massive amounts of positive thoughts!

Wonderful said...

Matt- Seriously.

Emmett- Thanks for reading :)

GB- I know..hopefully I'll get there sooner than later.

Andhari- Glad to know that their government doesn't bend the rules for Asians; I agree they are way too paranoid.

Katie- Thank you for the positive thoughts, I need 'em!

Anonymous said...

Ooooohhhh. That fires me up! I hope everything turns out okay and that you get the visa in time.

Power trippy people.

Also, thanks for all the bloggy love that you have sent my way lately! I'm excited to return some here!

Gary said...

Any update?