So there was one other important reason for going to Shanghai this past week, and that was so Jason could apply for an American visa. He is going to school in Canada in the fall so August in America seems logical. But getting a visa for America seems tough. According to all the word-of-mouth on the internet, they don’t like to admit young men who might not leave.
So he prepared several papers, got bank statements, health check, certificates from his job, I wrote him a letter of invitation and he had all his Canadian stuff to show that he would definitely leave America at the end of august. We even did a mock interview where I tried to think of questions they might ask him. He also looked online and found from others what questions they had gotten. Armed with a pile of paperwork and ready for anything, he went to the embassy by himself.
This is how it went, as he later told me…
The guy asked him what his job was, why he was going and what he was going to do. (All in Chinese btw, even though it was an American.) Then, stone-faced, he typed into the computer as the minutes ticked by. Jason was ready for more questions, to show his paperwork etc, but the guy turns back to him and says, “Have a Good Trip!”
Yep. That was it. All that prep, all that paperwork, none of it was not necessary. But the outcome was just what he wanted, so ultimately it doesn’t matter.
Which leads me to my summer plans. As you might have guessed I too will be in America. Jason’s not just going to be floating around by himself, but he’s coming to visit me! We’re gonna do the whole east coast thang, and hit up all the major cities. He’ll meet my friends, see my hometown, and I’m going to force him to eat American chinese food which I can only assume he’ll hate. But the thing I’m most looking forward to is talking Chinese. In white bread New England, Chinese is not a language many know (and few chinese people are around). So we’ll get to talk shit about people right in front of them. Heh heh……
Unfortunately for me though, Jason visiting is just a small part of my holiday. I’m going home for the entire summer, almost 2 months. Despite doing nothing, and spending very little money this semester, it all disappeared in doctors visits. (I recently calculated and realized I spent more money on doctors visits then I made this semester. Yeesh. But the good thing is I had the money and it isn’t detrimental like the American healthcare system.)
So I’m going to be broke, in America, for the summer. Not a recipe for fun in a place I don’t really want to go to in the first place. I know, I know, family and friends. And that will be fun for a few days. But what do I do after that? Mooching off others gets tiring (for them and for me) so I’m going to stick near my parents house for the first month until Jason comes. Writing and studying Chinese should fill my time.
It’s the first time I have been back to America in two years, and the first time in five that I have stayed so long. Usually I go for three weeks total. In the past I have been able to go to America and then do some traveling in China afterwards. But not this summer. We’ll see how it works out. At the very least I’m expecting some major reverse culture shock.
But some good will come out of it. I can catch up with what Americans are doing and saying. I teach American culture, but the truth is I have no idea what real culture is these days beyond what my friends talk about on Facebook.
I can also get used to seeing Americans and listening to English. I used to be able to pick out a foreigner from a mile away, just based on the way they walked or the clothes they wore. But I lost that ability years ago, so time to get it back. Also, I’m hoping to improve my english. Sounds silly but my “big words” are long gone. The other day in Shanghai I couldn’t remember the word I wanted to say so instead I said “Its a word that sounds like epicenter!” (It was epitome.)
And I’m gonna eat a lot of steak…and Ben & Jerry’s. And bagels with cream cheese and lox.
So anyone got any fun summer plans, like traveling? (Which will make me totally jealous.) Let me know in the comments!
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