Today, the Monday after my first attempt, I have made my way to the Chinese Visa office. I was there around 10:20 AM so I figured it would be plenty of time to get my visa. Of course parking was a pain and the meters only allow for 2 hours at a time!
I was anxious as it was because of my paranoia that I forgot something even though I quadruple freakin’ checked all my visa documents, on top of that I was worried about my B282 number being called quickly enough for my 2 hour meter purchase.
I just waited. With the sound of a fussy child or two and the repetitous announcer of the next number, it was somewhat maddening.
“Now serving B252 at window 5” Each message repeated in Mandarin.
GUHHHHH 30 MORE PEOPLE? FOR FREAKIN’ REAL?!
All I could do was wait, and randomly the woman next to me struck up conversation with a simple inquiry about why I was there. What started innocently enough took a strange turn when she asks something I couldn’t hear. I leaned in and asked her to repeat and I heard a loaded question, “Are you religious?”
I responded with a polite “no” and hoped it would be left here. What followed was a 20 minute conversation about how while RIGHT NOW I’m ok with my life and such, I will eventually feel a hole in life and will find god and Jesus.
I was polite and I WILL say that she wasn’t TOO arrogant save the previous paragraph statement, but she did actually listen to what I said so I tried to be a good example of what an atheist can be, vs more militant stereotypes.
She had divulged that she was Korean (which I suspected based on paleness and facial features combined with a decidedly non-Chinese accent. But I am not an expert so I didn’t really know until she mentioned it). She stated that she’s heard all of my reasons for not accepting Jesus but I got her when I said, you can understand better if you think about Zeus, Osirus, Ra, Allah, Yaweh, and pretty much any of the hundreds of other deities dreamed of man.. and I asked her if she heard the quote, “I contend that we are both Atheists, I just go one God further than you”.
She seemed to genuinely think about this one a moment and I felt she had the patience of someone much older than herself, though she was in her mid to late 60’s at least. So while her talking about this kind of topic was super rude and abrupt, I didn’t mind so much since she was not condescending about it and she listened to my reasons without judging them. Also, it was not bad conversation and made the wait feel much shorter.
I took the opportunity to break the conversation with the (legit) excuse that I had to add money to the meter and ran to do so. But
I got back into the visa room and the number called was at B279 or so which was awesome. I stood with the Korean lady again as it was still nice to not stand alone, even if she was a bit preachy.. but when they called my number, for all of the 3 FREAKIN’ HOURS I was literally sitting at the station for 5 minutes or less.. they even let me expedite my visa processing so I can pick it up tomorrow after lunch! This is nice because it means I don’t have to drive home, and the $30 increase in cost will be made up by saving myself another 6 hour round-trip drive.. so it more than evens out.
Afterwards I treated myself and Clarissa, Jim, and Elias to some Vietnamese food. 🙂 mmmm pho.
Enjoy Eli as a fox.
Anyway, I’ll show you my visa when I get it and at the same time show you my ANU admission letter and my JW201 so if you’re looking to do what I’m doing, you know what they look like!