Progress is Seldom Simple....

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh, the times when success was as easy as providing enough effort to get through one homework assignment, study rigorously for a semester test, or give it your all in a wrestling match are long gone it seems.  Even as I type this, there are a dozen things that I could be organizing, working towards, or better preparing for.  Shouldn't the pre-voyage euphoria carry me through all this??  Didn't I drink enough caffeine to keep up a herd of elephants, or make me excited about seemingly endless tasks?

Well, I should add a caveat here, I've got a bit more on my plate than most folks I would assume.  I doubt most people have to deal with being legally restricted to their home under pain of incarceration prior to their grand adventures.  Add to the fact that THE MAN knows my every move the secondary concern that I have almost no money, and we've increased the worry-0-meter a few notches.  Also, my shiny new metallic laptop that was to be my lifeline in the techno-wastes that surround my destination (joke, I'm headed to Shanghai) has unexpectedly taken it's own life.  I have no idea what prompted this wasteful self destruct, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that I had it plugged in while lightening struck right next to the house.  The next morning I found the not at all rotting corpse that had once been a fast and functional tool sitting peacefully on my desk.

So, I'm nearly broke, haven't yet exited the dangerous jungle that is probation, and now my newly acquired travel-the-world-and-still-play-snood machine is lying in visually unimpressive ruin.  I really ought to be more angst filled, but I'm surprisingly at ease.

On to the Task List!  

So, for anyone venturing east to teach, here's a hint for you if China is in your sights, start early!  I started looking for the job I landed nearly a year before I was supposed to set off.  Now, as I'd said earlier it probably won't be so obnoxious for some one who has freedom of movement and communication, two things I didn't have and am only now regaining in bits and pieces.

The point is that you have WAY to much crap to get done in only a month or two.  The two biggest time suckers have to be getting your paperwork from the school you're gonna be working at, and then getting everything else in order and applying for your visa.  

What seems like a harmless little health questionnaire for the visa is in fact an insidious and mislabeled hell-form.  Ok, it's not that bad, but with all the things you need to get checked and to get your vaccines up to date takes a couple appointments at least, and if your doctor is any where near as cantankerous as mine it's gonna be awhile, so get in quick and get as many things done in a single appointment as you can.  Follow ups are a [exploitative].

Once you get all your stuff back from you school you'll have to mail in your passport, (NOT TO THE CONSULATE!)  the two documents they sent you, the medical hell-form (depending on the visa service you use) and a cashier's check for $140.  Also, you can just pay online with a card. They do not accept personal cheques, and I am not French so let me repeat that; they do not accept personal checks. To explain this a bit, the Chinese Consulates do not accept mailed in applications.  This is of course confusing because every one seems to get their visas from the mail, but that is because you must use a 3rd party service to get your visa, unless you 1) live in a city with a Chinese Consulate or 2) have a close friend in the vicinity of one who could drop off your application.  I used an online service which required me to mail my stuff to Houston.  Mail in your crap, preferably after you've bought your flight, and wait on the stamp of approval.

Now, if you're in any way as diametrically opposed to bureaucracy as I am you're gonna want to get some vicodin and take a seat.  I've already made great use of little personal prayers for patience and peace.  I recommend this to you.  

Well, to return to the original sentiment that catapulted this momentary spell of boredom into a post, progress is not easily measured in the short term.  The only way to accomplish lasting achievements in life is through prolonged effort.  Those little flashes that allow us to claim victory, revel in our own awesomeness, or display a grand act of kindness and help-itude are just little raisins in a big bowl of bran.

Perseverance sure as hell isn't fun, but it is a hell of a lot rewarding than laziness, and the time will pass whether you have focus and drive in life of whether you're doing your best to bond with the couch on a molecular level.  Not that there's anything wrong with spending time together, but your couch needs it's space, as do you.

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