This morning I made another trip to the Chinese embassy’s visa office. The office was going to call me when the visa was ready, but I thought that making the trip up there was the responsible thing to do.
It was raining this morning (it rained pretty much all day today), which made walking in the city a drag. I like to dress formally when I go to the visa office, because I think it makes a better impression. I know that when I deal with a person who is dressed professionally, I tend to treat them with a little more respect.
My visa was ready. The same clerk handled my case again today. The last time I was there, she looked at me with world-weary eyes. This time, when she looked up my information in her computer system, she gave me a bit of a sneer. She dug out my passport from her plastic washbasin of American passports, and instead of handing it to me, she tossed it over to me unceremoniously. She was finally done with me.
I imagined her mentally washing her hands of me. With soap.
So now I am back on track to begin my first tour. I re-arranged my flight (again), re-set the consultation schedule, and started checking out of the Foreign Service Institute. There is a lot of administrative stuff to do, and this will keep me busy for the next few days.
I leave Washington, DC on Monday. After a few days of consultations with the Department of Homeland Security in Los Angeles, I will arrive in China on Friday.
It’s starting to get real.