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October 14th, 2014:

Beijing is a big city

I flew to Beijing today to attend a conference at the Embassy (boy, are my arms tired!). The flight took about 90 minutes. After I arrived in Beijing, it took me about 70 minutes to get from the airport to my hotel. Traffic was terrible.

This is the view from my hotel window. Note the long line of cars along the road. Traffic is moving, but it’s moving very slowly.


This evening, I had a tutorial session with my Chinese teacher, who is in Washington DC. It seems that Skype is blocked in China, and the VPN doesn’t work very well in my hotel. We managed to connect and have our session, but it was a little painful. My teacher is really good; she gives me constructive feedback on my writing, which is what I really need. I’m benefiting a lot from this class.

I’m also really looking forward to the conference tomorrow. People from all of the five consulates in China, as well as from the embassy, will meet to discuss some visa issues that we all face. It will be good to build some consensus among consulates, as well as get some direction from some more experienced officers.

Have I mentioned lately how much I like my job? I really do. Although I am temporarily separated from my family, which isn’t fun, this job is interesting, stimulating, and rewarding.

Life is good.

Waiting for the verb…


Tshirt English of the Day

“Be Elvis!”