Today was training day. The last Wednesday of every month is training day in the consular section. Today, we did some exercises involving the online visa application process, and reviewed the online application that all of the applicants have to complete in order to start applying for a visa.
After that exercise, I had to leave the training room and go to a welcome reception for the new section chief. We invited several local government officials with whom we interact on a regular basis. I was invited to the reception because my outreach activities have me interacting with these local officials, and the section chief thought it would be useful if I met them in person. We had a nice lunch, I hobnobbed with the government officials, and generally had a very nice time.
After the reception was over, we returned to the training activities. First, we visited the bank that we contracted with to ship passports back to applicants after their visas have been printed. We got to see the process of them sorting and accepting passports, and got to ask them questions about the process. It was pretty interesting.
In the afternoon, we did some teambuilding activities. I was still wearing my suit from the lunch reception, so I did the teambuilding activities in business attire. Unfortunately for me, the team building activity was bowling. If you have never seen a grown man bowl in a suit before, just imagine a grown man bowling in a suit, and you have a pretty good picture about what I looked like. My personal quest is to never look ridiculous, and I’m afraid that I failed in that effort today. Oh, well.
After training day was over, I went back home, and hit the gym. I’m afraid that I put on several pounds since coming to Shenyang, largely due to the good local beer, so I have been trying to shed that extra weight. After working out, I got a text message from one of the Americans that I met at the reception this noon, and went out to meet him to have a drink. He has been in China for several years, and has some interesting insights into life in China and interacting with the local people. He also lives in a town about an hour north of Shenyang, doesn’t get around very much. I suspect he was hungry for some conversation with another native speaker of English.
Then I rode my bike home and talked with my wife via video conferencing.
Tomorrow we will resume our regular schedule of visa interviews and various paperwork. Life is not, repeat not, boring.