The paperwork for the application is rather complicated and when you have just gotten off a major international flight lack of sleep makes it even more difficult! It took me two hours to complete paperwork that I imagine if I was thinking straight I could have completed in half an hour. While I was working on the application forms my aunt texted me and asked if I wanted to join the family for dinner. I replied that I was hungry, but I couldn't because I was working on my application form. She read between the lines that this meant that I was struggling and called. I lost it. I was so tired I simply couldn't think straight and felt like I was losing my mind.
My aunt came over and helped me work my way through the forms (I had actually just completed them before she arrived, but she helped me go through them and make sure everything was correct). Then she drove me all around town. First to the bank to get a cashier's check (to pay for the visa and the visa processing center) then to the UPS store because I thought that I could get the passport photo I needed there and then immediately ship it out. Turns out UPS stores in Alaska no longer do passport photos (I had gotten the picture and shipped it out directly from a UPS store the last time I applied for a Chinese visa). So then we are googling places that make passport photos. I don't even remember where we went (everything is a bit of blur), but I do know that it was a really awful photo (not only was I not allowed to smile, but after traveling for 3.5 weeks and then being up for over 24 hours I looked beat). We got to the UPS store (again) and it turns out that the deadline for shipping was 2:30 in the afternoon (because everything from Alaska has to go by plane) and seeing as how my plane had landed at 2:30 I couldn't have completed everything in time. Perhaps I should have just completed everything the next morning.
As a result, my documents did not make it to the visa processing center until Thursday morning. Just after I woke up I received an email telling me that my application was on hold! I had a couple of problems with my application. On problem was the processing company said that I needed a third document from the school. I emailed the school thinking that there was no way I would even hear from them because it was 11:30 pm in China. I did hear back from the school who insisted I had all the documents I needed while the visa processing company said I didn't. I didn't know what to do so I decided to take the processing company's suggestion of applying at a different consulate. I was really concerned though because my documents said which consulate I was supposed to submit to (if I hadn't agreed the agency would have probably simply shipped my documents back to me because they will not submit the documents if you do not meet what they consider the requirements. At this point I would have then had to fly to Los Angeles and submit my application myself) and now I was submitting them to another consulate. The visa processing company said they had had this exact situation before and it had been fine, but I held me breath for the next five days.
On Friday, they submitted my documents to the Chinese Consulate and then today (Tuesday) when I woke up I saw through the online check that my visa had been granted. Later, I received an email with the FedEx shipping information. My passport should be here by 10:30 am tomorrow. I will feel much better when I have it in my hand.
Meanwhile, I found the flights that I want to take to Beijing and submitted the information to the school. They submitted it to the travel agency (they are booking our tickets through a travel agency for us so that we don't have to front that much cash - last minute tickets to China are rather expensive). Hopefully, if everything works out I will be flying to Beijing next Monday to start my next adventure.
|Update: my visa arrived! Here's a redacted photo of it.|