Do I have to leave China this Sunday?
THE FULL STORY: A VISA UPDATE
~ This is a long one – Get a cup of coffee! ~
We are trying to trust the Lord. This is not always an easy thing for us to do. However, this week, I felt calmness come over me, and I knew that everything would be okay. That doesn’t mean that everything will be the way that we want it to be, but it will be okay. The Lord will provide for us, and make a way for us. We are married now, and therefore we know that we have His blessing over our relationship. Still, these things are tough. Let me explain.
While we were in South Africa, our school in Qingdao applied for work permits for both of us. Justin’s came through, but mine was declined. At this point we questioned whether we were meant to still go to China. We searched our hearts and still felt led to come here so I applied for a tourist visa and decided to try and change my visa when we got here. The school also confirmed that this was the best way to move forward.
This past week we found out that our school probably cannot get my work visa done. Ever! This is puzzling to us since I have worked in China before. That first visa was relatively easy to get, and I never violated my visa in any way. Regardless of this, we can’t get a proper answer as to why my permit was declined, but apparently it has something to do with me being South African. This is odd but not completely surprising. There are, however, other South African teachers here. Anyway, we have questioned and questioned, but we are not getting any straight answers, so we stop bothering. This is China. Somethings just ARE the way that they ARE! This is no point questioning!
Take note that time was ticking away.
We only had 30 days to sort this out.
… And I am supposed to leave China by this Sunday.
Our only other reasonable option for me at this point is to try and stay here on a Spousal visa. In other words, I would piggy-back Justin’s work visa and, as his wife, be able to live here too. For that we need an unabridged marriage certificate. Seems simple, right? Hmmm… It might be simple if you come from a country where things are simple. Here I am in a country where no paperwork process is simple, and I ALSO come from a country where the same is true!!
We are learning to accept that our life together will always be filled with these kinds of issues
Considering our future plans to settle in the States, we applied for an Unabridged Marriage while we were in South Africa. Home Affairs said that it will probably take about 3 months, but that they have a back log, which means probably more than four months. The ordinary marriage certificate that we have will not suffice anywhere overseas. I have an agent in Pretoria who sorts out all of my paperwork, and we have been waiting on good news from her. This week she said that it’s not looking promising, because there are more delays at Home Affairs.
Yesterday, with 3 days left on my current visa, a representative from our school took me to the immigration office to try and extend my visa. While there, we also applied for Justin’s Chinese residence card. However the day started out stressful, and we were not sure that the immigration officer would give me the extension. We needed a lot of money in our account. Umm, hello, we are post-wedding-broke! We needed an original property rental receipt, which the school says that we have. We don’t! The morning was crazy. Frantic. Stressful. Justin was bordering a breakdown. His wife might have to leave the country this Sunday. In three days! We started to discuss where I would go if I had to leave, and what our plan would be. This was a scary thing to talk about, but it eased the situation a little. Mildly! We want to understand why this process isn’t easier… But we don’t. That is the reason why we try to accept what we can’t control, and live life to the fullest, appreciating what we have, and how easily it can all be taken away.
Thankfully, the immigration office granted me the extension, and I therefore have a further 30 days to stay here in China. We have to keep waiting on that unabridged marriage certificate, and we are researching other visa options in the meantime. The school has been really helpful and supportive. We keep praying that their patience does not run up. They usually only hire Americans, but they want us both to work there, so I feel blessed that despite all of this visa ma fan*, they are still fighting for me to stay.
ma fan (pronounced “ma” like mama/ papa, and “fan” like football fan) is literally translated as “crazy annoyance”. It is used by many foreigners in China, and it expresses the feeling of chaotic despair, or an annoying situation.
I’m sure, over the next couple years of us living in China.
You will hear this simple phase a lot. Hopefully not too much.
We wanted to share this with you because most of you are interested in our life, and not just the ups but the downs too. It seems amazing – this life of living abroad – but sometimes it is tough. We can’t go to the States right now, and it would be very difficult to set up a life in South Africa, so we feel that Asia is where we are supposed to be. Learning to Trust the Lord is hard, but we are getting there.
Post-immigration relaxation and reflection
We are thankful for His provision…
And the fact that we don’t have to part ways,
especially so shortly after getting married.
We have never been
for a weekend (together)!
Hopefully we will have good news about my visa soon!
Have a great weekend Everyone.
Have a great weekend Everyone.