I have been in China now for just under a year. I arrived Feb. 10, or 11 last year. I have had a good year. There have been some annoyances, there have been some likes, and some dislikes. Basically, life as usual for any place in the world.
To stay here, I need a new residence permit every year. This means I have to get a new Foreign Expert Certificate each year, and with it I am able to apply for another year’s residency. The expert certificate was supposed to take 7 days, or less, to get. It took the school’s contact just under a month to get it, because he is a procrastinator, and didn’t apply for until about 3 weeks after I signed the papers.
He isn’t our favourite person in the world. One of the other teachers found his pay was about 10% light one month. When he confronted this guy (who is the accountant, among other jobs), the guy reached in his pocket and pulled out a bundle of cash, the exact amount missing from the pay. He has shorted my pay, and taken money to speed up the internet, and he set up a slower service than he told me he was setting up for me. I could go, but let’s just say his scruple count is on the low side.
Now, applying for the residency took a month last year. The other teacher here said it took a month both times he did it. The official turnaround time given is 15 days, but experience said otherwise. I was a little concerned, because I am leaving for Hong Kong on Feb. 1, and I wasn’t able to apply for this until Jan 16. They assured us at the police station it would be back in time, but I didn’t believe them. based on past experience.
If you are questioning my timing decisions for travel/renewal conflict, I was told at the latest we would be ready to apply for the new permit on December 30, so Feb. 1 was more than enough time away to get it back.
While I was hopeful it would be returned on time, I was calculating how much money I would lose to cancelation fees for train tickets, and whatnot for the trip should my passport not be returned on time. I know I could get permission to travel/check into hotels in Mainland China while the police have my passport, but I am quite sure I cannot go to Hong Kong without my physical passport. Xiu Xiu called the police station the day after we applied to remind them to please be quick with my passport. Then she called a few days later on Monday to re-remind them. When she called back yesterday to re-re-remind them, they said it was there, and ready for me.
I couldn’t believe it when she told me it was back. I was happy, but still unbelieving. We picked it up, and sent a thank you message to the officer responsible for the expedited processing. I am very happy to have my next year’s residency out of the way, and now I have nothing to worry about until I renew my passport in Shanghai next December (A renewal I am excited about, because it will be good for 10 years).