The Unorganised Chinese Company

I swear to god, some Chinese companies/ institutions can be so so so unorganised!!

And I’m definitely not the only person to point this out.

Especially when it comes to visas; they need to be on the ball with this. We are trying to sort out visas at the moment and I tell you, they certainly don’t rush…but they make you have a nervous breakdown!

Having gathered some things for our visas, we were pretty confident that we had everything… everything seemed to be going smoothly and with no problem. Then they say ‘Oh you need to get this notarised.’

What?? Why the hell did you not say this to us from the start??? And typical; the one thing that needs to be done early because it needs to be sent to Beijing…. it’s this that they fail to mention to us!

It’s just so annoying when they could have told us this a week ago. We leave China in about 15 days. God knows what will happen if this document doesn’t arrive back in time.

From the get-go we have been making sure to get all the things we needed to get done done. It’s just frustrating that people don’t seem to care/notice about these important issues, and it will inevitably be myself and my fiancé who will suffer for their negligence.

What’s more, we have to do all this ourselves. No one from their side will come and help us. We have to get this document, that document, do this, do that. I thought we would be getting a bit of help from them… but apparently not.

So myself and my fiancé are a bit annoyed at the whole thing now. I swear…. if they tell us we need to do/get another thing then I’m going to go mad!

I hope everything will sort itself out…. I don’t want any more grey hairs!

再见

爱玲

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I Hate Visa Time

Time has again rolled by for having to apply for a new visa. I don’t particularly enjoy having to renew my visa; nothing ever goes to plan. I don’t think we have ever successfully applied for ours in one day. You always hear:

“You don’t have this document.”

“You need the original copy of this”

“Where is blah blah blah copy?”

But our 1 year study visa has nearly run out, so it is a must!

Having to sort out visa things a few times now, we sort of know what exactly we need to bring. We were pretty sure that everything would go smoothly!

Wrong!

One by one, each person is called to a desk and the officer looks through our papers and what not. This is the bit that I dread. They could ask you nothing, and simply carry out checking you have the correct documents, or they could bombard you with questions! This time one year ago I was bombarded with questions about working and studying.

So this time round I was a little nervous. I don’t want to say something wrong or stupid and then have them cancel my visa!

I’ve been hearing lately that the visa officers are becoming more and more strict with visas and who they give them out to. In China, the people who cannot get a work visa, decide to enrol with a university and get a student one, but then never come to class and just work 30-40 hours a week. So now officers are checking random foreigners to see if they have the right visa.

But thankfully with my visa everything was going ok… until he said “Today you will have to pay 800yuan for your visa”

What??? I was only prepared to pay 400yuan… If I was staying for less a year, or even just 364 days, then I only need to pay 400yuan.  I thought all my documents said that I wasn’t applying for a year visa.

I started blubbering and saying that I wasn’t applying for the year one, in which he replied “Do you see here on your passport visa, it says this name, but on your work contract there is another name, so I can’t give you an extension because they are different. I know they are the same company, but they gave you a different name of the company on your work contract then whats on your passport visa.”

He carried on telling us that we could either wait until the current visa is about to expire and then apply, or pay the 800yuan. We told him we couldn’t wait; we would be leaving China only a few days after they expire, so it was impossible.

But then, thankfully he said “well if you want to go to your work company and ask them to change the name, then come back tomorrow and we can process your visa then.”

Oh I was so happy when he said that! I really didn’t want to pay an extra 400yuan.

We didn’t want to have to go the next day to sort it out so we decided to go straight after, get it all over and done with in a day.

We went to our work headquarters half an hour away and they filled in another contract for us. We travelled back to the PSB office and the man was surprised when he saw us “Oh you have the correct one now?”

We both successfully paid and we were finished, having to collect our passports in three weeks, then it’s over! No more worrying!

再见

爱玲

Working, Studying & Living: Sorting It Out

For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing what to do with our lives for the next year… and finally we’ve come up with a plan.

Working: Because I’m making hardly any money at the moment… although I do love the free time that I have, I’ve resorted having to go back to full time, well 15 working hours a week. This in my company is ‘full-time’.  I’ve managed to keep only working 3 days a week which is just great. I will dread the day when I have to work 7 hours 5 days a week. I’m really being spoilt here.

So working full time means I will be guaranteed my wage every month, whereas right now I’m paid by the amount of hours I teach.. so during the summer time I hardly get paid anything because students go on holidays.

Studying: We’ve also decided that this semester will be our last in our current Uni. I’ve really grown fond of it, plus I enjoy classroom based teaching. But every semester we are finding it harder and harder to get up in the morning. And at the end of the day I still have to pay 1 year tuition. We will miss everyone that we have met, even my teachers. All of them are so nice.

Instead of learning at the Uni, I will continue going to my private lessons in a private language school. It’s only 15 minutes walk from my apartment so it’s very convenient.

And as for Living: Unfortunately due to the enormous cost of rent in Xiamen, we decided to stay in Chengdu. It’s just too expensive. I really love the place, but I don’t want to be worrying about bills and rent just because I want to live somewhere sunny and pretty. I’d rather save my money and go travelling. Instead, when our apartment contract is finished, we will look at some apartments in the community that we already live in. We like where we live and we don’t want to have to lug our things miles away. Because we are going to be earning more, we want to upgrade to a bigger apartment… haha we might even get a balcony, and even a door for our bedroom!!

So right now, we are sorting out my boyfriends Mum and Dad’s visa to come to visit here, let our company know that in December I will be able to teach more students (they will surely be delighted with this), and begin to sort out the dreaded work visa for next year.

Every foreigner in Chengdu dreads that time of year when their visa expires. Enrolling in Uni is the easiest way to get one… but because we will be getting a work visa, we will need to go to Hong Kong on a ‘visa run’ as people say, plus we will get a medical certificate done.

I’m not too fond of going to Hong Kong. It’s expensive and crowded. However maybe this time round it might be different with my boyfriend being with me.

I hate having to sort visa stuff out. The people working there are not at all friendly and they can deny you a visa without giving any explanation whatsoever. Plus if you don’t have 1 piece of paper, that’s it: go home and come back when you get it. Oh and they need like 10 photocopies of every piece of paper you have. Oh they are very picky!

So, we’ve managed to sort out our plan for next year…. ha I won’t think too much ahead just right now or I’ll panic again!

再见!

爱玲

Contract signing

One year has flown by, with us suddenly needing to sign another contract for work. Our current contract is part time, as will our next one. However in 2017 we hope to start a 15 hour full time contract.

This means that we will be payed a fixed salary every month, instead of being part time where we are only paid by the hours we work.

I’m looking forward to starting a full time contract next year, this lack of money coming in does not make me happy!

Presently, I have been working in two campuses; one from when I first started working, and the second when I moved to another campus and work during the week. For my campus on Saturdays, I would have to travel one hour to work and one hour back… which at the beginning was ok….I even stayed with the campus for an extra year, just so I could teach my students.

However I soon became fed up with the travelling. Last week, I had 3 classes.. totalling 2 hours 45mins. But because my first class was at 11:15am, while my last class finished at 5:30pm… this meant I had to leave home at 9:30 and I would arrive back at 7:00pm. So all in all I worked nearly 3 hours, but I was away from home for like 9 hours! I just didn’t want to keep wasting my time travelling and then only teaching a few hours.

In fairness though, I did stay the extra year to come in on the Saturday to teach, which I kinda feel, after telling my campus manager that I was finally leaving… my effort of going every Saturday wasn’t truly appreciated… thats what I felt anyway! I have 2 more Saturdays to work and then… adios Zhonghai!

Yesterday when we were signing our new contract in the businesses main headquarters, the Chinese staff told us “because you took 35 days off for holidays, you will have to work an extra month to make those days up”

What????? We were so surprised to hear this! How could this be!? I distinctly remember when I signed my contract that it definitely did not say this. Plus, we were part timers… it shouldn’t matter if we take time off… we don’t get any bonuses for completing a contract.

Part timers don’t get many benefits unlike full timers, but not having to make up for days not working is just for part time people.

So we asked her to check… and sure enough she returned saying “Oh I’m very sorry, I got confused… you don’t need to work an extra month” So we got that sorted.

Because we plan to move from Chengdu next year, we will not be studying Mandarin in a University. We will look at private places in (maybe Xiamen) and then we will get a work visa. We will also need to go to Hong Kong during November or December in order to do this.

I will miss studying at the Uni we are at though… I like the school and we have a good routine in Chengdu. At the moment I am half against moving away, half against staying in Chengdu. I’m comfortable here, and I don’t want ‘change’…

But I suppose, if you are always comfortable with something… it will be difficult to change, or you will never change it….. and I know in the blink of an eye…. I’ll have been in Chengdu 5years if I opted to stay.

再见!

爱玲

 

Yay, we got our visas!

Our 2 week wait is finally at an end! This morning we travelled to the centre of Chengdu to retrieve our new year long visas. Although we gave everything that we needed, we were unsure whether we would need to do a Medical exam. We prayed we wouldn’t, so when we handed over our documents, and when they didn’t mention anything about the Medical, then we presumed we were safe. However I constantly had that niggling feeling that they could ask (and I really wouldn’t be surprised) for a health check.

But, thankfully we received our passports with no problems! That is one less thing to worry about, and knowing 100 percent that we can now travel to Ireland. Leaving in 2 weeks, we will be there for a month, time for me to get my procedure done and then time with the family for Christmas.

I missed 2 Christmases at home, so this was a complete surprise that I would be home for this one. After going home for the summer, Christmas was DEFINITELY not on the cards. But oh well, I’ll enjoy it anyway. God knows when I’ll be back.

Although I will be missing a few weeks of Uni, I plan on trying to study the missed chapters at home and also during my private tutoring before I leave. It is amazing what vocab you pick up, and the random ones that stick.

鬼: gui= ghost.

拉肚子: la duzi= to have diarrhoea.

疯: feng= crazy/mad

Ha, I mightn’t be able to ask for directions, but I can confidently say If I have diarrhoea. Also the word for ‘ghost’ is one that I have stored, although quite useless.

It is amazing though, what words crop up during English class with my students. For instance, I was explaining the word ‘famous’, which she didn’t know. I said the Chinese of it to her and she immediately understood. I’m noticing more and more English words appearing that I actually know the Chinese of them, which is great for me! I’m actually remembering them.

My head even translated something into Chinese which I had forgotten the word in English! We were eating some bbq and I noticed this lady was using extremely long chopsticks while cooking; maybe 3 times the length of normal ones. I told Rafa ‘Oh look at the lady using the long…….’

I actually forgot the name in English for chopsticks, and before I knew it, kuaizi popped into my head! ha although this experience may have just been a once off, there is still hope that in the future I won’t need to translate EVERYTHING in my head.

And with regards to my very bad student, I had a short talk with my PA, and before she tried to convince me to take her again I said NO. No way. Although I feel bad for not teaching her, I don’t feel bad having to put up with her.

The PA said ‘Aisling I’m so sorry for putting you through this.’

I replied ‘You shouldn’t be sorry, you don’t have to be.  It’s not your fault and It’s not my fault either. It’s the parents fault for not teaching her daughter good behaviour. ‘

I advised her to give her to a male teacher; she may be more timid with them. But we’ll see how it goes!

再见

爱玲

Aisling.

 

Getting new student visas.

So the time has come for us to get a new visa. Because we leave for Ireland in the middle of December, when we arrive back in Chengdu we will only have 3 days before our current visa expires.  I think we could just about get away with it as we would bring all our documents with us to the airport, but I think we just don’t want to risk it! Get the visa done before we leave so we don’t have to worry about it!

We have most of our documents from the school and work so we are going to the visa office tomorrow and see what they can do. Although we want to get student visas, this means the visa is only for the schools 2 semesters, whereas we would need to get a year visa; we will get the visa this November/December. This means having to get a medical done! For working, I’ve had to get one, but we are unsure whether the officer will let us away with it or not. I’m guessing not! They are very strict. If you only have a copy of a document, they will refuse you; asking for the original, they are that strict! We hope we don’t have to get the medical, but I wont be surprised if they ask us for one!

So that has been stressing me out a little. I think anything related with visas is stressful; at the end of the day, they can simply refuse you there and then. We decided to stay in Chengdu for another year and continue studying so getting student visas is a little easier than work ones.

I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad about that fact that I’ll be here another year!? I’m enjoying studying, but now, the only reason why I’m in China is to study. If that wasn’t the case, I think I’d be gone home long before now! Many of our friends that we have met here are also thinking of leaving in the next year; people from my old and new campus are leaving, people from school are leaving….It’ll be us on our lonesomes soon!

But, I’m sure we’ll meet other people!

再见!

Aisling.

My new student visa!

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Because I started studying in the university, I had to go and get a new student visa. My current one for the year is almost over, and seeing that I’m only working part time, the company has to cancel my current one. Now I’m not sure if they HAVE to cancel it, or if they thought ‘well, she’s not working full time with us so we’ll cancel it on her’ but, whatever happened, it was going to be cancelled.

So we took a trip up to the PSB at the heart of Chengdu. This is where they sort out the visas for Chinese and foreign people. We were both hesitant; usually we were accompanied by a Chinese person that can help us and who know all about this. We didn’t have a clue, apart from having papers for this and papers for that. But we thought ‘hey! Sure we’ll give it a go by ourselves, we have the correct papers so it should be fine!’ Well, it didn’t exactly go to plan!

So we arrived and we were asked did we have originals of everything. We knew we didn’t, as the company told us the copy’s ‘will be ok’. One paper was a copy. But we got moved onto the waiting room. ‘Great!’ I thought, this will be handy, we have everything!’

My number was called, so I walked into the room with the officers. I started to become nervous while she was flicking through all the documents. My boyfriend was a few seats down.

Then the dreaded question ‘Do you have a document from the University to say you can work part time?’ I thought ‘what document??? I gave her everything!….thats it, no visa for me!’ But apparently I left it in Rafas bag which he then gave me. Phew! Thats sorted!

But then… another question. ‘Do you have the original document of this?’ I replied no, saying the company said the copy would be sufficient. Bad news, they wanted the original one. Then she said ‘will the company give you the original one?’ I said yes, to which she carried on.

Picture time arrived, and that was when I knew I made it to the other side! She made sure I knew to bring the original document to her when I pick up my passport and away I went to pay the quite impressive visa fee. Rafa was sitting in the waiting room for me.

So, I was very happy then, explaining to him what she needed, until I hear ‘Excuse me Miss’. I turn around and there she was, with my passport in her hand….. I thought ‘Aw no, something went wrong, she’s giving me my passport back.’ She asked me did I work with the company before in which I said yes. Apparently I needed proof to say that I finished my contract with them.

She ushered me back into the room. Talked Chinese to another lady whilst I nervously waited for the verdict. But by luck, and by the fact that she already put my passport through the system, she allowed, or more likely HAD to keep my passport. Her mistake but lucky for me! So she assured me that I must bring the original document and the contract document to them when I pick up the passport.

And then I was free to go.

But not so lucky for Rafa, he was in the same predicament, but his lady officer wasn’t so forgiving, meaning he has to get the same documents as myself and apply for his visa again.

Hopefully though it will go ok next time as we will have all the correct papers!

Aisling