Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Brief Appearance Before I Vanish

Hm, been a couple of months since I wrote anything, guess I'd best let you all know I'm alive.  Not that anyone seemed worried or anything, which leads me to believe there isn't anyone reading this mess anyway.

So, I went to Hong Kong at the end of June, thinking I'd apply for my new visa.  Nope, that typhoon that was over Hong Kong was dumping enough rain that I decide to blow it off and just go back at the end of July instead, figuring I'd have more time to spend with Cheryl then, as she'd be done with work for the summer.  Wouldn't you know it, the day I was scheduled to fly out, a typhoon hit Taiwan!  What is it with me and typhoons?  I thought the flight would be canceled, but those nuts took off in the typhoon anyway.  It was bumpier than the flight in June, but we made it safely.  

I went to the visa office the next day, waited for an hour, and handed over all the stuff I thought I'd need (and had some stuff like bank statements for backup, just in case).  The woman (and I'd been unlucky enough to get the really bitchy one I've dealt with before) looked through my stuff, asked to see my original letter of acceptance (ha, she thought I only had a copy), and then asked me if I knew I'd have to get my diploma and transcripts approved in the US.  "Oh yeah, I did that already, in May!" beamed I, happy that I'd covered that base.  I'll be damned if that woman didn't look at me and say, "Well, we need to see them."  "What do you mean, YOU need to see them?  There was nothing on your website about that.  I have to turn them in to the university on registration day - those papers are very important.  I left them home so I wouldn't lose them!"  She smirked at me, bundled up all my papers, and shoved them back at me.  "You'll just have to come back when you have them."  

I guess I'm used to the ridiculous rules and regulations the Taiwan government has, having had so many occasions to be flabbergasted by them, so I didn't lose my cool, just thanked her and left.  Got back to Cheryl's and booked another flight back to Hong Kong just 10 days after I was getting home to Taiwan.  Imposed my presence once again on my oh-so-gracious host and hostess, taking over their couch for a few days, went back to the visa office with all paperwork in hand, got a much nicer woman this time, and successfully got my resident visa.

Got back to Taiwan on 8/14, went to apply for my Alien Residency Certificate (ARC) on 8/15.  Was told I'd have to wait 3 weeks to get it, which is this Friday, Sept. 5.  I didn't have it to show the university on registration day, thankfully not a big deal, but we have an orientation on Friday that lasts until at least noon, and it will take me almost 2 hours to get to Banqiao to pick up the ARC.  I'm expecting to run into some sort of problem when I go, as that seems to be the way my luck is going these days.

On September 8, 2008, I will begin my life as a university student, and my current life of leisure will be OVER.  I registered for my classes yesterday and was slapped in the face with the reality of the decision I've made:  16 classes, Mon-Fri from 8:00 to 6:00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10:00 to 6:00 on Mondays and Thursdays, and 9:00 to 3:00 on Fridays.  Oh, goddess, I just want to cry.

Well, OK, on Monday it's actually just two classes, one from 10:00 til noon, and one from 4:00 til 6:00, but it still shoots the whole day for anything else.  I get 50 minutes for lunch every day.  I have to put in one hour of hard labor per week (yeah, OK, it's only cleaning up the campus, but who wants to be sweating outside at 3:00 p.m. on a hot day, especially when you don't get any credits for it?), and I have to attend a two-hour phys ed class once a week (zero credits).  You can bet your booties I'll be getting a doctor's excuse for that one, because there's no way this bad knee of mine can handle any physical exercise that's any more than a slow walk.  I also have to take one hour per week of a course that translates as "Nursing."  WTF?  This is a required course for the Chinese Department?  I guess I'm going to learn CPR and other first-aid crap, all without getting any credits.  Why?  Why?

Truly, I had no idea that attending university would be this involved.  It seems to me that the Chico State University students I used to see running around in Chico didn't have a care in the world.  Study?  What's that?  Let's go out and party!  Perhaps it won't be as difficult as I fear, but I'm wondering how I'll fit dinner, chores, studying, homework, and my part-time job into the short hours between getting out of class and getting to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour.  I've grown too used to having all day to goof off, I guess, forgetting what it was like to have a full-time job.  I know, you're not feeling one bit sorry for me, are you?

Don't expect me to be answering any e-mails.  You think I'm bad at that now?  Ha, it's just going to get worse.  Don't expect any blog updates, either.  I'm sure you gave up on those long ago anyway, right?  This may be the last one you get for a long, long time.


Anonymous said...

All the best with your studies Marla! :)

Steve said...

I made a comment on the wrong post! Doh!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You will love it.

I do check for updates frequently. I just know that you are way busy. :)