Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Chinese visa pick-up day

Well today was visa pick-up day and members of my immediate family suggested I should blog about this.  I sort of frowned and said, "I don't want to blog about something so boring."  Famous last words.  The visa day was anything but boring.  Frustrating? Yes.  But boring it was not.  The day started relatively normal until I dropped Hudson off to school.  As we got out of the car to walk him to the school yard, he asked me if I had put the "fake money" he had cut out and coloured into his school bag.  Sadly, I did not even know it was needed for math class so I detoured back home and brought his paper coins to school.  A few streets away from the school I nearly hit another parent driving her van.  If I would have, it would most definitely have been my fault.  It was her right-of-way.  I was a bit frazzled as I drove to the local mall.  I planned to park my vehicle, take the subway downtown and back, pick up and return a few things at the mall, then be home for my 1:00pm Mandarin lesson.

I got stopped by security at the entrance to the mall parking lot and asked where I was going.  I told the security guard, then he told me I couldn't park at the mall.  I must park at the subway station parking lot.  I  turned my van around and headed to the subway lot.  I couldn't find it, so I parked in a pay parking lot across the street from the subway entrance.  I headed to the automated pay station with five bucks in my pocket only to see a sign that said credit card and coins only. So, I trudged back to the van, grabbed my credit card and walked back to the pay station.  I tried inserting my card and the machine spat my card out again.  Just then a live attendant showed up out of nowhere and said, "You cannot park here this lot is private.  It is a YMCA parking lot on Monday to Friday."

Frustrated, I hopped back in the van and drove another way around the mall and got to Walmart.  You see, the rest of the mall was still closed and barricaded at what was 9:40am by now, but good ol' Walmart was open.  I decided then and there that I may as well  hang out in Walmart for the 20 minutes it was going to take to open the main doors to the mall then walk through the mall to the mall subway station.  By this time I was parked  far enough from the other subway stop that it would have taken me 20 mins to get there anyway.  Inside Walmart I did a little retail therapy until 10am then walked through the mall to the subway station.  I managed to get downtown in reasonable time and arrived at the China Visa Application Centre by shortly after 11.  I waited about 15 mins to pick-up my visa then was able to be on my way.  By this time, I was nauseated from neglecting to eat breakfast so I grabbed a water bottle and date square on the run and quickly headed back to the subway.  The subway ride was going well until I got off at my interchange station where I needed to change trains.  I heard the dreaded words that all trains east of my station were out of service for an ongoing investigation.  Shuttle buses were being provided.  Groan.  I followed the masses to this very small bus waiting area and waited with a whole lot of confused people.  I quickly realized with the subway closure and the shuttle service there was no way I would be making it back home in time for my much needed Mandarin lesson.  I called my tutor and explained that I needed to cancel because I was stuck downtown.  I then hung up with her and headed to a different area of the station because someone told us we were waiting in the wrong place. When I got down the stairs another we heard another announcement:  "All trains are returned to regular scheduling".

I was happy to hear this, but decided not to chance rescheduling my class seeing as how the day was going.  Once on the train, it was so packed I couldn't find a pole to hold onto so I fell into some guy when the train started up.  Thankfully there was no domino effect because his back was against a wall!  By the time I got to the mall again, I was in need of lunch and a little relaxation.  I walked into the food court and passed some lady eating what looked to be a delicious Korean meal complete with yummy looking kimchi.  I walked up to the counter and saw a sign that said, "CASH ONLY".  Guess who was out of  money? Yeah you guessed it.  The Chinese take-out was good but nothing like the Korean food I was craving.

I got home picked up the boys from school and headed to a little community mall near our place with the kids as they needed a few things.  It was pretty warm by this point so I took off my coat.  I found what I thought had been a few quarters in my pocket, took a closer look and realized I had a couple of toonies in my pocket. Next, I opened my wallet to put away the coins and saw a five dollar bill that had been hidden behind some receipts.  I could have had my Korean meal after all!  To quote a book that my Aunt Deb and Uncle Al gave me as a child, "Some days are like that, even in Australia!"


  1. Dear Sara,
    You are quite a story teller. If it hadn't been so hard on you, it would be hilarious. There is only one other person that goes through things similar to this and it is.... you guessed it. Tom Skwarok. Well things can't get any worse at this point so my dear Sara, enjoy this day. Love you. I am thinking at one point in your day, that you should have phoned me and asked for prayers. Love you. Mom

  2. Thanks for the honourable mention. So glad Alexander was able to give perspective on your "Terrible No Good Very Bad Day"!
    So fun to read your blog...tell Rykauna it's looking good.
    Hugs to all,
    Aunt Deb

  3. I can't wait to see and read about my new cousin Li Lin on the blog.
    It looks like you are having a fun time in China. My sisters and I are sooo jealous, a new sister and a trip to China all in one month! Missing you lots,