Wednesday, November 12, 2008


On Sunday Peter, my superstar fiance, went to the US consulate in Guangzhou and got approved for a visa to the US! We've been preparing documents and practicing interview questions for months--MONTHS!--and in the end all they did was ask him a couple questions and look at a picture or two. It was great because while he was there he said he saw a lot of people receiving white papers, which are refusals. We had read before that they have already basically decided if they will give you a visa before the interview. Yay!

So, what next?

Well, he has to wait in Guangzhou 3 to 5 days for the paperwork to be finished. There is a disclaimer on his paperwork that they could change their minds, but it's not likely...only if they found some problem with his paperwork. He's worried about it, mainly because we've been worrying about his visa for over a year, and it's a hard habit to break. Once he has his visa in hand he's going to buy a giant suitcase (hard to find in China, but available in Guangzhou) and go back to Hainan.

There's a bit of an availability problem with booking his plane ticket, so rather than arriving November 24, like we had planned, he won't be here until December 10. I was pretty disappointed that he won't be here for Thanksgiving, but the point is he's coming. His dad is going to come down and visit him, and this will give them some more time to hang out.

The wedding will be January 10, 2009 at 1pm. I'll be sending out invitations soon, so this is the last chance, send me your address if you haven't already! Pray that there's no more complications and he can just be here soon!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Interview Countdown

Peter's interview is Monday, November 10 at 7:15 Chinese time, which is about 3pm Sunday afternoon.

Monkey Business

So, on Tuesday, I feel positive about Peter's visa. When I call him, however, as I do every night, all he wants to talk about is plans B and C, our backup plans in case his visa is denied or delayed. ("B" stands for "Plan Bad" and "C" stands for "Plan Cruel and Unusual.") At 1:00 am I am lying awake thinking, "What are we going to DO?!"

In the morning on Wednesday, all is bleak. I can neither confirm nor deny the consumption of too much ice cream that afternoon. I call him that night and he's all cheerful. I, determined to be grumpy, deflect as much as possible his attempts to make me laugh. Finally I ask, "Why are you so happy?"

"I had a dream."

"What did you dream about?"

He dreamed he got his visa. His sense of the thing when he woke up was not that he was guaranteed to get a visa, but that God wanted Peter to know that He was in control, and everything would be ok one way or another.

My response to this loving message: "Why didn't you tell me that sooner?!"

So today I feel much better. God is going to take care of us. In spite of interludes of doubt, I just have had this overriding feeling that he's going to get the visa on Sunday. I don't know if that's wishful thinking, or my own message from God. So, Peter is not sure he's going to get it, but he is sure that God is in control. I also know God is in control, but I have this difficult-to-squelch positivity that this is going to be the one part of the process that goes smoothly. We're due. He dreamed about getting the visa, you know. That's key. Of course, he did dream that they gave it to him printed on a sheet of paper shaped like a monkey. But I think we can let that part go.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Update

Generally speaking, China is one day ahead of us. It's actually 16 hours (maybe it's 15, daylight savings time really throws me), but basically it's a day. If that's confusing, take a look at the clock on my sidebar. So, I generally use US time when I tell you what Peter's up to. So, if you're a stickler for reality, add a day...for example, his interview on Monday morning, November 10th takes place on the afternoon of Sunday the 9th, US time. People are always complaining how we are behind China, in school performance, economic growth (don't get me started on what the actual truth of that is) but they're even ahead of us in TIME.

So, on Sunday Peter packed up about ten pounds of photos, forms, and paperwork, and got on a bus to take a train that would get on a boat to go to Guangzhou. He left around 4pm, got a sleeper on the train, and woke up in Guangzhou. Sleeper berths in China are not too expensive, and are pretty comfortable. He used to buy seats, but I, the princess, made him take a sleeper last year and he hasn't gone back since. I converted him, and I'm proud of it. A friend of a friend there is loaning him an apartment for the 7-10 days he'll be there. That has been such a blessing because we're saving about 800 RMB on a hotel room, and he doesn't have to sleep on someone's couch.

He got settled in Monday, and on Tuesday afternoon he'll be going to the hospital for his required medical check. I don't know exactly what they'll be checking, but as long as he doesn't have any major diseases he should pass. It takes three days for those results to come back, and then he'll be all set for his interview on Sunday at the US consulate. If (please!) they say yes, he has to wait in Guangzhou for three days for the to issue his visa. Even if they say yes in his interview, they could change their minds during the three day waiting period. That's pretty unlikely, it usually only happens if there's a problem with his information. But we won't really relax until he gets that thing in his hand!

Once he's got the visa, he's free to come to the US whenever he likes. He got out of going back to work for a last week (PTL) but he'll have to return to Haikou, pack up his stuff, say goodbyes, and then he'll travel home to Xi'an. He'll spend about a week there with his family, and then if all goes well he should arrive in the US sometime Thanksgiving week.

So that's the thing. Please keep his interview in your prayers. Our current economic downturn, which has affected so many things, has made getting a visa harder. Hopefully our finances are enough. The other possibilty is that at his interview they will tell him they need more time to review his case. Then he'll have to return to Haikou and wait for them to send him a notice of their decision, which could take up to two months. That's what we really don't want. We've already waited so long. I want him here for the holidays. I just want him here! So please lift us up.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Now that I'm back in the US I can access my blog again! About halfway through my first year in China Blogger was blocked, so I was cut off. I started Facebook instead, and recently wrote a note about drug reps that was criticially acclaimed...well, by one person, who is such a nice person anyways she probably would have told me my entry, "Ner ner ner" was fantastic. However, I've let it go completely to my head, and I've decided I can't let the world go round anymore withouth my insightful, award winning writing.

So, to start things off, I have made a keen and insightful observation about human nature, here working as a super-star receptionist for an OBGYN. Several times a day, I have this dialogue on the phone:

In my best receptionist voice, "Good afternoon, Dr. S's office."

"Hi, I'm a patient of Dr. S."

Pause. No further information is forthcoming. What am I expected to say? Did you call to tell me that? Are you waiting for applause? Is being a patient like having a fast pass at Disnelyland, you get to cut ahead of the huddled masses?

But here's the problem. Lest you think that I am being cynical and judgemental of our patients, let me tell you that I (in a past life when I had health insurance) do the same thing! I don't know why. It's like a compulsion. I call in and say, "Hi, I'm a patient of Dr. BillyBob." And stop. My theory is that deep down inside, no one knows what to say. That is, no one knows what to say in general, but especially when talking to their doctor or someone from a doctor's office. Somehow it's intimidating. So we end up with the fastpass theory of medical care. I just find it amusing.