Saturday, May 24, 2008


We're leaving very soon.
In about 5 weeks we're grabbing a plane back to the states.
It'll cost us several hundred bucks to move our tickets for the second time (the first was because you can't actually buy tickets that return a year after you go out), but that is nothing compared to the thousands of dollars our families have spent on tickets to come and visit us in the next three months. Tickets that will take them to a city where we are not.

It's not homesickness that brings us back, though the thought of seeing our families and cats and eating burritos and going to the dollar theater and slowly reading an author's body of work at the library and talking to people on the bus about more than what country I'm from certainly has its appeal. Nor is it a lack of money, nor any particular hope of finding good jobs or getting our lives together when we go back.

No the trouble is visas.

A lot of people (especially those who are out thousands of dollars a trip to China) have been confused by this. Why would we suddenly discover that our visas did not run until our departure date but ended over a month before? Had some officious monoglot come to our home and torn out the finely printed sticker? No, the fact is we came on a visa that would last only three months, and we've had no trouble renewing it since. Several of our co-workers have lived in Beijing for years on the same visa renewed every few months.

But our co-workers are teachers, and though we eat at the finest restaurants and buy tailored suits we're still the bottom rung of expat society. Those of us living here on F visas, intended for business travelers, instead of a working Z, are employed by smaller, fly-by-night operations. It is we who the government is eager to see out of town during the olympics.

So we go.

On july 30th I eat my first burrito in nearly a year, and I'm having trouble feeling bad about it.

1 comment:

Leia said...

Holy Moly Frijole! I call dibs on having you guys over for dinner as soon as you're back!!!

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