I wanted to have a blast in Hangzhou all weekend as I’ve been planning to do for weeks, but somehow it turned out to be largely about getting legal.
See, to work legally in China, you need a work visa. In China, it’s called a Z Visa. (Z for 职业, of course.) If you have a full time job in China, your employer has to do the necessary paperwork to get you the Z Visa.
But there’s more. I also needed an Alien Employment Permit (外国人就业证). In Hangzhou I had a Foreign Experts Certificate (外国专家证). Apparently the transition from “American spoken English teacher at a university” to “trainer/consultant fluent in Chinese at a private company” involved a change from expert to alien as well. Oh well, the pay’s a lot better. I got my Alien Employment Permit last week.
But there’s one more important document. As a foreigner, I also need a Residence Permit (居留证). In Hangzhou my school used to repeatedly renew a Temporary Residence Permit (临时居留证). The temporary permit was a flimsy little piece of paper that you can just tuck inside your passport. The full-on Residence Permit looks like a dark green passport and requires a yearly physical examination. Apparently ZUCC found the physical exam requirement too much of a bother. That was fine with me. But now I need a physical to get my Residence Permit in Shanghai.
To make a long, boring story short, my new work institution was too slow in getting all my paperwork processed, so I had to go to the bureau of something or other on Saturday morning to get my Temporary Residence Permit extended so I don’t get fined 400 rmb (US$50) per day. But they took my passport, so I can’t get my physical today, as scheduled. I will have to make a new appointment.
The other reason I didn’t leave for Hangzhou Friday night was that Melody had its company dinner Friday night. It seems to be a tacit understanding that attendance is mandatory. That turned out to be a lot better time than I expected, though. The food was good, my co-workers were fun, and there was a lot of beer drinking. (Too bad it was all Budweiser.)
I did finally make it to Hangzhou Saturday afternoon. I got to see all my Hangzhou friends and made some new ones. Heather had a great house-warming party.
Returning to ZUCC, I somehow feel like I’m returning to the comfort and security of ma and pa on the farm, back from big city life. Life was simple and pleasant all those days at ZUCC. It still is.