Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Good news, finally, on the visa front! I've been twisting in the wind trying to figure out how to get my 2 x 90 day visa extended without having to go back to the US (or at least know that I need to return to the US); everyone seemed to think there was a way to do it but nobody knew how. My friend R (who invited me to speak to her class on Monday) gets things done! Turns out the kind of visa I have is not available for more than six consecutive months. But I'll be in Hong Kong - which counts as abroad - in ten days, where I can get a new six-month visa for Jan-Jun 2015. "No guarantees," the official in charge said, but this looks like the light at the end of the tunnel. He's issued me an official request for an 180-day visa on behalf of the university, which I will present to the visa folks in Hong Kong together with a letter describing that my "fruitful collaboration" with Chinese colleagues is going swimmingly but will require just a little bit longer than anticipated. Assembling that letter, with appropriate signatures and seals (for the importance of seals in China check out the chapter on "Revolution" in Yu Hua's China in Ten Words), was entrusted to a postdoc who's become a friend and has been following the saga of Mark's visa. "I'm sorry it's so 复杂 (complicated)," I said. "不是复杂," he said: not complicated. Someone finally told us what to do!

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