Today we were scheduled to pickup our cargo that shipped by water. We had already started the paperwork on this process last week– it took a good several hours (most tasks here do). Here’s what was involved. We received an email from some company called Divine Phoenix, notifiying us that the shipment had arrived. We then went to their offices downtown and paid 540 RMB (almost $70 USD) to exchange our email printout for another document/slip. We cab about 40 minutes north to the customs office in BaoShan, an outer suburb. There, Nai had to draft a document stating that we moved here for work purposes and our belongings were for personal use. We took that document next door, got a bunch of items photocopied and got another required form typed. By then, it was 11 AM and the first counter where we were supposed to return with the copies and forms was closed for lunch until 1 PM. So we killed some time searching for a restaurant (there only seemed to be one in the area) and then returned at 1 PM. The officer was late returning from lunch (I guess 2 hours wasn’t long enough) so we waited some more. Finally, we got all our papers stamped (once you start hearing the chops, you know you are nearly done… at least at that service window). We were directed next door again. Turns out, the items weren’t even at the offce. We needed to schedule another trip for pickup. That brings us to today.
We brought the necessary documents and were sent behind the building to locate our shipping palet. Our tubs were then x-rayed and two were selected for inspection. The contents were examined and then we were sent off on our merry way. We called a 0.6 truck to transport our goods home. John had the great pleasure of sitting on the metal bench (rather than a car seat) for almost 60 minutes. Those trucks aren’t allowed to go on the highway, so they drive through the city. My grandparents and I only arrived home 15 minutes earlier because of congestion on the highway.
We had six huge Rubbermaid tubs– full of crap. Since we’ve been here, we’ve only worn maybe 3 different outfits. Now we have four tubs of clothes. Disgusting, isn’t it? But now John is all set up with his computer books. I’m thrilled to have my Matrix Amplify shampoo and conditioner (sorry but the freebie HoJo shampoo was like washing my hair with bar soap). Remy and Martin are of course hooked up with their favorite treats– Greenies.
In the afternoon, I had an interview with JobWeek, a publication that prints job vacancies in SH and also features one unemployed person seeking work. Through some distant family connections, I was chosen to be the next featured jobless person. 🙂 So I met with Editor Pearl Shen… she said she wanted to hear my story because that’s how my article was going to be structured– like a narrative/profile. Yes, very weird. But she didn’t speak any English, so I had to give her my gist in Mandarin. So for about an hour and a half, I told her about my education, my previous job experiences, why I left environmental engineering consulting, why FMF was such a great experience for me, why we decided to move here, what I ideally wanted to do. I talked so openly and frankly, it felt like a therapy session. She asked about our inital experiences and outings around the city, our favorite spots, favorite foods, what we disliked. It was a good interview, I thought. I was very proud that I was able to convey my thoughts on complicated issues like feminism, abortion rights, family planning, etc. I just hope when the article comes out, it accurately reflects what I had wanted to express.
Next stop for the day: career counseling consultant. They have a partnership with JobWeek so I was the lucky recipient of a Chinese-style Meyer-Briggs test. Fortunately, my counselor was patient enough to read the questions line by line. Not sure what kind of personality profile will turn up… Certainly not Type A.
While I was occupied with JobWeek logistics, John wandered about the city. He found yet another coffee shop (though he claims he wants become a tea drinker) and was accosted in the mall by some young lady named Su Zi. She offered to “make friends” and go for some coffee. Wisely, John declined her offer for coffee and mentioned he was waiting for his wife. Yeah, that’s right honey. Back off! This ain’t Temptation Island…