Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Successful 24 Hours

To fully understand and appreciate all that I am about to tell you, you would have to live here, but since most of you don’t let me just remind you that sometimes the simplest task can take forever. Anything official here requires a red stamp of approval., and some times not just one, but one from every office along the way. A lot of time can be spent in offices waiting or proving that you should get a document stamped.

Yet despite how slow things can go, my new roommate and I have had a successful 24 hours. We were able to check her out of dorm and get a full refund of her deposit ( this took going to four different offices, one of which we have secretly nick named the evil office). We also got registered at our new apartment. I had gone to the police station to register myself weeks ago, but when I brought in a roommate, they made us both do it all again. I have lived here for almost four years, but have never had an official blue card with a red stamp, since I have always lived in dorm I was saved some of the headache of registering. Thankfully the guys in the office we have to deal with all are Uyghur. They thought it was CUTE that we could speak their language, one of them is even good friends with my landlord. Like in most parts of the world it is all about who you know, and it never hurts to name drop. The only frustrating part of the police station was the fat,balding, leader guy who made a point of telling me how much he likes Canadian girls… YUCK.

We also found a fax machine that would send internationally so that my roommate could send her sister the paperwork she needs to come and visit. This took us walking up and down our street for over an hour asking at ever second shop and being directed around in circles.

Finally, and best of all, we got our hot water tank installed. Ever since I moved into my new place, I have been showering in cold water. Now we have a nice large hot water tank, and the workers even hooked it up to our bathroom sink, now I can wash my hands in warm water. It took two guys over three and a half hours to install the thing, and I learned along the way that I really need to brush up on my repair/ maintenance vocabulary in the national language. I was really struggling to understand words like pipe and tape. But who cares I have hot water.

It is rare to get that much official stuff done in a week, much less in 24 hours.


dpb said...

In spite of the hassles you're definitely going to face, I think you'll learn a lot more language and a lot more about how things really work in your new place. So congratulations! When I think about the years I spent in the countryside (at the diametric opposite edge of the country from where you are now), I really marvel at all the things I was able to do. Somehow the bureaucratic obstacles, which at the time made my life very frustrating, have receded in memory. In the standard language (as spoken in that place) people say, "you remember being fed but forget having been beaten".

So enjoy your freedom! I'm sure many readers, like me, are enjoying your experiences vicariously. Thanks for blogging this.

- dpb

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much this sounds like when we moved to Quebec. It took me 2 days and 13 hours along with the work of 5 staff to et a driver's license transferred from Nova Scotia.