I spent the majority of today at the Chinese embassy, trying to get my visa so I can fly into China at the end of next week. Up til this point, I had always used a visa service in the states, and never realized the chaos that goes on in the embassy. My two friends and I arrived 15 minutes after it opened, having just driven three hours to get there, and the lines were already out the door and down the block. I knew from that point on it was going to be a day full of waiting in line. I wasn't wrong.
Let me back up a minute before going on: to add to the experience of the day, I had forgotten my iPod at home. If you know me very well, you know I don't stay sane very long without music. I had realized pretty quickly after driving away from the house that I didn't have it, and I had to make a choice. Am I going to complain about this and be miserable all day long? Or am I going to turn this into a positive opportunity to focus on Him and listen to what He has to say to me today? Lately I've been realizing my need for space to listen to him... I don't think that forgetting my music at home was an accident. When there was silence, I was talking and listening to Him. When I saw something funny, instead of taking a picture of it to post later, I just said to Him, "Hey that's so funny! Did you see that?" It was an unexpectedly sweet time.
I think I got in and out of line at least 5 times throughout the day. It all added up to about 3.5 hours in line. But I got to meet some cool people, talking to whoever was next to me to pass the time. First there was a lady from Finland who I got to practice my Chinese with--ironic, I know. Then, an Israeli man asked me for help rewriting his application in English so that the tellers could read it. After leaving the embassy for lunch, he came running out after us and said, "They accepted my application! Thank you! I wouldn't have been able to get it without your help!" He bought me a big slice of watermelon on the street--so sweet. Both him and the watermelon, that is. After killing time at McDonalds while waiting for them to process my one day rush visa, I went back to wait in more lines. There I talked to a man from the UK who described his morning by saying: "You know that leak in the ceiling that was dripping into a bucket all morning?" I nodded. "Well I decided I was going to think of it as a nice, relaxing fountain, listening to the calming drip drip drip..." "Very therapeutic, I'm sure," I answered.
After lots of shuffling documents and cramps in my hand from rewriting things so many times (I have my passport number, drivers license, and all phone numbers and addresses in US, Thailand, and China all memorized by now), I finally GOT MY VISA at 4pm (halleluiah!). We returned home to find that the other girls had cooked delicious Mexican food for dinner and waited for us to eat with them. Definitely some of the best mexican food I've ever eaten.