I have officially booked my flights to China.
Aaahhhhhh this is so fricking exciting.
This blog is meant to have some degree of literacy and as a general rule I try to stop myself from posting all in capital letters all the time.
BUT YOU GUYS I AM MAKING DEFINITE PROGRESS TOWARDS ACTUALLY GOING TO CHINA.
CHINA. LIKE ACTUAL CHINA. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
I finished my Mandarin lessons a month or two ago (basically two hours every fortnight of me sitting and wishing I was as cool as my middle aged teacher) and I had planned to get to planning/booking/applying for visa but I’ve been really busy until the past week or two, with changing jobs/exams/deadlines/extra-curricular curricular activities. So I hadn’t actually made progress. But now I have! Went into the travel agents on Wednesday and tied down some dates and then booked them yesterday morning.
The next step is applying for a visa. China is reportedly one of the more difficult countries to get a visa for, and you have to be particularly organised. Some countries allow you to rock up for a grace period of x number of days, but with China you need a formal letter of invitation to the country from someone in China, and you also need to provide them with the purpose of and an itinerary for your stay. As well as proof of your itinerary- this means confirmations of flights and hotel bookings.
So although I’ve booked my flights, sadly it doesn’t mean I’ll definitely be going to China! Earlier this year, the President of China visited the UK and they cosied up to each other (but if garden party chat can be believed it’s a bit more complicated than that) and as a result they’ve actually relaxed the visa rules. You can now visit China on a single entry for a total of 90 days at one time, and you’re allowed re-entry into the country as many times as you want in a 2 year period. Which sounds fantastic! My worry is that in relaxing the requirements they’ll be stricter about how many visas they give out, but I guess that remains to be seen.
So at the minute I’m trying to work out what exactly I’ll be doing every single day for 90 days. Needless to say, it’s proving a bit complicated! And I keep getting distracted by places called “Fairy Pool Scenic Area” and mentions of golden monkeys. But my plan is to fly out mid/late August to Shanghai, move around using the squiggly green lines below before ending in Hong Kong mid/late November. I’ll stick around there for a couple of days then fly out to finish my adventure in Japan!
At the minute I’m getting very confused trying to work out how to compare small guesthouses in rural China. But it’s most definitely a labour of love. Asia here I come!
My birthday was last week. I think. I was on nights this weekend so I’ve no concept of which way is up never mind what day it is. But the birthday was fun! As is my way, I had three birthdays: first was in work with pizza and cookies (I do actually do work I promise), the second was Eurovision party on the Saturday, and then the actual birthday itself on the Monday. Went out for drinks and lunch with the family and in the evening saw Derren Brown!
The man made us promise not to put spoilers on social media but needless to say the guy got up in front of everyone and performed blatant witchcraft. People of a delicate or religious constitution need not apply. I spent my time trying to work out exactly how he manipulates people. After communication skills training at uni, my knowledge of non-verbal communication and cues etc. has made me more aware of how these things work , but this was a complete other level. Like Super Slytherin times seventeen. It was interesting when he looked at people and assessed (or at least pretended to) how easy or hard it would be to manipulate them, but he was pulling off ridiculously complicated stunts that it can’t be anything remotely simple. So eventually I decided it was actual shamanic ju-ju.
Eurovision was also brilliant craic! I went out shopping beforehand to try and get a bunting of different flags but couldn’t find anything. This being Northern Ireland, the closest thing J could get was a bunch of red white and blue flags. Which is fine, I passed them off as France. My housemate had the national flag of the gays though so we had a nice relevant rainbow sitting above our fireplace in honour of Eurovision.
We’d crafted a bunch of drinking rules to make the event go by smoothly (or not smoothly) and they ended up being bloody well brutal. By the end of the night I’d lost my voice from shouting DRINK every time lasers or a granny came on screen. I’d dressed up in my Lederhosen so it probably didn’t make a very imposing sight. But the night wdnt on until about four in the morning so it was a success anyway. And more importantly I had fun.
As a birthday present, I got some money together from the fam and myself and bought a DSLR camera! It arrived the other day amd I’ve been playing about with it today. The aim is to be able to take semi-decent photos by the time I get to China so I can come back and not only be annoying talking about what a wonderful time I had and how much of a voyage of self discovery it was, but also be annoying and upload 732 photos in sepia onto facebook and make people sit down and watch my PowerPoint show.
Don’t go thinking you’re safe.
Been a while since my last post. Part of that is from slogging away! Just finished my first month in oncology- it’s all a bit heartbreaking at times but I think overall I’ll enjoy the job as the speciality attracts some really lovely people and every day is interesting. I’m enjoying getting to know the patients and some of the actual medicine is fascinating.
I’ve also been at the old graft in the form of an exam on Tuesday just past. MRCP Part 1, one of the stepping stones if you want to go down the route of General Medicine. It’s a tough exam, one that asks a lot of really detailed questions (at times needless/esoteric level of detail) so understandably it was a really crap exam. But sure it’s done! And now I can have a life again! Gonna get to planning China in the next couple of weeks.
On that note it’s my birthday next week (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee) and we’re gonna go see Derren Brown! I’m also going out for lunch with the parental units and this Saturday we’re having some people round for a party. The main reason for the party is the glorious tradition that is Eurovision! Gonna dress up in traditional Lithuanian sequins and get plastered. It’ll be class.
Now bed though. Tomorrow is more work.