Friday, September 16, 2005

The Chinese Authorities Are in Possession of My Passport

I started to have an off day, but I fixed it eventually. I missed my kouyu (speaking) class today. It wasn’t because I didn’t wake up in time, or anything like that. I had another class before that which I attended. I only have kouyu once a week, and I’ve only had it once. I had no idea where my class was today. The class isn’t on my original schedule because I added it after school started, and in the last class the professor took the sheet from us with the room number.

I didn’t know where anyone from my daban (large class) was, and that’s probably because they were already at class. I ran up to the floor I thought the class might be on, and started looking for familiar faces. I was in the general area of the hallway that I remember my class being, and then I saw a girl who I had seen before. I asked her if this was the kouyu class, but she looked really confused. I don’t think she can speak Chinese yet. But two other people came up and asked what I was looking for. I told them, and they said, “Oh yes, this is the kouyu class. Come on in!”

I followed them and sat down in the last available seat. I was in the back of the room, so I had a good view of the room. I looked around and saw a huge bearded man. I realized that I was in the wrong class, because I definitely would have remembered that guy from last time. “Oh man, how am I going to get myself out of this without looking like a total moron?” I thought. People had started introducing themselves to me, and the chances getting out without complete embarrassment seemed to be diminishing. I looked at the teacher and had it confirmed without a doubt that I was in the wrong classroom. However, I had been there for about seven minutes, talking to people in Chinese.

I knew the professor was going to notice me as someone new soon, so I just stood up while looking intently at a piece of paper. I headed toward the door, apologizing to new people that I had to go. “Wait, why?” they asked. The professor looked at me. “Wait, wait. Where are you going? Stay,” he said.

“I’m terribly sorry. I can’t. I was only coming to observe for a few minutes to see if this was the right level for me. I have to go back to the office and let them know what I think.”

On the spot lying in Chinese – that’s what I did. I can’t believe I didn’t screw it up. Everyone just accepted the answer I gave because I gave it confidently and smoothly. I’m on my way to becoming a spy.
I make mention of becoming a spy because today I relinquished my passport to the local authorities in favor of getting a residence permit. Donny and I were both running out of time to get the permit, and after a long time at the bank, we went to the police station to register. Our permits are going to be ready next Friday, two days before our detainment would have otherwise begun.

This residence permit is going to allow me to enter and exit China with relative ease. It’s the closest to a Chinese passport that I can come to. I’m not sure if the permit goes into my passport, or if it’s just a separate document that I have to carry. Regardless, right now, I am without any identifying papers except for my student card issued from BLCU. The funny thing about that is the fact that it only has my Chinese name in it.

As far as anyone can be concerned at the present moment, my name is Ding Mei. I have a bank account in that name, have paid internet bills in it, and have an identity card with it. I feel like a spy with an alias. This is pretty cool.


At 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad nobody suggested scanning your passport stuff onto a stick drive. That way you'd still have ID.

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Teacher Tong said...

你指的residence permit是绿色书皮的外国人身份证吗?学校给你发了学校的胸章没有?


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