It was Monday morning and I wasn’t intending on doing much. Only booking a train ticket for the 16th of August, to go to Beijing where I’d apply for the Indian visa, in person, at the Embassy. That’s all I’d planned. That gave me a week to sort the documents and get my head into gear. But, by the time the visa would be processed and I’d have my passport back, I’d only have a week left in China. That was cutting it fine – leaving me hardly any time to sort any unforeseen obstacles that could get in the way. But I didn’t see any other of doing it.
UNTIL Monday morning that is. I went to the train station to book the ticket to Beijing for the 16th. Helen came with me, to translate. We were told we couldn’t book the train so far in advance. Okay fine. Leave it for another day?! Hummm…. Suddenly I thought… can I not just get a ticket for tomorrow? Instead of waiting another week? And that was that… the decision was made. I bought the ticket for train that was leaving the following morning. However easy that was, suddenly the pressure was on… to get all the documents sorted by Monday evening, and get my ass on the train to Beijing by Tuesday 8.30am…
Sorting the documents brought me to suddenly be sorting out a lot more than I expected. The main thing being: before heading to Beijing I had to BOOK MY FLIGHT! The embassy needed proof of my departure from China and a confirmed flight was the only was in which to do so. Oops… this was totally unexpected. I thought I’d not book the flight until the visa had been approved. I’d thought to put off booking the flight until a week or 10 days before actually leaving. Monday was suddenly the day I to book, IF I wanted to keep the ball rolling… and I did need to keep things moving, so yes, I sussed out my exact dates and booked! I got my head around things pretty quickly. There was no time to start doubting my decision… And so, it became as final as final can be. My last day at work is on the 28th of August and I’m flying from Beijing to Mumbai on the 1st of September. This gives me time to pack up my things and explore Beijing properly for a day or 2, before flying out.
It was pretty nerve wrecking and of course I panicked, felt queasy and had moments of thinking myself to be insane for actually following this through… But those were, again, only fleeting moments. And once I was calm, I knew why I was taking these steps. It wouldn’t have mattered when I’d book the flights, because I’d have always need to take action. I’d always need to make that step; the one from fantasizing about the dream to actually making it real. After dreaming about it, crying over it, nervously telling others about it… yes, it would always need to become a reality. And on Monday evening it became real, there was no going back and I knew: “Hey! I don’t even want to go back! Forward is the only way!”
Tuesday, moving forward meant a daytrip to Beijing… What an unexpected visit… The first time to visit the capital, that’s only 3 or 4 hours by train, from Jinzhou! I found it actually pretty odd for the first visit NOT to be for the purpose of discovering China, but to actually be for leaving China. But, that’s how it was obviously meant to go. Being there was brilliant though. I felt so much life and energy and was totally shocked by how Western it is… People will still stare, but it’s different than the stares I get ALL THE TIME here in Jinzhou. And the amount of unfamiliar western faces I saw in the 5 hours I spent wandering around, was more than I’d ever see here, in the space of 6 months. Any western people I see here are the people I know and work with or the tiny bunch of contacts outside of the office. For a short instant I wondered if I’d been too hasty to want to leave China, if there was a place so near to Jinzhou that could offer such a different feel… But, that was only short lived, because after 3 or 4 hours I was reminded why I’m leaving China, why I’m not a city person and why my first encounter with Beijing had to be for reason of leaving… Simply because China is not my place for now… And it’s okay.
Being in the Indian Embassy; this was so cool! Man, I was so excited; especially when I saw a few Indian people and heard that familiar accent again. Yes, this was good… a slightly strange scenario though: an Irish citizen, in Beijing, applying for an Indian visa… humm… what are the odds.
The next step; waiting for the visa to come through, which could take up to 10 days. I’ve only got all my fingers and toes crossed that will come through, without anything getting in the way… I know there’ll always be a solution to any problem, so I trust that I’ll be on that flight, that’s due to leave in only 3 weeks… wouw.. What a weekend this has been. I truly did get what I wished for