Kristie and I had to go to the local police station and a government office today. It was a formality to complete our work visas. During my interview, I was asked what I teach. I told the officer that I was teaching secondary mathematics. In China, I'm a rock star since I teach math. After that, it was a quick few stamps on my paperwork and I was dismissed. I believe he wanted my autograph to show his kids, but I think he was too embarrassed to ask for one. Kristie was being grilled by another officer. She asked Kristie several questions regarding what she was doing in China, why did she want to come to China, etc. It ended with the officer saying that Kristie was a "Great Mother" because she has three boys. I have always said that she was a good mother, however, it took a Chinese police officer to convince her that she is a "Great Mother". It seems the Chinese are impressed with our ability to bring so many boys into the world.
We took a break after the police station and went to a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch with several other people from QSI. I had the best cup of coffee in China. The Vietnamese hot coffee with milk was one of the most delicious cups of coffee I have had since Brazil when I drank cafezinhos. It was rich, slightly sweet, smooth with no bitter aftertaste. The best part is that it was relatively cheap. Starbucks is outrageous here in Shekou. For around $2.00 USD, I had a perfect cup of coffee.
After lunch, we had to drive into the heart of Shenzhen. We were very close to Shun Hing Square. This is the tallest building in China. We also drove past MixC. This is like the Rodeo Drive of Shenzhen, China. Gucci, Prada, etc. The prices are no different in China than the States. Only a select few can afford to shop at this mall. At the government office, it was just as uneventful. Our interview consisted of asking our full given name, where we were born and what we taught. A quick review of our paperwork and we were approved to stay and work in China.
When we left the building, we had a terrifying sight. A young man was perched on the edge of the government building ready to jump. It was a completely surreal experience. Just like a Hollywood movie with bystanders looking up, police keeping people away from the area and people telling him don't do it. Fortunately it ended with a police officer pulling him off of the edge. We were all thankful for the courage and strength of the officer. The young man was escorted by a police officer with a gentle arm around the young man's shoulder. Our Chinese coworker assured us that he would be going to the hospital for psychiatric help. Unfortunately, there is a high incidence of suicide in Asia.
Kristie and I were able to get home earlier today. We decided to walk up the mountain that is located by our home. The mountain is a public park that has steps that lead to the peak. The locals here walk up and down it as a means to get away from the hectic congested city. It is quite peaceful and an exercise of will to climb to the top. Kristie and I managed to get to the top. As typical Americans, we were determined to get to the top as quickly as possible. The Chinese have a very different approach. They walk slow and steady. I quickly determined why they do this method. We were out of breath and dripping with sweat after a short time into our trek. It is not to say that the Chinese did not work up a sweat. They did not get out of breath like we did. We were quite proud of ourselves to reach the top. It was worth the sweat and labor. We had a nice view of Shenzhen Bay and we were able to see parts of Hong Kong. Going down was relatively easy. On the way down, we saw a young couple having a romantic rendezvous under a Chinese pavilion. It reminded me of Kristie and myself when we were dating at Miami University. The feeling of wonder, the desire to be with each other, wanting to share every experience with each other, to be in love for the first time.
Today was an adventure. It made me realize how blessed I am to have a wonderful wife, three great children and an opportunity to experience life in China with my family.