You know that feeling you get when you’ve been throwing a bunch of darts without hitting the bullseye? That’s about where I’m at. I’m smack dab in the middle of one of the most complicated, messed-up situations of my life. I’ve spent the day pacing around my apartment muttering “what should I do”.

Dear readers, thank you for your patience. I know I’ve barely written anything in The Year of the Dog. That’s because this is a year of editing. I’m cleaning up the past few years worth of mishaps and honestly, it’s been overwhelming.

The first thing I’m scheduled to complete this year is paying off a huge debt to my Dad who helped me out during a major crisis in 2016. Secondly, I’m trying to get a Chinese residence card by any means necessary so I can avoid the whole every-60-day-border song and dance. Thirdly, I’m trying to self-publish my first novel so that I can move on to the next one.

Did I mention that my apartment building is under construction and they destroyed my balcony a.k.a my cat’s room yesterday afternoon? Yep, that happened and I’m livid. Trying to get a response from my current rental agency is like pulling teeth.

I even had a dream about my balcony last night. In the dream I asked the slender construction workers when the renovations would be complete and they told me it’d be another month. When I woke up at the crack of dawn, I realized that the reality is worse than the nightmare. There’s no way to repair the balcony without building a whole new wall, which I doubt they’re going to do. There’s also nowhere in my room I can put my cat’s litter box without suffocating from the stench. My roommate, who usually watches my cat when I’m away, has gone out of town for a week-long vacation. He deserves it. He works too hard.

After seeing the balcony, I felt so depressed I crawled back under the sheets and dozed off again. I heard my phone ring. Then I heard a knock on the door. The delivery guy had arrived with none other than my Admission Letter to Shanghai Normal University. The kicker? I’d have to get a new passport and a new visa by September 6th. From outside of the U.S., this would be incredibly expensive and difficult but still doable.

Oh, and my appointment with the consulting company is tomorrow afternoon. They’re the ones who can help me get a work visa as a freelancer in China. I only had one day to make a decision that could affect the rest of my life.

I had weighed the pros and cons. Tons of thoughts swirled around my head:

Everyone and their cat has an advanced degree these days. If I don’t get my Master’s, I’ll never have any good career prospects.

Then again, I don’t really wanna study finance and my local friends did say that Shanghai Normal University is not a finance school. Also, I’m no good at math so I’d need an excellent teacher which I don’t think I’ll have access to here.

But if my work visa application gets rejected, I’ve wasted thousands of dollars and lost the opportunity to get a Master’s and a student visa.

But I also submitted my background check and Bachelor’s Degree for authentication in the U.S. which had cost about $600. 

Finally, I flipped a one RMB coin. Heads, I’ll go to Korea and try to bum rush my student documents like mad. Tails, I’ll continue down the path of opening my company and employing myself legally here in China. I got tails twice. I guess the university sending my documents late was a blessing in disguise. Indeed, life is too short to study something I’ve got no interest in. I just hope that everything goes smoothly with my company and that I won’t have to leave too many more times before the processing is done.


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