Friday, May 24, 2013

A poem/What I have "learned"

A poem for you--

Brain turned to mush,

on last day of finals week;

Is that the light at the end of the tunnel?

Or just the glowing of my computer screen?



Insurance policy has come back from the Office of International Programs, finally, so I get to buy that tomorrow. Also and ISIC card, which has a good deal on emergency evacuation (hah yeah i'm serious). And hopefully finish my capstone acceptance packet.

What I have learned: probably the same thing that I always "learn"-- that I should have started all of this much earlier.

haha CHEERS~

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Visa Good News

Finally done (for the most part) with my visa app!! Turned in my forms to Mia this morning. Bus ticket purchased for my second trip back to Rocklin to get my final physical exams. And Mia said that there is a delay in sending the forms to DC, so they won't be late after all!!

When will I learn? I was freaking about about all of this so bad, and here in the end,  there is no problem at all. 

I bought myself a mocha to celebrate ^_^

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Physical, pt. 2 or, Things Get Testy: One Quick Trip

I messed it up!! I thought I wasn't going home until Friday, but here it is on Tuesday, and I am sitting on the MegaBus heading towards Sacramento.

It all started yesterday when I was (still) working on getting my visa packet together. It dawned on me that it was due this coming Friday, only a few days from now.  So I was going through my things, seeing what else I had to do, and there it was: PHYSICAL EXAMINATION RECORD FOR FOREIGNER. Remember all of those forms I told you about in my last post, Travel Physical, pt. 1? The giant one that the doc refused to take? That is the one that is due in the visa packet. I about had a heart attack when I realized it. 

The good news though? By some stroke of luck, it just happened that the day I scheduled my health exam for was the same day that it is due in Washington D. C. Mia said it would *most likely* be okay if I just FedEx them over on the same day. 

So why am I going to Rocklin today, Tuesday? Well the forms include some lab tests, like blood work and an X-ray, and if I were to take those lab tests on Friday, I wouldn't be able to have the results ready to be recorded and FedExed. SO. Here I am on the way to Rocklin. Only to head back to SF tonight. 

Now that you are up to speed with all of that, let me just tell you that I am not feeling my best. Lab work comes with fasting, no eating for ten hours prior to the tests, which wouldn't be so bad. Except for... COFFEE. I don't do so well without any coffee. My head feels like there is a clamp on it, and my eyelids have need drooping since I got up this morning.  I got up pretty early so I'm a little low in sleep too. 

But that's enough whining for now, plenty of good things await in Rocklin. My dad is going to pick me up from the bus station where it will be nice and warm, so I am looking forward to that. My mom has the day off too so we will also be able to hang out. And of course Wolfie my mom's dog will be there to play with. So it's not all bad. 

Should be making it home in just a few hours!! Hopefully this trip goes smoothly. What if I go into the office and my doctor goes "I ain't doing it!!" Lol. We shall see. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013


QQ is neat. Its like a mix between AOL Instant messenger and Facebook. You add friends and post statuses and pictures and stuff. Fun times on Thursday with my tutor Xi Li, who helped me make a QQ account. This way, I can hopefully make friends in China, and stay in touch with them a bit easier. 

It was sort of strange because when you make an account, you not only get a name and password, you also get a number to go along with it too. Its like a long 10 digit number that you are required to use to add people. I mentioned it to my dad, and he found that sort of intriguing, in light of some of the recent policy reforms that have been passed, trying to make people online identity easier to trace back to their real life identity. It also brought to mind that I was asked for my passport number (!!!) when registering for Sina Weibo, another social media platform, which I kindly declined to. 

But then again I am a total n00b at the internet, especially the chinese internet. Does anyone know what the long number is for? Have they always done it that way? And why did it want my passport number??  

Anyways, thanks so much Xi Li for helping me out with this! Now i just need to add some more friends! 真謝謝李曦姐姐幫我裝好QQ的軟件!這次在一起超好玩的呀!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Processing my Visa辦簽證/Medical Forms Update

Making more progress with my visa! I was discouraged last time when the Walgreen's people were somehow unable to take a sufficient visa picture of me in after 30 minutes ((shakes fist)) so I just got a refund and left... I have pulled about my visa form once again!

So I've mentioned before, but the Chinese visa application is complicated, and the "instructions" are not much of a help. I have it mostly sorted out now, thanks to MIA!!, but I just wanted to point out a sort of interesting feature, Part D of the Supplementary Visa App Form. This section says, "If you are applying for a visa in a country or territory other than the country of your nationality, please fill out the following." That seems pretty straightforward, like this box would apply to everyone. Then in box 2 asks "What kind of visa or residence permit of this country or territory do you hold?" This question seems irrelevant  because if this visa application is for a country other than that of my nationality (as stated above), wouldn't the answer be "none" ?? THEN it asks for the "number of your visa [for this territory] and its expiration date." Well that just takes the cake because if I already had a visa, why would I be applying for it here with this form??

After talking this over with my colleague, she had the idea that this portion might be relevant for residents of special economic zones like Hong Kong or Taiwan, who might have two passports or something like this. I think that this weird visa app is really an artifact of the incredibly complex resident situations of the area. It only happened just a few years ago that direct flights from China to Taiwan were established, and China still sort of considers Taiwan its territory, and what is HK even?? These issues make answering questions like "have you visited China before?" much more difficult on paper.

Also, just an update about the medical procedures. I found a city run clinic that will do a TB Test for almost half the price of the on campus health center!! The SF CDC&P has a travel clinic that will do the test for only $40 (SFSU Health Center charges $70). They do a drop in clinic which is open M-W&F (not available on Thursdays). Of course it is downtown, and you will have to go down there twice to get it read, but for that price I think it is worth it. Click this link to go to their website and check it out.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Let's Get Oriented/外國留學引導會議

Study Abroad Orientation was today... I had seen this presentation before, and being not so stoked to see it a second time, I was late. Had some good bus times with Will on the way over though:

Or mostly just me. Haha.

Anyways, when I finally made it, I found that it was more helpful that I had been anticipating. We mostly went over your plans and goals for study abroad and how to accomplish them, and then watched a few clips from Turistas and Taken to illustrate ways of how NOT to go about your study abroad year. Check out the cheesy cheesy trailer down below. I also got a sweet book called Maximizing Study Abroad: Students' Guide.  It looks pretty academic-y but its got checklists and strategies which are sort of useful, so I will probably cruz through that and let you know how it is. I got some good information from alumni of my program, and hooked up with some classmates too. And even David Wick from OIP was on his best behavior. So I would say it was pretty successful, not so painful. I shouldn't whine so much about these meeting type things.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Travel Physical, pt. 1

The latest project for my study abroad plans: complete a physical.

Doesn't sound too hard, right? Go to the doctor, they check your pulse, knock on your chest a few times, and call it good, right? Thats what I thought too. But in Study Abroad Land, going to the doctor is not really about your physical health, its actually about forms. Filling out paperwork.

The amount of paperwork that I presented at the downtown SF Overseas Medical Clinic was indeed so trepidating that I was refused outright by the doc herself. And then the best I could do after negotiations was a promise that "if you do it here, it will cost you $500." So, needless to say, I will be pursuing another route.

What could have been so bad about a few pieces of paper? Well lets start with the amount of 10 full pages. We have three sets of medical forms that need to be filled out for three different organizations: SFSU Study Abroad, Chinese Overseas Flagship Program, and for the Chinese Visa. They ask you all the standards about your personal medical history, mental health history, immunization record, does the physician recommend you for the program, etc. And then there are some more involved procedures like a physical examination and tuberculosis screening. But then the Chinese Visa application gets real weird, requiring a chest X-ray, and ECG, and a lab exam for HIV and syphilis. The lady at the Overseas Medical Clinic also made mention of a stool sample which she thought needed to be taken as well... yeah.

So with an estimate of $500, I sad no in lieu of some other options through my regular health care provider. Having said that, I'll also note that my regular health care provider is located two hours drive away from where I live now... so that will be a fun trip. 4 hours driving and a whole bunch of crazy tests all in one day. I scheduled that for a Friday in the next few weeks here, and should cost me nothing with insurance, a good trade of for the 70 bucks I would have spent at Overseas Medical.

Anyways, thus is the story of my travel physical, pt. 1. I will let you know how the rest of this goes, I have a feeling that I'm gonna get a little TESTY.


Notes for Study Abroad Students:

Overseas Medical Clinic- If you need a regular physical, or have to have the standard Study Abroad forms filled out, they should be okay. But do look over your forms first to make sure that you don't need any complicate procedures, besides maybe having your blood pressure taken, or maybe your eyes checked. Anything more, just take it somewhere else; when in doubt, just give them a call and go over your forms with them before hand to make sure that you will be in the clear. You don't want to get down there, just to find out that they can't help you (this is the part where you learn from my mistakes/前車之鑒). They don't have their own website, but you can see their Yelp for contact info here.

Update on 5/5 with a photo:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

有博客了~~Hi Everyone, welcome to my blog!

Hi Everyone, I'm 崔燕羚, Rachel, or Sparrow Antelope, which ever you like is fine ^ - ^

I am making this blog so that all of my people who I love so much can stay in touch with me during my big adventure to 中國,南京, Nanjing China. Its so far, hopefully this will help bridge the distance between us all.

I am also a part of the Chinese Flagship Cohort going to Nanjing University during Academic year 2013-14 and in preparing for my trip, I have found not a single blog, anecdote, funny story, or piece of advice from any previous Flagship students! There is a real need for that I think, so hopefully students later can take a look at my blog and get some insight on how their trip will be.

And also, I'd like to keep this blog as sort of a record for my own sake. This trip will be fun and important! I will take lots of pics and video and log what I am doing and thinking and that sort of thing. I used to like journaling, but handwriting stuff is practically a legacy technology now, typing is just so much faster. So anyways, here goes nothing! I hope everyone enjoys.


Sparrow Antelope.