- Domestic airlines will only allow pets as cargo, but pets are not allowed as cargo in cold weather (it's winter). No foreign airlines fly from here to Beijing. So my Chinese friends tell me I can take the pet on the train. Call train station and find out no pets are allowed on the train. They say I can take it with me on the bus. Call bus station and find out that pets are not allowed on the bus, and must be shipped separately via courier service, but they cannot guarantee when the courier will arrive, so I would arrive late at night in Beijing and have no idea how to find my cat nor anyone who speaks English to assist me. It's either this fantastic option or hire a private car, which costs ten times more but might be worth it to have me, luggage and cat delivered door to door stress free.
- Go to special agency with my cat and a school translator on Feb 1 in order to apply for the necessary certificate of health which must be issued by the government. The airline doesn't need it, the US doesn't need it, and the state of CA doesn't need it, but for some reason I must have this to take a cat (which the Chinese don't want anyway) out of China. I have had two Chinese people talk with this agency many times leading up to appointment. When we get there, we are advised that the certificate is only good for 14 days and after that must be done again. I am leaving on the 19th. Why, in the many phone calls, did no one mention this? Said agency will be closed from Feb 2-9, and I'm leaving town on the 10th for Beijing. Still working on this one.
- Was going to send some things home by post, and based on all calendars available on the web, the official Spring Festival holidays are from Feb 2-8. However, it turns out that the post offices will not reopen until the 10th, the day I will be leaving here and hence have not time to do that. Still working on this one too.
Note to self, in the future try to choose a country where I can get a handle on the language quickly. If I could read, or even speak passable Mandarin, I could have found out much of this information on my own in advance. I am grateful to my company for taking care of me, but I don't like to be so completely dependent on their help for everything. I'm feeling really stressed. :(