Oh the irony


WOW, it’s been way too long since I wrote. The only excuse is that I had a busy summer: I started working, Kiersten and Steven were here for 2 weeks :-), and I had a hysterectomy. Everything is fine with the latter but I felt that I needed to check out the health-care and hospital systems in China and Hong Kong. Isn’t that what everyone does? I’m getting back into my normal routine so I need to start writing again or I’ll be on my way back to the US and I won’t have anything to jog my memory of what I did the last few years in China.

The latest escapade is that I’m attempting to get my Chinese driver’s license. I don’t want to but it’s a necessity. Here’s the background story. My Ohio license expires in 3 weeks. I must be present in order to renew unless I’m in the military, I’m not. 😉  I called the American Consulate in GZ and it was suggested that I try to obtain one in VA. I have bank statements sent there and the state would accept that as proof of residency. The problem with that is that my license will expire before I arrive and no longer valid.  I believe that the amount of US income tax dollars that we pay each year more than covers the cost of a US driver’s license…I’m just saying. So I’ve been forced to get my Chinese license. Truthfully, it’s been an easier process than I expected and certainly not without it’s “Chinese” moments and I’ve had a few laughs along the way. Like I told Ben, I find it hilarious that I have to get a Chinese driver’s license so that I can drive a car, not in China but the US! 🙂

The first step was to have my passport and Ohio license translated. Yep, my passport was once again circulating through China for a few days. We had to work that around the need for travelling with Kiersten and Steven, me going to Hong Kong for surgery, and having to re-register with the local police now that we have our new resident’s visas. That  was taken care of and the second step? Gotta get those photos taken. So it was back to Photomax only this time for some reason I had to wear a polo shirt that had the Photomax logo on it. EWWW. It’s been worn by countless other people applying for just about anything in China and it didn’t smell that great. I know you germaphobes are cringing but like so many things here one doesn’t question, one simply does.

The only other step to take before the big test was to get a copy of the manual to study, which leads me to the real reason for this post (and future ones). The downloaded version is 300+ pages and contains 1500 questions to study, of which 100 are selected at random for the test. I spent 4 hours studying for the test. At first I was scratching my head with some of the questions. I didn’t understand why they would feel that you had to know the answer. If the situation happened I’m sure that not one of the 1.3 billion residents would be able to tell you the answer and would have to go to the website and look it up. Fine, like I said sometimes you just have to play the game. But as I moved down the list and started to get into “Knowledge on Safe and Courteous Driving” I found myself laughing. I feel that if I choose to drive here (I won’t) I am now prepared to be a safe and courteous driver in ANY situation that could possibly arise.  So I’m going to spend the next few days easing myself back into writing more regularly by posting some of my favorite questions. What you see in red was copied and pasted from the manual, I have not embellished in any way.

Right or wrong:   When encountering people carrying load on shoulder poles or carrying farm tools on shoulders, the driver should observe their movement, control speed and pass by keeping a sufficient safe distance. Answer: Right

My personal situation: When I see the old man who has a live turtle that he pulled from the river hanging from his pole and is standing on the side of the road trying to sell it to passers-by on our island because as we all know turtle soup is good for acne, I will observe the movement (and I think I need to watch that live turtle as well because I’m not sure when he’s going to bolt), control my speed, and pass by keeping a sufficient safe distance.

Right or wrong:   When encountering pedestrians wearing cotton-padded caps or overcoats in winter, the driver should honk and be ready to brake. Answer: Right-DUH.

The question I thought coming next was: When encountering male pedestrians wearing baseball caps who have their shirts rolled up past their nipples in summer and this includes you Anders (see Favorite people photos – 1st year :-)), the driver should honk, be ready to brake, and yell out the window that no one wants to see that. Answer: Right!!! This question did not come next but I think I should write to the Traffic Control Bureau, Ministry of Public Security to let them know that this is a missed opportunity.

Stay tuned because there are several of these gems. Some involve old men, old men at night, old men on bikes, old people walking, slow-moving old people crossing the road, drunks, animals, AND herds of sheep.

9AM – 84°

About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

8 responses »

  1. KARRREEENNNN!!!!! You had surgery?????? Now that we know you are alive and well, I’m sure all of us would also like to hear about your hospital experience- there HAD to be tons of eyebrow raising events that went on there!!!!! My mouth was still hanging open in shock and horror when I went on to read the section regarding your proper picture attire! This last blog was almost too much for me to take in all at once! I am very happy that you are back to writing, who needs coffee in the a.m. when you have Vikarenously to jump start your day!

    • I can hear you saying KARRREEENNNN!!!!! Rest assured, I’m 100%. No problems. My surgery was in Hong Kong. We arrived the night before and went to a small shopping area to eat. I got stuck eating at McD’s! It was getting late, other places had a wait time, and I was starving. I had Anders take a picture. At some point I will post it. I knew you would be bothered by my photo apparel. I’m sure you can tell what parts are written for you and you alone! BTW, your last sentence will go into my gratitude journal for today. I don’t think I’ll be writing every day but I am going to try to write 2x/week. Thanks so much!!!

      • You ate at McDonald’s on one day and the following had surgery in Hong Kong. Could life, honestly, get any better for you at that point!!!! 🙂 ❤ God love you, you poor thing. When did all this happen? We don't go to Trinity any longer, but did go back a few weeks ago for the Pastor's retirement service. I did see your dad there, but never got a chance to speak to him. Maybe you didn't tell your dad- maybe, you're like, well, if you had read my blog, you would know. (just kidding) Here's to having a uneventful day today! (I'm thinking your trip to McDonald's stressed you out way more than the surgery.)

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