What a week! alternatively titled: Pregnant and cranky

This week’s frustration #1: Finding out that we do indeed have to authenticate our PASSPORTS to be able to finish our business registration.

That’s right. Passports. I’ve lived in and out of China for 12 years now and I’ve never heard of anyone having to do this, nor has anyone I know ever heard of anyone having to do this. (other documents, yes).

Also, we know that the law firm we contacted has never had a client in ANY PROVINCE have to do this.

I want to add this to the list of “crazy things I’ve heard in governmental/official offices” not the fact that they are requiring it, but that the boss said the authentication process is free. Umm, it’s not free. There’s a charge at the Embassy for the official copy, notarization, and certification. There are the postage fees, the agent fees, Department of State fees, and the Chinese Embassy fees.

So James is on his way to Beijing tonight to go to the Embassy tomorrow to get a certified copy of our passports authenticated so that we can send them to the US to get authenticated by the Chinese consulate so that they can have a stamp so that we can continue the process with our business registration.

We’re taking good notes of the business registration process and we’ll write a complete post with all our snags (this one being the largest) so that hopefully you can avoid them.

In the meantime, here is the link to service we’ve used in the States to authenticate our documents if you find yourself in need of such documents. In the past we’ve had to get our marriage certificate and our kids’ birth certificates authenticated in order to get our residence permit.

This week’s frustration #2: being pregnant and cranky. I mentioned earlier that I made the mistake of going to a newly opened Carrefour on a public holiday, which didn’t put me in the most culturally appreciative mood. When I got home I parked my trike in the shed beside our building while I unloaded five or more large bags of groceries. I’m six months pregnant currently. While unloading bags of groceries (and waiting for chivalrous husband to come downstairs and help) an able-bodied 40 something year old man stopped me to tell me that I shouldn’t park where I did. I should park in the main shed by the gate which is 300 or so meters away so that “kids don’t play on my vehicle and it will be better and safer for everyone.”

I know being pregnant makes me more irritable in situations like these, but I can happily report that I didn’t say anything like, “Men where I’m from would offer to help me instead of complaining about where I parked, which by the way, was in a bike shed!” Instead I just told him I would move after we had unloaded the groceries.

I should also note here that I have been here long enough to understand that mostly random strangers say things like that comment out of concern (concern for the safety of my trike, concern for public order, etc) and I try to remember that when I feel frustrated with what I perceive to be criticisms from locals.


This week’s frustration #3: not being able to clearly communicate after 12+ years of Chinese study.

I wanted to buy some contact paper like stuff that is sold in office supply stores and the stores that make advertisements. I stopped in the office supply store near the gate of our complex. I don’t know the actual word for that kind of paper (or if they even call it paper). I asked for “the colored paper that is sticky on one side that comes in rolls and is sold by the meter.” She seemed to know what I was talking about but said she didn’t have any. I looked around and didn’t see it either. I asked if anywhere nearby sold it. She said no. I went out and saw that the shop next door was a printing shop and decided to give it a try. They had it! I could see the rolls on the shelf in the back. But then I noticed something else….these two shops, the one I had just been in and this one were one shop! Adjoining doors on the inside and same family running both parts! Clearly, I hadn’t communicated with the lady in the first shop who said it wasn’t sold nearby if indeed it was sold in the other half of her shop.


Warm-hearted gesture from a stranger making up for most of these things: free sewing repair to my clothes. Seriously. I dropped a few things off to be mended and when I went to pick them up, the shop owner wouldn’t let me pay. I needed one little bright light of gladness in the midst of not doing a great job of navigating life here this week.


Consolation gifts for having a bad week will be accepted in the form of positive comments, salty snacks, or good quality dark chocolate. 谢谢你的合作 🙂



  1. Preston says:

    Sorry to hear about the business registration troubles and everything else. Hang in there, the only good thing about a frustrating China story is that in the end, once enough time passes, they become funny/interesting China stories–at least this is what I was telling myself when I was being interrogated by the PLA for four hours two days ago!

  2. weibaili says:

    So sorry to hear of your “incident” too. Hope all is resolved now. Our authenticated documents should be back on the way to us now and we can hopefully continue our registration next week!

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