My Chinese visa was the first thing that officially went in this passport. We will get to the first unofficial thing in a few pages.
In 2006 I travelled to China for six weeks on a culture and language exchange with InterVarsity. The memorable moment that goes with this page has less to do with the destination and more to do with the way of getting the visa.
We travelled to China as a group and, as a result, our visas and aeroplane tickets were bought as a group. In the months preceding our trip, I recall a flurry of activity trying to get everything ready and paperwork all filled out. The three of us from Victoria had arranged for our passports and completed visa applications to be sent to our group leaders in Vancouver. From there, they were to be taken to the consulate for processing.
On the eve of the day of the appointment at the consulate, I received a call from the group leader: “Gillian, you did not sign the visa application! We need your signature in order for it to be processed!”
“But I can’t get you that before tomorrow and you have to take them in all together! … Wait – you have my passport there. I’ve signed it. Just forge my signature.”
… “Um, are you sure about that?”
“Do we have any choice?”
And that is how I got my visa to China.