So, today I woke early, grabbed my passport, a pen, my Chinese letter of invitation, some passport photos and the address of the Chinese Embassy in LA.
Took me about an hour to get there.
I went in, filled out an application and waited for about an hour to be called on.
I approached the window feeling satisfied that I would finally be able to get my visa.
And then it happened.
The clerk told me that I also need a work permit to apply for a work visa and that I would have to e-mail my school and ask them to mail it to me.
It took more than 10 days for my letter of invitation to arrive after it was mailed.
Today is Saturday in China so no one is working or will read my e-mail until the 13th of this month.
If they read my e-mail and mail me the work permit that day (which seems doubtful) and it takes another 10 days to arrive then I will receive it on the 23rd.
Let's say I receive it early on the 23rd and take it to the Embassy that day and pay extra for it to be available the next day...well, then I will have my visa on the 24th and still have to pack and book a flight and I won't book a flight until at least 2 days after I receive my visa so that I have time to pack and make sure everything is taken care of before leaving the country.
And this is all a best case scenario.
I've been preparing for this all summer long but it looks like I won't get to China until the end of this month or the beginning of next month...if ever.