Day 132 - Governments and Street Art

August 17th, 2015

I wake up to find my left shoulder blade has a knife stuck in it. Not literally, but the pulled muscle is so bad that it limits my lung capacity and range of motion significantly. This is what you get from sleeping on futons, though who can argue with such good hospitality? I discuss potential outcomes with Shimou based on the problems with China and decide it’s best to resend my request for information to the Aus Gov.

The potential outcomes:

  • Best Outcome: The school accepts the document I found online, sends me the visa application, which will take 5-7 days to get here, then I have to submit that to a visa agent, which takes 1-2 days to process. After that, I buy a ticket and off I go!
  • Middling Outcome: They reject my document. I have to wait 5-10 business days to get the backup document from the Aus Gov, then repeat the last option (delayed an additional 5-10 days, of course)
  • Worst Outcome: They reject everything I give them, or find an additional problem and force me to return to Canada to get my visa. Fly back to Canada, hang out until my friend’s wedding, then go late October - that's if my school doesn't dump me.
This is happening. I’m not allowing it to not. Part of me sees this as a way out, but that small part is crushed under the weight of the supreme disappointment I’d have in myself. I’d rather not push the trip back because I've been practicing mandarin and interact with native speakers daily, which won't be happening if I leave from Canada. It’s the language I hear most right now. Slowly, I’m able to pick the sentences apart and hear the words they're using. Consistently running through my flash cards is paying off.

We’re supposed to head in town to the Immigration office, but I want to be sure that’s not a complete waste of time. Back to phone mail hell! Last time I started at 36, which took a couple hours. This time I started at 42 and it only took me 45 minutes. They inform me that I have to go through the process I had already done on the weekend. Though, I had filled out the forms and screen capped them, sending them without a formal signature. Since I wanted to make sure this will go through, I asked Luke if he had a printer/scanner, which he produced. We're in business! Fill them all out again, print, sign, scan, and shoot them out!

That finished, we went to the post office. I had a few souvenirs from Bali to sent home and time was somewhat of the essence for freshness. Not that pressing, but better than carting it around. At the post office, I sent a 2”x6”x4” cardboard box that weighed 0.25kg from Melbourne, Victoria to Chatham, Ontario. How much do you think this would be? I thought it would be more, but my options were $10 for a 60 day delivery, ooooor $14 for 4-10 days. Hard choice.

Luke, Shimou and I travel into town to check out this very cramped, but cool, café. There were dozens of chairs suspended from the ceiling, probably to make up for the lack of seating afforded by the floor plan. Luke knows I like street art and to take a lot of pictures. Honestly, I'm not a very good photographer and I never know which ones will be good enough to use. He leads the way to Union Lane. 

Apparently, Melbourne has a number of lanes like this - narrow connecting alleyways between side streets that are plastered their entire length with various street art. This particular one was something like a music video if you were to just slowly walk along the lane, recording it, and finishing on the guy playing the acoustic guitar, singing. “Cheers,” he said after I tossed some coins in his guitar case and grabbed one of his free post cards. Free postcards are a good idea.

We stopped by Big W and I was relieved to find out that the sharpener and eraser were, in fact, only $1.75. I know, I know, “it’s not a big deal” you may be thinking*. Think about it this way: if you found $1,000 USD in your bank account and somehow knew that you could keep it without question. Suppose you resisted keeping that, giving it back to the rightful owner. Would you then compromise your moral stance to keep $100? If so, why would you compromise you morals for a small amount, but not a large amount? That’s neither here nor there. I went back because it was a pain in the ass. It was my punishment for not acting as I should have the first time around. Self-punishment is a good way to keep yourself accountable to your own beliefs, so long as you don't go overboard.

So much food
We caught this old-timey tram, which had a speaker that gave a tour of the areas we were travelling through. I don't recall what it said, but we got of and walked to a seemingly random parking lot, and entered in a parked car. That's where I met Elvis and his girlfriend, Claire. Off to dinner!

Sofia, an Italian restaurant, was bumpin'. We didn't realize how big the portions were when we ordered, ending up with way to much. It was unfortunate that we were so full because I wanted to get their gelato tower. $7.50 for 8 different flavours! Man, a small bowl of gelato is usually $5ish for maybe 2 flavours! But no... no gelato.

Upside: leftovers! Chinese people seem to have something against leftovers that I really don't understand. Why** wouldn't you make a large batch of food, then eat that for the next day or two? It saves so much time and effort! Well, to each their own.

Over the course of dinner, I get the impression that the Chinese see western governments as very inefficient. That they are! I point out that we have to do things by consensus and don’t have the efficiency of saying “We're doing X! Now move!” to anyone in the way. Inefficiency is a tradeoff I'm willing to make in exchange for more say, but that may hinder our ability to compete sometimes. Acceptible.

Other things I learned:

  • More information about the Hong Kong protests and the resulting punishment placed on Hong Kong by China
  • No drinking age in China. Like, at all
  • No tobacco age, either
  • Marijuana, however, can get you the death sentence for dealing. Wow.

LtR: Claire, Elvis, Luke, Shimou, and Myself
We are driven back to Luke’s place, and make plans for the next morning to see this iconic train. I don’t know anything about it, but am glad to see more of the city. Why not? Claire had paid dinner, which was greatly appreciated. We thanked them for the ride and dinner. Very gracious.

By this time, the muscle in my back is a constant pain, no matter what I do. I'm unsure if babying it will help or hurt. Shimou helped massage it, but that didn't seem to relieve much of the lingering pain.

I put on Islands by Young the Giant for us to fall asleep to. This may have been a mistake because it reminds me of past heartache. I refuse to give things away to pain in the past, preferring to reform and reclaim painful reminders.

You see, the band, and this song in particular, were associated with a girl I had been seeing. I liked her more than I realized at the time, but it wouldn't have mattered because she was leaving the country. I had hoped to at least be friends, which I've generally been lucky enough to do with most of the girls I've seen. She told me when she would probably be back in my town, which then came and passed in silence. I didn't hear anything.

Look at that thing!
I messaged her a couple times over that month, and eventually became a little worried that something might have happened***. I tried one last time saying that I was going to message someone on her friend list to make sure she was alright. Keep in mind that the last time we spoke, things were cool and we were friends. Finally, this forces her to message me and say that she had decided to cut me out, but didn’t want to deal with any confrontation. Instead of telling me, I was shadow banned. It’s a new age of rejection where people can simply ghost and never respond again. No need to give an explanation or even a notification that it’s happened. The cowardice of this approach eats at me. That was my problem when I first entered the dating scene, given the commonness of this form of rejection: how do you become a better person if you’re never given any feedback? Is it any wonder that so many people remain clueless?

In this situation, I incidentally forced her hand. I wasn't going to fight the explanation, but I did want one. She had cut me out due to being a bad influence, morally. Really, I was working through a moral quandary at the time.

If you want to hear more, feel free to check out my post Persuasion vs Manipulation.

Editing Music: Islands by The Electric Sons

*In case you missed it: I bought them for $1.75 when I thought they should be $3, and let it slide. I considered it a potential moral lapse, so my punishment was to go out of my way to double check, and set it right.
**They seem to think it doesn't taste as good. "It's not tasty" they would say.
***If something happens to you, it's not exactly published on facebook, and that was my only real contact with her

No comments:

Post a Comment