Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Still Legal...by the skin on my teeth!

Sorry, I've been derelict in my blogging duties. This past week has been pretty wacky. Today was a much more important day than I thought it would be when I woke up. About 10 minutes after I woke, my boss called me and told me that her husband (Gavin, my co-boss) was comng to my apartment to give me my newly signed contract. She then told me I had to go to the police station today to wrap up all of my residency details and get my work permit for next year. I wasn't too sure why she told me I had to go today, but I did. Thankfully, Gavin had driven his car to my apartment and offered to give me a ride to the police station, I was in no mood to make the long walk.

It's common knowledge here that government offices in Taipei are a nightmare and it's rare to have less than a two-hour wait. Knowing this, I was dreading my pending miserable afternoon. I got there and took a number, it was 207, and the board showed that they were currently helping number 153…not good. After mumbling some less-than lovely words, I noticed that the guy at the information desk wasn't doing anything. I took a chance and showed him what I had and asked him what I should do. He took my paperwork and started processing it. I was shocked! Rex, the information guy that I am considering putting on my Christmas card list, was super cool and spoke great English. Before I knew it, my residency was extended for a year, my address was officially changed, and I had my work permit…what a hoot! I have been putting off changing my address on my residency permit because I didn’t want to kill an afternoon stuck in line. After paying the requisite $1000 Taiwan dollars, I was on my way. I'm legal for another year here.

Here is the silly part of this whole situation. As I was filling out the paperwork, I mentioned to Rex that my boss had insisted that I do this today. I asked him if he knew why. He told me that today was the last day of my legal residency in Taiwan. If I had waited until tomorrow to do this I would have been told that I had to pay a $1000 fine, and make a trip to Hong Kong and get another visitors visa. A very big expense. Also, I would have had to start the residency process all over again…no freaking way! Phew, a disaster averted.

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