I made a mistake, I had six hours of class today, not four. Six is pushing my comfort level, especially when two periods are after 6:30pm. Good news is, I won’t be enlisted for any additional lessons, and I’m not expected to appear at any English corners.
In between periods I registered with the local fuzz. All foreigners who live off campus are required to register with at the station closest to their area of residence. I want to get into my new place as soon as possible, but I cannot reside legally unless I register. Mondays are already very busy with class, so I only have a short window of opportunity during the afternoon. I like to think I have been quite patient with things in China so far, but I was getting really annoyed with the Chinese bureaucracy. I had to cab to the station only to receive the reply “I’m sorry, but the person responsible will not be available until 5:00pm”. So I walk back to campus….it is about 4:00pm. Cab back to the station where I find out that I only have to fill out the exact same form that I have filled on at least three other occasions. I make it back to campus around 5:45pm…not enough time to move my stuff out of the dorm as I have a two hour night class at 6:30pm. It probably doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but you had to be in my shoes.
I think it was while I was filling out my fourth registration form that I realized that these guys totally have my number. That fact hadn’t really bothered me before. Registration is a safety issue and I am told that my area has a large number of elderly people who might get spooked by a foreigner wandering around in the neighborhood. By registering the cops are privy to who I am and then can ‘reassure’ the locals that I am not burglar. I’ve also been told that although very rare, it is possible that the police might stop by for the occasional security check. I am not really concerned about that. What bothers me is the fact that I have been singled out for what feels like special treatment. In terms of personal information, the Chinese government doesn’t have anymore info than their Canadian counterparts; however, it just feels different knowing that I’m not really some obscure number or a name, but rather occupy some sort of special place in the books. Hard to explain.