6447 km so far.
It was lovely to visit with Dominic, but we’re also glad he’s gone (sorry, Dominic!), so we can start to focus on the coming months of our trip. Navigating numerous consular websites, talking to embassies on the phone, and web chatting with visa service companies takes a lot of time, energy, and concentration.
Any distraction, even wanted ones, makes progress impossible.
We spent hours in front of the computers, trying to untangle all the information we can find out about Chinese visas. As with Russia, we are becoming more convinced by the day that China doesn’t really want us to visit…
As things stand now, we have three options for our application:
- Apply directly to the Chinese Visa Service in London, by mailing them our applications. This is the cheapest option, and would allow us to send our passports tomorrow. However, it takes around two weeks to process applications by post, and we have just found out that our passports can only be returned to a UK address, so there’s the added time and hassle for a friend in the UK.
- Apply directly to the Chinese Visa Service in London, in person. This is the quickest option – we should have our visas back within four days. It would mean flying to London, which Stephen is up for, but I don’t want to do. The environmental impact of that extra flight leaves me feeling very icky about it, and it’s just one more big hassle. Though I would love to see all our friends back “home”!!
- Use a visa service in London. This would hopefully eliminate all the doubts and questions we have about exactly what is required to apply, since the visa service will be able to help with that. It’s also quicker than applying directly, but slower than in person. It’s likely the most expensive option (or maybe equal to the dollar cost of flying to London, without the carbon footprint).
Sigh. Yes, it’s a privilege to even be considering this kind of trip, but I still wish they could make things a little easier. The world is not set up for a nomadic lifestyle.
I feel like we’re back at the start of our trip, trying to plan where we’ll go (China requires a full itinerary before they will grant you a visa) and what we’ll see. I know what I see in my imagination will bear little resemblance to what we’ll experience on the ground, and that the plans we’re laying now are unlikely to unfold as we envision them.
We have a mile of red tape to cut through when what I really want is to just be there already! Or, failing that, I just want to spend a month never leaving the flat, reading my book, watching TV, and taking long hot baths.
A Fine Balance
Luckily, in the early evening, we were forced to leave the flat. Stephen taught two classes tonight at YogaCircle Berlin in Prenzlauer Berg. The studio teaches a mix of styles, but comes from the world of Anusara, also offering Tantra Hatha, Pilates, and pre-natal classes.
Stephen’s note: Jane really does seem to be in charge of writing on the days I teach. However, today I wanted to write about my experience at YogaCircle.
I taught two of their regularly scheduled classes, as a sub. Thank you to those who stepped aside so I could take the seat of the teacher. The first class was an advanced class, and I had a fantastic group of very focused and clearly dedicated students. Our theme was Repetition, and I made them repeat a very difficult pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) over and over again.
I think we visited the pose 8 times in 90 minutes… the students stayed on task, worked hard, and we had fun.
The second class was an All Levels Flow class, and our theme was Change. It was my first time teaching a flow class since leaving LA, and this means my brain had to work to keep them moving, breathing, flowing, while the teacher side of my brain wanted to stop, look, and teach. It was a true All Levels class, with the students spanning the full range of yoga knowledge, from brand new students to Sharada, the owner of YogaCircle. Making the class fun for everyone in a group like this presents me with unique challenges, and keeps me on my toes.
And now, a random photo break.
It felt great to work my body for three hours. It also felt awful, because so much of the opening and strength I had before I left LA is gone, making even the “easy” poses seem difficult.
“More practice,” my body screams.
“When?”, my brain yells back.
Just like the balance in Eka Pada Galavasana, trying to maintain the balance between cycling, life, and yoga asana is tricky. Lately yoga and cycling have been losing out to life. Maybe we can restore the balance over the coming days. ♥