Today was the day my dream finally became reality – at 9.15 there was a knock on the door and the postie was bearing my visa with the all-important Z visa in it.  Strangely it’s a little disappointing – I was expecting the envelope to come covered in ribbon or with a brass band – it’s just a piece of paper on a page in my passport!  However, I’ve done it – I achieved my goal, I have a Z visa for one year which entitles me to live and work in China.

Today was the start of saying goodbye to friends – so lunch with a woman I met on the bus going down to Edinburgh months ago, who strangely I’ve become quite attached to.  Lynne is religious, deeply so, and I really admire her for her convictions, so when she offered to say a prayer for me I was extremely touched.  Onwards for a coffee at another friend’s house, where I spent a fantastic hour with her children, two older daughters and two younger kids, together with her granddaughter who was totally adorable.  Tracey’s daughter gave me a panda pillow pet – I’ve always wanted one (sadly!) so it really means a lot to me, he’s on the arm of the sofa at the moment, I really want to try and take him with me. 

Then onto coffee with another friend, Laura, who has 8 year old son who is the most adorable boy ever – I felt bad because I hadn’t realised it was his birthday yesterday, but it was really nice to sit and chat to Mike her husband, play with the quite frankly coolest train set ever with Finn and just talk.  As with most people, you only get a chance to chat to friends at work, in my case over a checkout for the last three years, so it’s really lovely and relaxing to be invited to my friends’ houses. 

Finn asked me if I would send him postcards from China, and you know what, I’m going to do that, it would mean so much to him, apparently he’s received one from a friend who went to St Andrews, and he was over the moon about that.  He specifically asked me to send him one of mountains in China – the region I’m going to is mountaneous, he didn’t know that, and it gives me a really nice feeling knowing that just sending a postcard perhaps once every 2/3 weeks is going to mean so much to one small boy.  Doing it will also make me feel as if I’m still in contact with my friends, because quite frankly who knows what technology is going to work in China,

Tomorrow is another day of saying goodbyes.  I am so so lucky in that I really do have the best friends in the world, they encouraged me when I thought I couldn’t keep going with my studying, helped me when I thought I would go mad with grief when the dog died.  I was genuinelly really sad today when I handed back the green uniform, not helped by the fact my discount card was cut up in front of me – not intentionally, it was just done automatically!  Six more sleeps in my cottage then I move back to Cazza Clapperton, where I revert back to a small child sleeping in a single bed!