Music I ❤ ~ When the Wind Blows

18 Nov

#Scrabble Game Night!

14 Nov

Scrabble night at the #university!  The #Chinese students first time ever – we hosted a big #competition! 😃 They had a ton of fun – one group earned 38 points in a turn!

Applying for a #ChinaWorkVisa (#ZVisa) as an American

9 Nov

As many of you know, the rules for the Chinese Work Visa has changed a lot over the last year. This confusing and more complex system had three purposes:

  1. To simplify the process (at least that’s how the government proposed it)
  2. To sift through and minimize the number of fake diplomas, liars, and cheats getting through the system.
  3. To modernize their system in line with International Standards.

As someone currently going through this process, here is what I have learned so far. **Remember that this system is complex and new. The nuts and bolts haven’t been worked out yet. This is NOT a legal “What to Do” article or anything from a legal or professional perspective. I’m not a professional immigration lawyer or professional immigration / visa worker.  This is just an overview of MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!  My experience may not be your experience. I highly recommend you speak with an agency for help if you need it.



Chinese Consulate Juridiction

In the United States, there are five Chinese Consulates (Houston, New York, San Francisco, LA, Chicago) and one Chinese Embassy (Washington, DC)


Each Consulate and Embassy divides up jurisdiction over different states. Each state (except California) belongs to one Consulate or Embassy. California is special because the Northern Counties belong to the Consulate in San Francisco while the Southern belong to the Consulate in L.A.

Do you care? Yes! This is a very important concept for the Visa application process. 

I have actually already written about the whole pre-application process in another post over here.   Including an in-depth explanation of Document Authentication and what is required.

But here is a small overview again with more details under STEP 4 — actually applying for the VISA.

Step 1: Get Certain Documents “Authenticated” by the CORRECT Chinese Embassy in the US.

  • Criminal Background Check — A federal check will not suffice, you need a STATE or LOCAL police check.  I got mine from the Iowa State Criminal Background organziation, but I’m not sure where your’s would need to come from.  It cannot be older than 6 months. It should be from your last US residence — so if you lived in China for 4 years, it should be from your last US home.
  • Highest Degree Diploma

You will need to have both documents “certified” or “authenticated” by the Chinese Embassy that has jurisdiction over the ORIGIN of the document. So if your Diploma comes from the University of Virginia, it should go through the DC embassy.  If your background check comes from Florida, it should go through the Houston consulate.  My understanding is that DC may be able to authenticate ALL the documents since it is the official Embassy.  But you have to have the process done all the way through DC.  

If you have a document bound for DC, I recommend Roca Services. They got mine done within 10 days, although the others were quoting months.   If you are going somewhere else, I might recommend CVSC – I wasn’t thrilled with the Houston customer service and they take a few days to respond, but their Chicago service was pretty good.  

**For more information on how to get things authenticated, go here

Step 2. Collect all your documentation & Email photocopies to the Chinese Organization representing you

  1. Original Passport (with 8 months remaining and at least 2-3 pages empty)
  2. A Photocopy of your Passport.
  3. A Passport-Sized Color Photo of you. No smile. No hats or hair coverings. Stare straight ahead. Try to show your ears (**yes, this is a requirement I’ve run into — just do your best).
  4. Photocopy of Diploma & Certification from the Chinese Embassy
  5. Photocopy of Background Check & Certification from the Chinese Embassy
  6. Health Check from an approved institution.

Email photocopies and then mail or give the hard copies to the Chinese Organization you will be working for.

Step 3: Chinese Workplace will Apply for your Chinese Documents (Alien Work Permit)

You don’t have to do anything here, just wait. The Chinese workplace will do all this paperwork and later mail or email you the document.   The only thing is to make sure that the paperwork does not list the wrong consulate or Embassy as the “application location” and that it does not use the word “Chinese Embassy.”  If the document SAYS “Chinese Embassy” you will be forced to do your stuff in DC where the actual Embassy is.  If you are not from the DC jurisdiction area, they will make you do it all over again in the right jurisdiction with modified paperwork.  It takes about 20 days to get this part done.

Step 4: Collect the Documents You Will Need for the Application

For some reason, I was told I absolutely, 100% had to return to America to get my Chinese work visa.  Although the Chinese embassy in Seoul said they could process everything, the local provincial office said that would not be accepted. They demanded that I return home instead. However, I have a close friend who got his done in Thailand without going back to the States. I’m gonna go with “It depends on your province.”  Talk to your company very early on and see if you have to be in the States to do the application process or if you can get it done somewhere else that might be more convenient.  For me, it meant a special one-week mad dash on my holiday. 😦 

Also, once again that JURISDICTIONAL stuff comes in handy.  Because my legal residence is in Iowa, I was required to do the application process in Chicago. I would not be able to go anywhere else–I had to go to my jurisdiction. 

Anyway, you need:

  1. Original Passport
  2. Photocopy of Your Passport
    1. They gave this back to me and took their own copy. But bring one just in case.
  3. Passport Photo (2×2)
    1. Do not actually ATTACH this to the application. Just bring a loose copy. If they want it attached, they’ll glue it on.  
  4. China Visa Application – TYPED!
    1. It absolutely MUST be Typed.  They will not accept a written form.
    2. If you do not have an answer, type N/A instead of leaving it blank.
    3. For 1.9 – ID or Citizen #, you can include your Driver’s Licence #.
    4. For 1.15 – I put down my current employment status WITHOUT the job I was getting in China. For example, I was getting a work visa, but without that job I was UNEMPLOYED 
    5. For 1.17 – I typed “Last Employer” first and then put the Company Name of my last workplace.  Someone said you can leave it empty, but others say don’t. I just put “Last Employer – XXXXXX University”
    6. For 2.1 – I put down “Work” as my Primary Purpose of Visit.
    7. For 2.2 – I put down “One Entry valid for 3 Months from the date of issue.” Even if you requested more, this is all you would get for a Z Visa. So I chose Option 1.
    8. For 2.5 – I put down 365 days because that was the length of my work contract. 
    9. For 2.6 – I put down the address of the university and my contract dates on the first line.  I know that with tourist visas, you have to  do day by day. But for this one, I just put my address down with “XX/XX/XX to YY/YY/YY” 
    10. **For 2.5 and 2.6, I got the opinion that wasn’t terribly important to them. It’s more for tourist visas, so I wouldn’t worry too much. 
    11. For 2.7 – I put “Self-Supported”
    12. For 2.8 – I left it with N/A.  I did not need an inviter since I had the Work Permit. So I marked it N/A.  I was told that if you put the company down as an inviter, you would need to include the letter of invitation. It was not necessary for a Z Visa.  
  5. Your Work Permit from the Chinese workplace
  6. Any other documents you Chinese workplace provided.

Step 5: Apply for the Visa

Go to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate or your jurisdiction. I’ve been to a few in my time, and so far the process was ALWAYS the same (even in other countries).

You want to arrive about 15 minutes before the office opens. They almost all are only open a few hours in a day. They open later in the morning (sometimes 8am, but usually 8:30 or  9am — check the office’s website).  They’ll do the first wave. Then they’ll close for break at lunch and may be closed more than an hour.  They they’ll open for a few hours in the afternoon.  I’m gonna be honest, they aren’t GREAT about timing.  Although I was told to be there at 8:30am, the office “officially” opened at 9am — they just started the line at 8:30am.  And in reality, they started more around 9:10am.  Whatever is going on, it’s best to be as early as possible (definitely be there before the doors open).  It’ll pack out fast and stay full all day.  

You walk in the door and go to a machine to get your number.  If you need a passport photo, now is a good time to go get it.  It Chicago, there is also an office on the same floor who can help you print your application.  But the embassy will direct you to a different building outside, so don’t ask them for directions.  🙂  Sit in a chair and wait  your turn.

They aren’t known for friendliness in these offices. To be honest, I really hate talking to them. They are particularly bad about answering questions–I’ve never met one person there who was nice when I asked a question.  So avoid messing with them as much as possible.  Hand them the number and paperwork.  Wait while they see what needs to happen. Do whatever they tell you to do.  They’ll give you a receipt – KEEP IT!  YOU NEED IT TO GET YOUR PASSPORT BACK AND PROBABLY FOR REIMBURSEMENTS WITH THE COMPANY LATER.  

Notice there is no longer a ONE DAY SERVICE option offered at the Chicago Consulate. It might exist at others, but I wouldn’t count on it.  I know DC doesn’t have it anymore either, and I was told they do not do “Rush” either.  Chicago was still doing rush, but I found it more economical to do express service instead. Just one day more, but less $$.

On the appointed date (they’ll tell you when to come back), return to the office.  Check their times for “pick-up” — some of those times aren’t the same as the office hours.  Pay the person at the pick-up desk.  Many do not accept cash any more.  Some don’t accept credit cards. Try to read their website and see what they do before you come. If you aren’t sure, ask when you drop off your papers.  Chicago did not take cash, so I used my card. 


Step 6: Get your Foreign Permit Card

Once you take your visa back to China, within 30 days they will take all your original documents — passports, diplomas, background checks, certifications, etc. and apply for a foreign permit card. Later you will be taken to the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) to apply.  They’ll take your photo and collect your passport again. After about 3 weeks, they return everything with the Foreign Residence Card.  Once you have that, you’re good!  Don’t forget to go to the local Police Station and register your residence! The school should help with that!


That’s It!

The #Reading Connection

4 Nov


3 Nov

#Pumpkin Carving!  Ee have a large #German supermarket called #Metro in #Changchun.  Last weekend, this guy was there #carving pumpkins for buyers. So Awesome! 

Snickerdoodle #Treats!

31 Oct

Making yummy #Snickerdoodles for the 8 #proctors of my #exam today 😊  320 students, 4 classrooms, one exam.  Go #microeconomics students!!!  Fighting!!  Jiayou!

#Business and #Economics ~ Consumer Surplus Explained

30 Oct

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in an introductory Economics and Finance class. Posted here for their use or for helping other students. 

This is not intended to be an advanced, in-depth economic analysis of consumer surplus. However, in teaching the concept to my students, I discovered that most websites and teaching materials did not explain the material very well.  They all wanted to start with Consumer Surplus is X – Y .  . . and oh, by the way, it’s also the area of a triangle! 😀 

Which sucks, because it does not explain why it is the area of the triangle.  

So for all the beginning 101 ESL students, I hope this helps explain it!

Part #1 ~ Vocabulary

  • Buyer (n.) ~ A person who exchanges their money in return for a product. Someone who purchases the product. 买方 – Mǎifāng
  • Competition (n.) ~ A situation where two or more people are struggling to claim the same resource.  In economics and business, sellers of substitutes are competing for the same buyers. 竞争 – Jìngzhēng
  • Consumer Surplus (n.) ~ The difference between the price the buyer would have paid for a product and the price the buyer did pay for the product.   消费者过剩 – Xiāofèi zhě guòshèng
  • Demand Curve (n.) ~ A line showing the relationship between the number of products people want to buy and the price. The demand curve shows how many products are demanded at each price. 需求曲线 – Xūqiú qūxiàn
  • Discount (n.) ~ How much the seller has decreased the price from its original amount. Tommy changed the price of his bicycles from $400 to $300. This is a 25% discount. 折扣 – Zhékòu
  • Discount (v.) ~ To lower the price. When the seller lowers the price of a product in order to increase demand, they discount the price. 贱卖 – jiàn mài
  • Economic Value (n.) ~ The maximum price that a buyer would have paid for a product. The demand curve shows the economic value for each quantity. 经济价值 – Jīngjì jiàzhí
  • Law of Demand (n.) ~ The rule in economics that says when the price of a product goes up, the quantity demanded will go down. When the price of a product goes down, the quantity demanded will go up.  需求法则 -Xūqiú fǎzé
  • Market Demand (n.) ~ The total number of products that all buyers require.  Usually shown on a Market Demand Curve demonstrating the relationship between the total quantity demanded and the price.  市场需求- Shìchǎng xūqiú
  • Market Price (n.) ~ The price of a product when it is sold / The price a buyer pays for a product and a seller gets for a product. 市场价格 – Shìchǎng jiàgé
  • Perfect Competition Market (n) ~ A market or industry where there are many buyers and many sellers. All are competing with each other for the best price in a market where there are many substitutes and the products are pretty similar. Companies in these markets have low market power and are usually price-taking. 完美的竞争 – Wánměi de jìngzhēng
  • Seller (n.) ~ Someone who offers a product in exchange for money. The person or company presenting a produce on the market for purchase.  卖家 – Màijiā
  • Total Consumer Surplus (n.) ~ Draw a triangle using the Demand Curve and the Market Price.  Total Consumer Surplus is the area of that triangle.  It is the total savings of all the buyers on the market. See Consumer Surplus.    消费者剩余总额 – Xiāofèi zhě shèngyú zǒng’é

Part #2 ~ What is Consumer Surplus?

The perfect competition 完美的竞争market is a beautiful creature full of amazing trends 趋势and patterns!  In a perfect competition market, buyers and sellers can sometimes trade a product at a better price than they expected (预期). 

Example #1: Timmy is interested in buying a soda (Coca Cola).  Because Timmy is really thirsty, he takes 3¥ and goes to the store to look for a soda.  Although Timmy is willing to pay 3¥ for the soda, he is very happy! He finds a discount 贱卖 where sodas are only 2.80¥ at Walmart.   This means Timmy saved 0.20¥ for his drink! 😊

We call that 0.20¥ a Consumer Surplus (消费者过剩)!  If a buyer pays a price lower than the maximum he was willing to pay, he has a consumer surplus.  By definition: Consumer Surplus is the difference between what the buyer would have paid and what the buyer did pay.

Example #2:  Tara wants to buy a bicycle. She goes to the store and sees that a bicycle is 400¥.  That seems like a good price. She goes home and works and works and works and works. One month later, she has 400¥. She goes to the store again, but now the bicycle is on sale! Discount! The new price is 350¥! 😊 Yay!  She has a Consumer Surplus of 50¥!

Notice: Both the buyer and the seller think the Consumer Surplus is important. For the buyer, the more money they save, the happier they are. The more they save, the more they are willing to buy.  Remember, this market has competition竞争 because there are many buyers and many sellers.  So, if Company A offers the buyer a bigger consumer surplus than Company B—the buyer will shop at Company A.  This is good for the buyer, but bad for Company B.  So Company B will be watching—if Company A has a sale and gives the buyer big savings, Company B will also probably offer a sale in the future also.  We see this all the time—the same product is on sale at 5 different stores. 

Part #3 ~ How to Find Consumer Surplus for One Product?

Consumer Surplus = Economic Value – Market Price

Oh dear. . . . new words.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Economic Value (. 经济价值) is the maximum price the buyer would have paid.  For Timmy, that price for one soda was 3¥.  For Tara, that price for one bicycle was 400¥. 

But in economics 经济学, where do we find this number?  How can you know what the maximum price is that a buyer would have paid?  How do you know how much the buyer was willing to give to the seller?


The demand curve 需求曲线 is a line that tells us how many products a buyer is willing to buy at a certain price.  It is the price per product

Example: In the picture below:


If the price is $3.00, Timmy will buy one soda (that is the maximum price Timmy is willing to pay for Soda #1).  Economic Value for Soda #1 = $3.00

If the price is $2.50, Timmy will buy two sodas (that is the maximum price Timmy is willing to pay for Soda #2). Economic Value for Soda #2 = $2.50

If the price is $1.00, Timmy will buy 5 sodas (that is the maximum price Timmy is willing to pay for Soda #5).  Economic Value for Soda #5 = $1.00

This line shows us an important economic 经济学 rule called the Law of Demand.  This rule says that if the Quantity Demanded is going up, then the price must go down. Each extra soda that Timmy buys is worth a little bit less to him. ☹

So, what is Market Price  (价格)? Market Price is the actual price for the product that the buyer paid.  For Timmy, this price was 2.80¥ for one soda. For Tara, the Market Price was 350¥.  

Demand 2

In the graph above:

            Economic Value for Soda #1 = $3.00

            Market Price for Soda #1 = $1.00

            Consumer Surplus for Soda #1 = $3.00 – $1.00 = $2.00


            Economic Value for Soda #2 = $2.50

            Market Price for Soda #2 = $1.00

            Consumer Surplus for Soda #2 = $2.50 – $1.00 = $1.50

Notice! Important! It is true that if Timmy buys more soda, will save a larger total amount of money.  If he buys only one soda, he just saved $2.00. But if he bought 2 sodas, he would have saved ($2.00 +$1.50 = $3.50). This is why your parents always buy more if something is on sale at the store.  But the savings for each extra soda goes down, down, down. He saves a little bit less for each extra soda he buys.

Here’s the problem — most companies do not just have one buyer (Timmy).  Most companies sell thousands of products to thousands of buyers. Some sell millions of products a day!  

 This is why we don’t always use Economic Value – Market Price. If you only had two products, that might be pretty easy.  But if you have 500,000 products it gets harder and harder to do EV – MP for every single one.

So we have something special called Total Consumer Surplus (消费者剩余总额).  The total consumer surplus is the TOTAL savings for all the buyers. 

To find Total Consumer Surplus, we need to start with a new line called the Market Demand Curve (市场需求). 

Let’s say that we have 3 airplane companies: United Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Korean Air. They all want to buy Soda for their airplanes.

  United Airlines China Eastern Korean Air
$0.00 500 550 425
$0.50 400 450 325
$1.00 300 350 225
$1.50 200 250 125
$2.00 100 150 25
$2.50 0 50 0
$3.00 0 0 0

Now we could try to write three demand curves and do a lot of math. 

But much easier is making a new demand curve based on the total number of products all three companies are willing to buy.

$0.00 1475
$0.50 1175
$1.00 875
$1.50 575
$2.00 275
$2.50 50
$3.00 0

The Market Demand Curve would look like this:

Market Demand 1

Now, we have a “Demand Curve” to work with for Total Consumer Surplus. So let’s start!

Step 1: Market Price.

I say that Market Price was $1.00!  Draw a line showing how many products were purchased at one dollar on our graph.  

Market Demand 2

From the purple line, we know that when the price was $1.00 the demand for sodas was 875 bottles for all three companies.

Step 2: Let’s cover up everything after 875 bottles with Yellow Marker . . . . nobody bought those so we won’t count bottles 876 through 1475.  For Consumer Surplus, you can forget about those bottles.

Market Demand 3

Step 3: Now, the Market Price was $1.00 per bottle.  This means they paid $875 to the company.  Let’s fill in everything below the purple line with Purple Marker to show how much money the buyers lost.


Step 4:    Okay. . . . now we can do Consumer Surplus the very, very, very long way.  This means drawing a line from the Economic Value to to the Market Price for every single one of the 875 bottles of soda that we sold.

Market Demand 4

Soda #1 = Economic Value1 – Market Price1
Soda #2 = Economic Value1 – Market Price1
Soda #3 = Economic Value1 – Market Price1
Soda #4 = Economic Value1 – Market Price1
Soda #5 = Economic Value1 – Market Price1

Notice how we just keep coloring in that triangle more and more? If we did all 875 lines, the entire triangle would be colored!

Market Demand 5.jpg

This is why, when we do Total Consumer Surplus, we say you should find the AREA OF A TRIANGLE (一个三角形的区域) instead of adding together all the Economic Value – Market Price that you would have to do.

Demand 33

 The total amount of money that the airlines saved was about $875.   So Total Consumer Surplus for the market was $875!

#Halloween #HauntedHouse

28 Oct

Totally awesome haunted house tonight.  So proud of my juniors!  All by themselves, they planned and put the party on. The 3rd and fourth floors had been transformed.  Piles of leaves all through the halls and rooms, scattered chair overturned for the ‘abandoned effect’!  The classrooms were amazing – evil butcher room with the creepy guy chopping bloody stuff; creepy dead bride in her red wedding dress, ghosts everywhere including up in the window ledges – they’d jump from the ceiling to scare people. 😱👻 People hiding under tables or in fabric screens would grab your feet 😂  I loved it!  Such a great job!

The Real You that We Love

27 Oct

Your Own Queen Bee

25 Oct

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