so I'm taking a "visa vacation"

there are a lot of benefits to being a "trailing spouse" of an international teacher. mostly: I don't have to work. sure, I do work. I've been writing my book and blogging, teaching my blog class, trying to keep the apartment in order and still get out and explore Taiwan. but for the purposes of most people's [and the Taiwanese government's] definition... I don't have a job.

which means, I do not qualify for a work permit. my visa is residential only, and is given to me because I am married to someone who does qualify for a work permit. our original visa application took place in New York [after a visit to the NY Public Library to print forms and CVS to get passport photos.] we were issued visas that allowed us to enter Taiwan and apply for Alien Residence Cards [ARCs] and those ARCs were renewed last summer before we left Taiwan in July.

well... due to the fact that I left Taiwan in early June this year and other circumstances that were beyond my control, my visa did not get renewed this summer. before Husband left, he was able to get a special extension sticker in his passport, but I didn't qualify. so I returned to Taiwan on a tourist visa, with the intent to re-apply for a new ARC this fall. I was told I could accomplish this easily with a visit to Taipei.

but since it is a new visa and not a renewal, it can't be done on Taiwanese soil.

it doesn't matter that I previously had an ARC, it doesn't matter that I lived in Taiwan for 2 years, that my Husband has received his new ARC, or that I've filed all the necessary online paperwork. I have to physically go to another country to be approved.

so next week, I am taking a visa vacation to Hong Kong. I have to present myself at the TECO office with all my paperwork by 11am, then return the next day to [hopefully] retrieve my new visa.

even though I'm traveling for "business" I'm hoping I can make the most out of my trip. the last time I visited Hong Kong was before I knew the world of travel blogging existed. I did little to no planning about where to go, and more importantly, what to eat. but I've been scouring the web and am happy to report that I've found not only a place that serves gluten-free sandwiches, but a tasty-sounding Mexican joint as well.

and [as strange as it was for me to realize this] other than business trips back in my past life, this is my first time traveling solo. certainly my first time traveling to another country solo. which makes me both nervous and excited for this experience... and I have to ask: do you have any tips on traveling solo? or places I should visit/ eat at in Hong Kong?

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