Sunday, August 31, 2008

'On the Visa Front.' and 'To pack or not to pack?'

On the visa front:
I got an email from my Korean contact Friday morning with the visa confirmation number and he told me to schedule an appointment with the American Korean consulate on Monday. The Korean consulate was so kind as to point out that Monday is a national holiday. This is what happens when you are not at school and work from home. The fact that my calender ended a month ago didn't help matters either (I finally bought a new one yesterday). In any case, I got a last minute appointment at the consulate for Friday afternoon and then realized that I had exactly 30 minutes to get ready to go into the city if I wanted to catch the train. An hour later it occurred to me that it might have been a good idea to wear something other than jeans to an interview for my work visa at the Korean consulate. Just maybe. They didn't seem to mind my casual attire though I would recommend not wearing jeans to anyone else. At least they were nice jeans and not the ones with the holes in the knees that my grandmother hates.

The Korean consulate was very well organized and it only took me 40 minutes to fill out more paperwork and do the interview. (They also needed another copy of my college transcripts. Why is this?? The visa bureau in Korea already saw 2 official copies AND my diploma. Yes, I went to college, yes I have a very lovely GPA, thank you. I think it's just some weird bureaucratic idiosyncrasy or something. ) I have to go Tuesday to collect my passport which will then have a lovely visa in it with my photo allowing me to work in Korea!

To pack or not to pack:
I am leaving on Thursday. The closer it gets to my departure date the more books I sneak into my pile of books I simply cannot live without for 14 months. People ask me how I can fit all of my clothing into 2 suitcases--that is so Not the issue. Forget about the clothing, what about the books?! I read in 3 languages plus I need travel guides and Korean language books (This is so I will one day know how to say things other than table, bed, taxi, hotel, door, window, computer, hello, how are you, and 'you are stupid'. None of those phrases are particularly helpful aside from the 'hello, how are you' bit.). Not to mention I also want to continue my research on Hannah Arendt. I am also ground shipping a box of novels to myself that I've been collecting from used bookstores and garage sales all summer (and hiding them from myself) so I have something to read 3 months from now when I've finished everything I brought with me in the first batch. Reading quickly is only good if you have access to a library. Otherwise, it's expensive. Hopefully the other English teachers are also into books and will be willing to trade/lend books to me. Otherwise, I may have to rearrange my preliminary budget to include weekly trips to the bookstore.

That is all for now. I need to get back to my massive list of things to do before I leave for Korea. Nothing major, just a thousand little things like cleaning out my sock drawer and notifying my banks that I'm going to be in Korea so that they don't freeze my accounts when I start using them over there. Lots of little things that add up to one very long list. Onwards!

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