Friday, August 27, 2010

I'M GOING TO ....Chicago...?

It has recently been made aware to me by my dear fellow English teacher/life coach/guiding beacon of light that I must make an impromptu trip to Chicago. Why Chicago? To go see the Oprah show of course because this is her last season!! Ok I fib and while indulging myself in a live recording of the Oprah Winfrey show does sound mildly tempting and could pose as being a valid entry on my bucket list, that is not the reason why I am traveling to Chi-town.

Chicago holds the key to my E-2 (work visa). Currently I am waiting (waiting music softly begins to commence in the seemingly far away distance) on getting my issuance number. After all of my paper work was received by my recruiter, it was then sent on to my school. Because I am in the extremely fortunate position that I am of having the incredible support of the undeniably amazing teacher (I know this sentence is awkward but I chose to not use her name without having her permission to do so; you know, like respect and stuff.) who is already there at my school teaching, I have the insightful knowledge of knowing that my paperwork was in the hands of my boss on Wednesday and at the Korean Embassy on Friday. A-mazing. I am sitting cross-fingered hoping the embassy accepts my documents which are technically incomplete because my original diploma is not present. (I should get that in about 4 more weeks). If all goes well (cue George Michael) then I will have my issuance number next Friday. This is the number I need in order to make a reservation with the Korean consulate, which is located in Chicago of course.

The appointment will ideally be made for the week of Aug 8 or 9. I will then fly back and wait another week for my work visa to arrive in the mail.

More information about getting your E-2 work visa can be found at this website.

Lessons learned: hurry up and wait, repeat.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One way ticket

I did it. I (on my own, out of my own bank account, using my own money) purchased a one way ticket to South Korea. I am scheduled to leave at 7:24 am on Tuesday September 28. I will fly into San Francisco where I deliberately scheduled a 4 hour lay over. I will fly to Incheon South Korea from there, arriving at 6:30 pm on Wednesday September 29. This. Feels. AMAZING.

I did this against my recruiter's will, which suggested that I wait until I have my visa issuance number. My reasoning behind purchasing my ticket now as opposed to waiting is the fact that ticket prices were beginning to steadily increase and I knew how frustrated I'd be if I waited too long and ended up spending $100-$200 more than I would have. I went ahead and bought insurance which cost me an extra 38 bucks. Totally worth it. They will fully reimburse me if I cancel my ticket or if something comes up.

It's been a while since I've recorded my most recent steps in this prolonged process so we're going to take it back a week or so.

Last Monday, August 16, I made a trip to my college town with the sole intention of obtaining my official transcript post graduation. August 16 was the day I was told my degree would be awarded and I had been anxiously awaiting this day, as it was "THE day" that I could obtain the last few things I needed to send off all of my paper work to Korea. Seems easy, right? Drive two hours, pay a few bucks for a few transcripts and be on my way. WRONG. Not with me. My degree didn't actually post until the 17th but that wasn't the main issue.

See, I just graduated in August so my degree just posted on the 16th so my actual diploma won't arrive until 4-6 weeks after the 16th. Korea needs my original diploma as one the required documents. This was an obstacle for me; I had to find a way around not having my diploma to send to Korea. Here's what I did: I talked to the people in my admissions office, my department, and my registrar office. I explained my situation to them all and waited for their words of wisdom/input/guidance. The end result was a culmination of all of these resources. I got a letter from the College of Education stating my graduation, saying that I had received my degree in Middle School English Education but would not obtain a tangible diploma for weeks to follow. I then took that letter to Registrar where they sent me to the school notary. She couldn't notarize it because it had already been signed. I then had to go back to Registrar so they could write another letter stating that the letter from the College of Education is in fact true. The second letter from Registrar was then taken to the notary and was notarized. I then drove to my state capital and had the notarized letter apostilled. TAA DDAAA!!!

I went to the post office, said a prayer, and sent it off to Korea express style ($82 for 3 day delivery). That was on Wednesday. It arrived on Monday. wheew! I was told by me recruiter that the paper work was sent to my school. Unfortunately, the key person at the school who will be in charge of taking my paper work to get my issuance number is out of the office until Monday.

Cue the waiting game music.

The only reason why I'm sweating now is because of the new Korean law which states that as of September 1, we must have an FBI background check, not just a state one. I had sent a state background check with all of my paper work but am still waiting to receive my FBI background check in the mail. The teacher at my school will get my paper work on Monday August 30 (with no FBI background check in it)...that's pushin it.

George Michael said it best, "cause you gotta have faith" (bum bum bum)

On a more positive note! I passed the Praxis test (teacher certification test) with flying colors!!!!!! Hypnosis really DOES work! (as does relentless studying)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Waiting Game

As of now, all I can do is wait--wait for my degree to be posted so I can get my official transcript and my make-shift diploma, wait to get my Praxis test scores back so I can get my teacher certification, wait to get all of these things so I can mail my documents off to Korea to wait some more. Once I am able to send things off to Korea, then I have to wait to get the word back that I have everything in order so I CAN get my work visa. Oh yes, and wait while I keep saving money so I can actually buy my plane ticket. ah yes..the $1,200 plane ticket....stress ensues.