Bureaucratic Bypass Surgery

With a title like that, you might suppose I had something like very scary news for you all concerning our journey to South Korea.  But you would be wrong, because I just like dramatic titles.  In fact, I happen to have some very good news on that subject.  We now have solid reasons to believe our visa numbers will be finally be processed this coming week!

A little bit of background, in case any one’s forgotten (or we’ve forgotten to mention it): because our employer is not a school in the conventional sense, Korean immigration law requires an on-site inspection before any work visas can be approved.  And it was just this requirement that was holding us up, as week after week the inspection simply never took place.

But now, our recruiter has informed us that, following a personal intervention by our employer, the school/camp/whatever has finally been inspected, and the paperwork can resume its flow toward sunshine and happiness.  Huzzahs are in order!

/Gentle huzzahs flower in the far distance.

This is a welcome development, because as my digital clock and calendar is mercilessly reminding me, we are now half-way finished with the month of November.  When Tara and I got this job, I felt confident that we would be decorating our new apartment in Cheonan before Halloween.  At the rate we’re going, it’s not exactly certain we’ll be out of here before Thanksgiving.  Having promised my mom I’d be home for Christmas 2014, I was definitely starting to feel the pressure.

There’s still pressure, of course.  Our money is limited and we’re not out of the bureaucracy’s labyrinth of apathy just yet.  I don’t think I’ll really be able to relax until I’m on the plane.  But after a month of no news, this development has electrified us.  Today, we will bask in the sparkly good feelings of the inevitable imminent eagerly-awaited conclusion.

So there you have it: the process moves along and we are one step closer to teaching ourselves to love kimchi.  This blog is one step closer to its first made-in-Korea update.  At last, we can get a little forward motion back in our lives, and start living like grown-ups again.

With Tara back from California and our long-delayed visit to Seattle just shy of imminent, I am feeling pretty good about life.  I’m doing my best not to get ahead of myself, but I’ll take any good excuse not to worry myself to death.  We’re together and we’re ready and things are starting to turn our way.


On an Airplane (but not to Korea…)

I absolutely love the Portland International Airport (PDX).  I always have and always will.  I think it is one of the nicest and cleanest airports in the U.S. (although I have not been to THAT many).  Plus, whenever I come here it is usually to go somewhere awesome and when I come back after a trip, PDX always feels like home.  It also has free Wifi, unlike many of the other airports I have traveled to in my life.

Lately however, I have been having a lot of mixed feelings about this airport.  When I came here twoish months ago to take my friend from Australia to his flight home, I told myself that the next time I came to the airport, I would be on my way to Korea.  Obviously this is not what happened. Within a week I was back to pick up my boyfriend (a joyous occasion, yes, but still not the two of us leaving for Korea).  Then, a couple weeks later, my friends and I got a hotel in Portland and the best deal we could find was right next to PDX.  So of course, I drove past it multiple times only to be saddened by the fact that I still am not on my way to Korea yet.

Last week, I took my mom the PDX to go to San Francisco for our “girls week” with my two aunts and grandma.  Today I am going to join them, which will be fun and distracting.  However, as I was walking through the airport I got really sad that I still wasn’t here to catch my flight to Incheon International.  I had been expecting to be here weeks ago for that very reason but obviously, it was not to be.  So, that is four times I have been here in the last two months and it will be five when I return on Thursday. Although I am very excited to hang out with my family it is very upsetting that we still have not left.  Who knew that our asap job would turn into over a month of more waiting, checking my email everyday, and having friends and family repeatedly ask me, “Any news?”  It is quite draining.

We did, however, find out that the reason our visa numbers are taking so long is because we are working at a camp.  The immigration office has to go and check it out to make sure everything is running properly before we are allowed to come over.  At least, this is what our recruiter tells us.  While this is a good thing that will hopefully keep us out of trouble in the end, they have a long list of places they have to visit.  Our recruiter keeps telling us that hopefully we will have our VIN by the end of the week.  Well, that was last week.  I think she just tells us that to keep us placated and probably really has no idea.

To end on a happy note, David and I have been doing a lot of fun things in the meantime to try and keep up our morale.  Most importantly we have made it about 1/3 of the way through season 5 of Dr. Who. 🙂  I’m glad I got to introduce David to this show and he absolutely LOVES it.  I am enjoying it even more this time around than the first time I watched it probably because I get to see the glee on David’s face every time something awesome happens (which is pretty much every episode).  I am pretty sure he likes Dr. Who even more than I do.

We also went to Eugene for what we thought would just be one or two nights and ended up staying about four!  We were having so much fun we didn’t want to leave.  Plus, Kelly and I made plans to have a Halloween party and so Kelly drove us back to my house on Tuesday and stayed until Thursday.  It was so great to have her around constantly (this had been my normal state of affairs for the past 3 and 1/2 years).  I miss her so much and wish she was coming with us.  My other “ex-roommates” 😦 and Kelly’s sister, Alli, joined us for our Halloween party where we ate lots of food, talked, and watched The Others and The Ring!


Me, David, Kelly


Can you guess who Kelly and I were?


Hiccup, Toothless, and my sheep!


Scene from the movie #1 (Kelly really likes to lick things)!


Scene from the movie 2!


The whole family (my dad is really good at taking pictures!)


We also went to the Haunted Corn Maize on Sauvi Island the night before Halloween, which was a first for David, Joann, and I.  We had so much fun that we went through twice!  It was totally worth the $10.


I have also been spending as much time with Minnie as possible.  So to end, here is a video of Minnie “walking” around in her new booties that my dad got for her!  Sorry about the quality.  It was taken on David’s iPhone 4.

P.S.  There is a guy sitting next to me at the airport shaking with laughter.  He is watching something on his phone and trying not to laugh loudly.  In doing so he keeps shaking super intensely and snorting.  It is a little awkward and I am having a hard time not laughing at him!