Saturday, October 30, 2010

Of tedious details and aeroplanes

So it's been a pretty productive week in terms of getting my actual travel plans off the ground.

Last week I headed into Newton to apply for a work visa at the Korean Consulate. The whole process was pretty simple, especially since my recruiter at Aclipse told me exactly what I needed to bring: completed visa application form, passport sized pic, passport, sealed university transcript, the actual visa code issued by Korean immigration, and the visa fee ($45 which covers for a multiple entry visa and is something you want to have in case you plan to travel outside the country during your stay). I'm not sure if the requirements are the same country-wide but I imagine this is about what most consulates or embassies in the US would be looking for.

My appointment was for 2:00pm and I was told to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out some paperwork. Basically it was the same health forms I'd submitted with my Chungdahm application so nothing new there. Then I had a hasty interview about my intentions for going to Korea, my experience working with kids, what I did in college, etc. I swear it lasted less than 5 minutes and as soon as the woman finished asking me one question she was already looking back down at her paper to shoot me the next one. So that was a breeze.

The only snag was with my college transcript because apparently I'd requested it from the school before they'd actually updated the system to say that yes, I did in fact graduate, so the transcript didn't reflect this. Luckily they just said for me to bring a new one when I came to pick the visa up and honestly when I did they didn't even check it to make sure so it was kind of a moot point.

So long story short I now have my visa and as soon as I got back home with it I went about getting my flight booked to Seoul. Like I said, I'm not a very experienced flier/traveler so I went through the travel agency that Aclipse recommended. The agent I talked to was really helpful and found me a wicked sweet deal in no time flat so now I'm booked to head out of Boston in the early am on Friday November 19th! I connect in San Francisco and then arrive in Seoul Saturday evening.

I kind of can't believe that after so many months of having it take forever, for various reasons, to gather the right paperwork and have everything be accepted without issue (just love Korean immigration for changing their requirements at the last second) that all of a sudden I have my visa and my flights are really booked. It's crazy.

So I'm feeling pretty good about where things stand right now. I expect once Monday rolls around and it's officially the month of my departure some of my composure might fly out the window though. Originally I'd requested to head out in September and though I knew that was tentative, I really had been hoping I'd be over there by now. But it's worked out for the best. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I think it's been good for me to spend the extra time at home once the craziness of summer wore off. It's given me a chance to really mentally and emotionally prepare for such a big transition and I now I don't feel as though I'm rushing off.

There's only three weekends left until I leave and I'm spending this one in Amherst, visiting my boyfriend and catching up with friends and all around just hoping to partake in some Halloween shenanigans. Or at the very least bum some Reese's Cups off someone. I'm not picky.

Movie Trivia of the Day: Oldboy:  Four live octopodes were eaten for the scene with Dae-su in the sushi bar, a scene which provoked some controversy abroad. Eating live octopus in Korea is commonplace although it is usually sliced first. When the film won the Grand Prix at Cannes, the director thanked the octopodes along with the cast and crew.

On my other blog I'm in the habit of snagging a random tidbit of movie trivia from IMDB to add to each of my posts and I thought I might do something similar here but with a focus on Korean trivia. Movies are a given but I'll also probably rotate through bits of history, literature, culture, and whatever else. Just things I come across that I think are interesting and worth sharing.

And who doesn't love fanciful factoids? You can use them at dinner parties to impress or, like the above, to gross out people you don't like who are turned off by seafood. Win win win.

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