Monday, April 01, 2013

Operation Extract Biggles

This upcoming week will be my last week at YB for a while. After Saturday, April 6, I'll be on a sort of vacation, at least until I head off to Korea on April 18 and come back around May 19. The operation to get my big, fat ass back to Korea—I'm henceforth calling it Operation Extract Biggles—is now under way. I've got a few things to do, such as get a travel visa and try to obtain a $6000 loan, not to mention change the rear tires on my car (which has been vibrating a bit too much for comfort lately) and snag a new set of contac--

--you know what? Scratch that. I'll get my new contact lenses in Korea, where they're a hell of a lot cheaper. Back when I worked at Sookmyung Women's University, I got a set of daily-wear, one-year lenses for only $70. The entire transaction—walking in the door, taking an eye test, getting a prescription, and buying lenses—took less than 25 minutes. Here in the States, at Costco, where things are supposed to be cheap, the eye exam alone sets me back $90 and takes a good hour, then a year's supply of one-month disposable lenses costs a further $160, and has to be ordered. That, friends, is in-fucking-sane.

Along with the visa and the loan, I've got to get a bunch of documents apostilled (notarized). Tom is sending me a hard copy of my e-ticket and one or two other items (I'd have told him to just email me a PDF copy of the e-ticket, but the "one or two other items" are being packed along with it in a small envelope). John McCrarey has very kindly rolled out the red carpet in Seoul, and I've got a whole month's free lodging set up for me. I owe a lot of people a lot of favors for the various kindnesses they've been showing me, and if Easter is a day to be thankful, then I'm very thankful to them all.

A few things need to go my way for this trip to be a success. First, I absolutely have to get that damn loan. If my debt-to-income ratio stomps me, I'm screwed, because I'll be going to Korea with little to no money. Second, I need that visa, since the trip dates that my buddy Tom got for me—the only guaranteed available Asiana travel dates for this time of year, apparently—take me beyond the 30-day visiting period, which means I do need a visa to be in Korea. Third, the apostille process must go smoothly. I need same-day service on this stuff, or else I won't have the documents with me when I fly to Korea. Fourth, I need to actually get a job while I'm in Korea. What a shame and a waste it would be if I didn't!

Assuming success, assuming I nab a university gig that starts in September, I'm going to have to tie up all my loose ends here in the States. Along with saying a permanent goodbye to YB, I'll have to wrangle with my rental office about the penalties I'll be paying for early termination of contract. I've also got to arrange for public storage for many of my mortal possessions, terminate my ISP's service (it's Comcast...blech), write to many companies about my change of address... God knows what else I need to do. Lots to think about.

And now—I'm leaving Sean's place to go back to Appalachia. More later.



John said...

Are you sure about the visa requirement? I've been going in for 90 day stays, the only requirement being a return ticket within that 90 day window. Last trip, I made a short hop to Japan and got an additional 90 days when I landed at Incheon.

John from Daejeon said...

You don't need a visa for up to 90 days if you are a United States citizen.

The only problem I see you having is getting the FBI background check back in time before you leave. They usually take at least a month to get them back to you and then you still would need to get that damn apostille from the Dept. of State. However, you could apply for high-paying jobs in the Middle East that don't require all the jumping through hoops that South Korea does as a back up.

Kevin Kim said...

John & John,

re: visa

This is news to me. It used to be that, with a visa, you could stay in country for 90 days before you'd have to skip over to Japan for a day, then come back. If what you guys are saying is correct, what's the difference between having a tourist visa and having no visa at all?

Kevin Kim said...

John from Daejeon,

re: visa

This is good news, to be sure. I won't have to get a visa, then.

re: FBI

I already have my FBI background check done; it's just a question of driving over to the State Department and requesting same-day apostille service while I wait. Will probably also apostille some official transcripts and both of my diplomas.

John from Daejeon said...

It's called the Visa Waiver Program. Just make sure your passport is valid for 6 months past the date of your travel plans, but call your local consulate if you have any worries just to double check (however, when I've done that in the past, it seems to really upset the hardly-working workers in the Houston office).