Friday, August 30, 2013

immigration: done!

I ran a bit late getting out the door this morning. I had wanted to leave around 7:45AM to arrive at the Daegu Immigration office before it opened at 9. Instead, I left closer to 8:10AM, but I was still able to make it to the office by about 9:05. The route to la Migra involved taking a bus from my neighborhood to Anshim Station (unfortunately spelled Ansim on the subway charts*), which is the tail end of Line 1. From Anshim Station, it's eight stops (about 16 minutes) to Dongchon Station, then a five- to seven-minute walk out of Exit 1 to the Daegu Immigration building.

The building itself looks surprisingly like the Seoul Immigration office, but once you go inside, you see right away that the lobby and work area are both significantly smaller. Still, there was a take-a-number system in place, like in Seoul, so I took a number. Only a handful of foreigners had arrived along with me, including a very tall white woman who was with her Korean minder. At a guess, the white woman had signed up with a hagwon, because having a minder tends to be more of a hagwon-style courtesy than a university-style one.

I didn't have to wait long at all. The ding that meant "Next!" could be heard several times in a row; I had pulled Number 8. Within two minutes, my number was called; I went over to the last booth in the row and sat across from a uniformed Ministry of Justice staffer who greeted me and then remarked that I was so sweaty it looked as if it were raining outside. I could do little but nod sheepishly; I was a dripping mess. I handed over all my paperwork, which was apparently in perfect order. "I can tell you've lived here a while," my staffer remarked, noting my Korean ability. I told him I'd spent eight years in Seoul, and that my mother had been Korean. The staffer plugged away at his computer, looked through my passport and other paperwork, then asked me to stand and place my fingers on a fingerprint scanner. "Press hard," he said. I scanned my four main fingers on each hand, then both of my thumbs.

"Are we done?" I asked. My interlocutor shook his head.

"It's W20,000," he said. I handed over two tens.

"Do you want your card sent to you?" the staffer asked.

"No; I can pick it up."

"Come back in three weeks, then," he said, "and bring this form with you." He handed me a voucher that served as evidence of today's application and transaction.

And that was it. I was done within ten minutes.

My next stop was the local Hi-Mart, an electronics-product shop. I was looking for a printer, but in talking with a staffer, I discovered that none of the printers at Hi-Mart was Mac-compatible, which sucked. There are other places for me to look, including the E-Mart near Anshim Station. I might go back there today. For the moment, though, I'm resting at home, cooling down and doing laundry.

My Friday thus far.

*Sometimes transliterations like "Ansim" are more misleading than phonetically faithful transcriptions like "Anshim."


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