Ok so I'm about to begin my third year here in Korea, and this year some things are different. For starters, I had to completely renew my visa. Meaning, I had to get an FBI background check and get my university diploma apostilled. In case you have to get a visa for Korea, please make sure that you give yourself about six months to do so. Sound like a lengthy process? That's because it is. You see, I sent my fingerprints to the FBI in mid November. It arrived in their system December 15th. My parents got the FBI background check on February 5th and tried to get it apostilled. However, the state of Georgia doesn't apostille federal documents so then they had to Overnite it Fedex to the US Department of State. They mailed it to the address that the FBI and the Superior Court Clerk's Office suggested to have it processed within a week. When they didn't get it back in that week, they called to find out the status on my document. They were then informed the address they sent it to was not the address to process it in one week but 2-3 months. Did I mention that my visa expires February 28th? Yeah, so that doesn't work out well for me now does it? Anyways, my parents made some calls, I made some calls, and my boss made some calls. My parents are still working on getting my background check, but my boss and I were able to get a two month extension on my visa. It was a miracle! I'm so thankful! However, I still know nothing about my background check...this weekend was Presidents' Day so obviously the offices were closed. It's funny how we get so excited about days off of work, but when we really need someone to be at work and they're taking the day off, it seems really inopportune. So yeah...stay tuned! Lol.
On to the next one, this year I'm getting a new apartment. I will be living a block away from my school! I'm really excited about this because right now I live about a 15 minute bike ride from school. I also live about two blocks away from Time World in Dunsan Dong (in case you don't know Daejeon, that's one of the prime shopping/eating/partying areas). I'm also a lot closer to my gym now. Really, I'm a lot closer to anywhere I really need to be. I will be living on the 10th floor. I have two huge windows overlooking the city. My apartment has a loft, a bigger bathroom, a bigger refrigerator, more closet space, and a washing machine with a dryer!!!!!! I haven't had my clothes dried in two years!!!! I'm pretty excited about that. Lol. The downsides: I have to take an elevator everyday (or walk up 10 flights of stairs), my bills will be twice as much, and they say not to flush toilet paper down the toilet (I still haven't decided if I want to try it or not). Lol. All in all, it seems like a pretty good deal.
Also, I'm getting paid a bit more. Since my bills will be higher, it's definitely a good thing!!! But none of the Korean teachers got raises this year even though it states in their contracts that they should get a raise. Most of them aren't too upset about it, but it makes me feel wanted knowing that my boss wanted me to stay so badly that he gave me a raise and a nicer apartment. Seriously, my new apartment probably costs twice as much as the one I live in now. I do feel badly and a bit selfish that I asked for and got what I wanted, but in Korea, that's kind of how things work. Foreign teachers (especially ones with experience) can usually find a better job somewhere else and will walk if they don't get what they ask for. Also, I didn't ask for nor did I get a raise last year. I asked for a different apartment but they didn't give it to me. So at the same time, I kind of don't feel as bad.
This year, we will only have three foreign teachers at the school. I'm kind of worried about this because I might have more classes, but at the same time, right now I'm working the maximum number of hours that I can before receiving overtime. So, if I get more classes, I will get overtime.
Anyways, I'm pretty excited about these changes, and I'm definitely looking forward to another year here in Daejeon. I move into my new apartment after orientation on Saturday, graduation is next week, and then the new semester starts the week after. A busy end to this semester and a busy start to the next one. I can't wait for things to slow down and get back to normal. I miss my regular schedule at the gym and now that it's warming up some, I want to start running again! I can't wait!!!!