Archive | April, 2012

Morning Cycles

25 Apr

Dong love…

25 Apr

I don’t care what anyone says I love my Dong (neighborhood). I’ve completely neglected this blog and now that its warming up and the cherry blossoms are out its time to show you a regular ol’ weekday in my dong, Junggye-dong that is.

The morning usually starts off  around 8:30-9:00am with me snoozing a few alarms on my phone. I can already see how bright it is so I pull the covers over my head and catching up with the people I play “draw something” with. Then its down the ladder of my loft and off to feed Tux, my adorable little mutt (see below left) I got from a local animal shelter via his foster mom.

If the weather is warm enough I’ll take Tux out for a very short walk around the park across the street, due to his abuse from his previous owners he has back and hind leg issues- translation: he will pee uncontrollably if too excited (but he is getting better). He also can’t walk for very long or be outside when the temperatures dip. In the winter its afternoon water aerobics in the massive kimchi tub I hide on the roof of my apartment build. Luckily it’s already pretty warm out so I throw on my biking clothes and grab a banana before I wrangle the little guy into his leash without him peeing everywhere.

By 9:30am muttly has been walked, fed and watered so I’m out the door to bike for 2-3 hours. Yesterday I made to Apbujung in about an hour and a half  one-way which shocked a few of my Korean friends who don’t exercise because its gives them “horse legs” or “radish thighs”… yes really.

It’s a great ride, I start cutting through streets and around vendors selling fruit, fish and bedazzled ajumma resortwear. After I pass the “Love Bread” bakery I ride down a little creek that connects me to the bicycling/walking interstate. This runs along another smaller river which will eventually turn in to the Han River which cuts through Seoul. Clusters of outdoor exercise equipment and soju snack shacks are my versions on roadhouses on this daily trek. Both are predominately used by seniors. I wonder if this is where the aged go to party at night. Further down the river I pass a group of ajusshis fishing (see right).

Three hours later I’m dragging my tired self home. I’m pooped and my elbows are killing me I have to work on my form. Once I get home I have to remember to head straight to the bathroom because Senor Pee Pants also has a weak bladder and if i give him any kind of attention he’ll pee on the spot. By this time it’s about 12pm, time to wash the stink off then catch up on emails and see who is on Skype while my hair dries. By 1pm I’m ready for a nap or a Hot6 (Korean Red Bull). Lately I am going through a food funk, its been a lot of bananas, oranges and GS25 Gimbap (see left) and ham sandwiches. When I have money I’ll stop by Paris Baguette on the way to work, it’s definitely not the healthiest or the most Korean of meals but it is what it is. At 2:15 I head out of my apartment to buy the my convenience store lunch/dinner. It’s a 3-4 minute walk to my hagwon. I prepare lessons and watch my co-workers preen and take pictures of themselves from 2:30pm to 4:45pm.  The melodic bell chimes out and its off to my first class. Today I’m teaching 5 classes of kids aged 6 to 12. They really do say the craziest things sometimes the rudest and most backwards things too but hey they’re kids! Today is two different levels of speaking one is with our youngest students (6 year olds), lots of energy and no volume control and the others are about a year or 2 older than that with one boy who is about 3-4 years old than them I feel so sorry for him. Then its two levels of listening classes. Today we’re were talking about descriptive word pertaining to people. I said draw a girl with braces, bangs, braids and a bow (far right) and finally a TOEFL prep class with our oldest and most advanced student who like to tell me how the other teach have diseases like P.D.: the Pretty Disease or V.D.: the Violent Disease. Thankfully everyone is manageable today largely because the older trouble makers are taking the week off to take their middle school tests. From what I understand it’s a test to decide what middle school they can get into or if they can even get into middle. There is a test for everything in this country.

Now its 9:40pm and I’ve starving so I say goodbye to my co-workers and director then head down the street to get some duc-boki. The duk boki is mixed with something that I think is sweet-potato noodles shoved in pig intestines then fried and cut up and put in this spicy sauce that has rice cakes in it .(see left). I usually get a couple of octopus tentacles while I wait. Today I have to elbow in because the middle schooler has taken over my favorite food stalls its a hazard of working in a hagwon dense dong. I usually ask for a big bowl and take it home and eat half now and half for breakfast the next morning. However that will not be happening tonight I’m so hungry. After mut-pie gets his dinner and I eat mine it’s about 10:30pm and all the academy buses have taken most of the kids to their homes so the streets are a little clearer. I take him for another quick walk around the park. Every night  I get to see a slice of the Korean demographics the young couple walking their poodle, the old ajummas and their weird dog that looks like a little old man and of course middle and high schoolers smoking and drinking beers sitting on the covered picnic tables. It’s almost 11pm now and I try to catch an english tv show to veg out on before heading back up my ladder to my loft to do it all again tomorrow.

Extending your E-2 visa from Korea

20 Apr

Get ready to be completely and utterly annoyed. I’ve just found out the the US consulate /embassy does not do any notorizing of academic records- this includes all degrees. What a ridiculous crock of sh**. What are you good for US consulate!!!!

In an attempt to do this “on my own”- ie. not ask my parent or a friend or other middle man I ‘m starting this process early. First I’ve emailed my Univeristy and request a new diploma that has been notorized. It’s supposed to take 3-4 weeks for the diploma alone so god only knows how long it will take for it to get notorized if it will at all. I also need to get another copy of my sealed transcripts bc I only have 2 and you need 3… Some dumb luck huh. Ahhhhh !!!!! If you haven’t guessed it by now, I am notoriously impatient. I’ve gone ahead and emailed my old recruiter as well asking if where is a notary or a service I can use to get my degree notorized in Seoul. There is nothing else to do but wait now. It’s easy enough to go and ahead and start the fingerprinting procedure so I will go ahead and take care of that May 7th at the Nowon police headquarters.

In case your wondering here is the process for any US citizens:

Degree notorized then sent to the your State Secretary for the apostiled

Then get finger printed at your local station
– print the background check form from the FBI website (see link from previous post)
– mail it off with a check

You should get your degree back quicker than your background check

Once you get your background check back sent it allll the way back to Washington for the State Secretary to apostiled it.

In case your wondering yes every step will cost you something as will the extra postage costs.

My friend did this and it took about 5 months, in all fairness she started 3 months out like she did the two times before but this time it just dragged on. She did successfully get a 3 month extension I don’t want to be in that boat. My begging skills suck and I’ll just end up yelling or crying… Or both. As I mentions before its just like the first time you did it but your going to have to spend double ferrying these documents back and forth… Bureaucracy is a bitch!