Saturday, February 23, 2008

Georgia on my mind...

So I took a little trip down to Atlanta on Wednesday to the Korean Consulate so I could interview with them and receive my E-2 visa. It's a new Korean law that anyone working for a private school (like I am) is required to interview with the nearest consulate to ensure that you aren't a creepy criminal in waiting.

The drive is a long one, totaling 375 miles one way. And my mom and I had a nice little road trip; we got into Atlanta a few minutes before 2, and my appointment was at 3. Luckily for me, they decided to take me in early. After filling out some forms, I waited for the interview. I was plenty nervous; I didn't know what to expect question-wise. But there really wasn't anything to worry about. The biggest question I got was "Why do you want to come to Korea and teach?" (Aside from being asked if I was really American after being born in Germany.) I thought maybe it would have ended up being more like a job interview, but really, the guy took about 15 minutes telling me about Korea--including how the people, food, and transportation was over there, and facts about the city I'm going to teach in. He ended up doing more talking than I did. But he said I sounded very happy and I would be perfect to teach kids, so he approved my visa. Whew.

Mom and I left Atlanta not long after that, having spent a total of an hour in the city. And already, traffic was backing up on I-85, although it was only 3 pm in the afternoon! I didn't know where all that traffic was coming from, unless they get off of work really early down there. The city itself has a lot of cool things; it would be an awesome place to visit and see when I have a little more time, I think. We got back into town at 11 pm that night, and I promptly fell into bed. Driving 750 miles in a day will wear you out!

All that effort didn't end in vain, though. I received my passport in the mail today, with my new E-2 visa pasted inside. Awesome! So now I have all the paperwork completed for me to enter the country. Once I get to Korea I'll have to go to the Gwangju Immigration Office to apply for my Alien Registration Card (before 90 days is up). And the best part of it all? If I decide I want to get another visa in a year to return to Korea and teach again, I won't have to interview at the Atlanta Consulate! Only first-time applicants have to at their office. Good news to me.

Only one week left till I leave! So much to do this weekend, and so many people left to see.

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