Sunday, June 15, 2008

One More Day

So we just have one more day until we leave for our summer vacation. That feels good.
(Actually, we leave on Tuesday, but I'm writing this on Sunday night.)
Tomorrow will be spent tying up loose ends getting ready to go. I'll try to enter all of my grades into the school internet system before I leave.
This has been a stressful week for me. I've been waiting and waiting for my criminal background check to return from the U.S. State Department Office of Authentications. (Now the Korean Immigration office requires that all people on teaching visas must have criminal background checks notarized and apostilized. Apostilization is not something related to the 12 apostles. It is like an official statement that this is an authentic un-forged document. It's a real hassle.)
So I was waiting and waiting, and starting to get stressed because our plan leaves on June 17. My visa expires on June 20. If my visa was not renewed before I left, then I might have to go through a lot of trouble to get it renewed again.
So on Tuesday I got the envelope back from the State Department. I thought, "OK! Just in time. That was close, but no problem."
Then, I opened it. They rejected the document. Apparently, the FBI doesn't place their official seal on these background checks, so I also had to have it notarized before it could be apostilized. AAGGGGHHH!
Luckily, lots of other people were having similar issues, so the US Embassy worked out something with the Korean Immigration Office. I had to make an emergency trip into Seoul on Thursday to get the US Consular to give me an official affidavit stating that this criminal background check is legit. It was almost ridiculous. I wrote my own affidavit saying basically that I really did submit the background check and that it serves as evidence that I don't have a criminal background. The guy looked it over, signed it, and put the paper in a press so that it had a nice bumpy eagle seal on it.
I guess that was official enough because on Friday the Immigration Office renewed my visa. Yeah!
Today, the stress continued when I thought I lost my wallet and phone. It turned out that they had somehow fallen out of my bag in my office, so no problem, but I was pretty freaked out about the possibility of losing my wallet right before going to the USA.
The past several weeks have been marathon weeks, with lots of meetings trying to get everything caught up and ready for me to be gone for a month.
Needless to say, I'm ready for vacation.
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