Finally in Korea

{Written by Jared}

The past two weeks have been extremely hectic, to say the least. We left for Galveston TX on Thursday January 3rd to go on week long cruise to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel Mexico. We had a few days to burn before the cruise, so we went to San Antonio and stayed on the River Walk and visited the Alamo. Now at this point we didn’t have our visa application numbers (required for our actual visa applications). We were hoping and praying that we would get them before we left for the cruise, but among the documents required to get them was our apostilled FBI background checks (a 3 month process) which we received in the mail a month earlier nearly completely destroyed by a mail sorting machine. We contacted the Korean immigration office and they said the only way to know if they would accept the documents was to see them in person. Not having the time to go through the entire process of getting our background checks redone, we gathered the rest of the paperwork required for our visa applications and sent them to Korea.

So as I said earlier, we were in San Antonio hoping and praying that God would work a miracle, our documents would be accepted, and that our application numbers would come through before we left on the cruise so that we could then mail our passports to Chicago and have our visas put in them while we were on the cruise, and receive them back in the mail before we got back (we were supposed to leave for Korea the day after we got off the cruise).

The morning after we arrived in San Antonio we got an email with our visa application numbers! God had answered our prayers and worked a miracle (our documents should have never been accepted). We went to the post office, filled out the forms for our visas, and overnighted our passports to the Chicago Korean Consulate. We contacted our employer in Korea and told her we had sent in our passports for our visas. She then bought our plane tickets for Tuesday after we got back from the cruise.

When we got off the cruise, we found that our passports had not made it back in the mail. It was a Sunday when we got off the ship, and even with overnight shipping, we would not receive our visas in time for our early morning flight out on Tuesday. We checked our voicemail and there was a message from the Korean Consulate saying that there was a problem with our paperwork and that we needed to contact them. We were devastated. After weighing the options we decided to drive to Chicago from Galveston hoping that upon arrival we would be able to get our visas and drive straight back to Kansas City to catch our flight out. When we got there after a grueling 20 hour drive, we went into the consulate and told the lady at the desk our situation. After explaining everything to her, she nonchalantly informed us that although she could issue us our visas on the spot, she was not going to because it was “not fair to the other people who were waiting for their visas”. We begged her to make an exception, but she would not budge. We finally got her to agree to give them to us the next day, but no sooner. Feeling completely defeated, frustrated, and exhausted, we got a $40 hotel in Chicago and got some sleep. When we got to the hotel we called and cancelled our flights to Korea.

The next morning we woke up and headed to the Korean Consulate. After a few snide remarks from Ms. Park (the lady working at the Consulate) we had our visas and were on our way to Kansas City to stay at Jesse and Chelsie’s place. On the way to KC we booked a flight leaving the next morning. We arrived with no trouble, made our flight the next morning, and are now safely in Korea.

When we arrived in Korea, our employer took us out to dinner. She then showed us where we work, and dropped us off at our new apartment. After getting a few basics for our apartment, it is feeling rather homelike.

Our friends Derik and Amanda who have been teaching English in Korea for the past year have been a huge blessing to us in getting us all set up, showing us around the island, and just being great friends.

We arrived in Korea Thursday night, had orientation Friday, and spent the weekend setting up our place and exploring the city. We had our first day of class yesterday, and all in all it went very smoothly considering we only had one day for orientation and then began our own classes the next school day.

Now that we are in Korea we will do better at keeping up with our blog.

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7 thoughts on “Finally in Korea

  1. We are so glad you’re safely there and sorry you had to go through all those frustrations while sleep deprived! How miserable it must be for Ms. Park to be so unkind. Enjoyed the blog and the skyping the other night and looking forward to more!

  2. A blog! What a great idea. :). I’m sorry to hear about all the issues getting there but so glad that it all worked out! Love and prayers from all of us to you!!

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