Random ponderings (Is that a word? Should I be an English teacher?)

As April looms closer and closer (next month almost!) many different aspects of the moving-to-Korea-process create chaos in my brain. The one that has been occupying my mind the most frequently is getting our visas. Once I read through the 5,827-page document (that’s only a slight exaggeration) Adventure Teaching provided to us explaining the process, I was able to create my own one(!)-page checklist detailing what exactly we need to do, and it’s quite simple.

The most complicated tasks are: going to get fingerprinted and getting statewide criminal background checks, which we completed effortlessly, and getting the background checks and our college diplomas apostilled, which we are driving to Raleigh on Friday to do. After that we will send everything to Korea, and once we have our visas we’ll have to make another trip to Atlanta to interview at the Korean consulate (and visit Coca-Cola World and Stone Mountain while we’re there!). Then off we go! Oh yeah, we have to accept jobs first…

We are now in touch with the recruiters at Adventure Teaching on what seems like a daily basis. We are aware that we will be sharing a studio apartment (and one of us will receive an extra housing stipend). We requested that we live near a big city and I would like to work in a kindergarten. (Daniel wants to work with teens or adults.) Soon they should be sending us one or two possible jobs each. We will review contracts, interview with the schools, talk to current teachers there, and make our decisions.

It sounds like it will all go smoothly up to the last minute… since apparently we may not know important things like our flight information until a few days beforehand. Anxiety attack! Another thing that I’m sure will put me into panic mode is the actual teaching I will be doing. What if I really suck? Can they fire me? (Maybe I should ask these questions to AT?) I am just hoping I will be given adequate training (not standard for these jobs in Korea) and not bomb completely.

What else causes anxiety? Making a list of what to pack in the two 50-pound suitcases I will be allowed to bring with me. Okay, I’m not too worried about it. I did it when we moved to Prague and my list is actually quite modest. I probably brought more with me on the cruise I took two weeks ago than I will to Korea!

Also I will be missing some very important events in the year that I will be gone… FIVE weddings and my 10-year high school reunion. Oh well, it’s not like I could afford to attend them if I stayed here anyway.

After listing all these worries, you might wonder what I’m looking forward to in Korea: Traveling! I feel like Lonely Planet should start giving me a frequent-buyer discount after looking at my Amazon.com purchase history. I can’t wait to explore Korea (and maybe that forbidden northern half of the peninsula) and Japan during our year on the far side of the world. We’re still debating where to go when we finish up. Should we backpack Southeast Asia or take the Trans-Mongolian Railway from Beijing to St. Petersburg?

-Jen Pace

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