Yet another rant…

I have been feeling so stressed and overwhelmed lately and I thought writing it all out might make me feel better! It has to do mostly with one thing: visa issues! Living and working in a foreign country is so complicated sometimes.

Last night I was tossing and turning just thinking about the timing and logistics of everything. My recruiter says I can’t transfer my current visa and I can’t return by May 23rd before it expires as I just had Tessa buy a ticket to visit me from May 21st-23rd (I would have to leave by the 21st to get to Korea by the 23rd). So I have to get a new visa now. I had already anticipated that this might be the case so I had my FBI criminal background check done and had my mom mail it to the NC Secretary of State to be apostilled, but she just informed me that they sent it back and it has to be notarized first. I was told that if it had the FBI seal and signature it didn’t need to be notarized but apparently it does unless I send it to the federal authentication office. But now I have to get my university degree apostilled again as well so I might as well do them both together. So when I get back home I will have to go to a notary, then overnight the notarized documents to the Secretary of State and have them overnighted back. Then I have to pay $90 to send it to Korea and then wait to get my VIN and pay more money to overnight more documents to the consulate in Atlanta and have them overnighted back to me. Damn!

To add to the stress and confusion I am not sure when I will be returning to Korea since I don’t know when I’ll have my new visa. Daniel is really making me feel guilty because he is afraid I won’t be back in time to help him pack up and move. I plan on packing up all of my stuff and all the things we don’t use regularly this week before I go home so hopefully that will alleviate his worries a bit. And we have plenty of friends who could help him move if I’m not back in time. Of course I would like to be back a few days early to help him pack and move and settle in before I start working on June 1st, but now I have to wait and see when I get my visa. I am also worried because my new school is supposed to reimburse me for my flight back to Korea but they were already bitching about having to pay for a one-way ticket instead of half of a round-trip ticket so I am afraid they will only reimburse me up to a certain amount and not the entire cost if it is very expensive. (Right now it costs about $1,000.)

In addition to all that I also feel so busy lately and like I have too much to do… job interviews and then baking with Ohee and my language exchange with Jinhee, plus meeting friends for dinner during the week. Then on the weekends I always think I have to do something “fun”. I just looked at my calendar and the last time I stayed in Bundang for an entire week was… SEPTEMBER!! I always at least go to Seoul once a week. Not this week! I am staying in Bundang all weekend. It will be glorious!!

Sorry, I know that was a long rant and most people who read my blog won’t understand half of it but I just needed to get it all out! And sorry for all the people I have flaked out on lately, but hopefully after reading this you will understand why!

But I am very thankful to finally have a new job. This one is official; the contract is signed! I was lucky because it turns out I know the teacher I will be replacing and she must have put in a good word for me because they hired me on the spot! It sounds like a good school and she had lots of good things to say about the job. I will be teaching math, science, and (mostly) art to kindergarten and elementary students. It sounds pretty fun too; I get to plan all my art projects and the school has monthly field trips and theme days and other cool events. So I am excited! (And of course I found out when my summer vacation is and started planning my trip to Thailand… hopefully I won’t be going solo!)

Daniel is still looking for a new job but he had a promising interview tonight at a school where two of his good friends work so fingers crossed!

And of course I am looking forward to my time at home! Only one week left of teaching and then I leave Korea on April 30th. After an overnight layover in Tokyo I will arrive in Charlotte on May 1st. I already have so many fun things planned such as: Ladies Night Out at The Melting Pot, Cinco de Mayo, Thirsty Thursday, camping, a quick trip to Charleston, seeing Chicago at the Flat Rock Playhouse, Breanna’s baby shower, a cook out, visiting all of Asheville’s microbreweries, Mother’s Day, Araceli’s Pure Romance party, the Saluda Arts Festival…

In other news:

I have actually been teaching for the past week and a half. One of my co-teachers went to New Zealand so I am covering her classes. I am really enjoying it; it is better than watching someone teach anyway! I am working with three-year-old students most of the time, which I thought might be awful but is really fun. There are only four of them so it’s pretty easy as well. We had our first field trip of the new school year on Tuesday. We went to a botanical garden and made… well, I’m not sure what to call them. We mixed some kind of substance and water in a cup which turned into a jelly-like consistency, then we dyed it with food coloring and stuck two bamboo sticks in. See below. We also strolled around the gardens and saw some bunnies and bugs.

Most of you are aware that Daniel broke his finger last weekend. It was only his second Gaelic football practice! Luckily medical care is very cheap in Korea and he has health insurance of course. But it’s still a pain for him; he has been to the doctor or a hospital at least four times already and it was on his right hand which makes life more difficult in general.

It has been such nice weather lately; I am really loving spring in Korea! Beautiful flowers and cherry blossom trees. On Sunday we took Bella on the roof. She really loved it, much more than when we take her outside I think because there were no people or animals up there to scare her. I had never been up there before but it is so nice… too bad I’m only discovering it now that I’m leaving!

Weird Korea Part 13: Maybe I’ve mentioned Koreans being overly paranoid before? They always wear masks over their mouths and carry umbrellas no matter how light the rain (or snow). But because of all the stuff happening at the nuclear power plants in Japan now they think the rain here is radioactive. They closed schools because of it. Even though it is clearly not true. Sigh.

-Jen Pace



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8 responses to “Stressed!

  1. Mary Baumgartner

    Hi Jen, It was so nice receiving your recent Korean adventures. Those little children are adorable. And your cat, Bella is a beauty. Will Dan care for it while you’re here in NC? I’m glad you’ve found a job and hope the bureauocrats can clear up your visa problem. Sorry I won’t see you this time but I’ll talk to you on the phone soon. Love, Grandma

  2. cindy

    kSometimes Jen, I think that you make life hard for yourself. I think that if you didn’t plan so many things to do you could have gotten all the stuff about your VISA done. Where are your priorities?Playing or getting the business stuff done, Daniel or your friends and getting together with them?
    It seems your life is one stress after another. You are even stressing me out reading your blogs. Ithink I will stop.


    • Daniel Daugherty


    • Karen

      Jen is a very ambitious person. I admire her and look up to her as a person and friend. Personally, I have never viewed being ambitious as a negative quality. Also, this is a little off topic but, I can honestly say that I’ve never been friends with a couple before (and actually liked them both). Until I met Jen and Daniel. Also, I see nothing wrong with letting out a little steam about troubles. Jen, you know the moment I have issues I’m calling you up to vent…

    • allie

      Getting visas for Korea is incredibly stressful and difficult, no matter how much or little you have on your plate. I have so much respect for you, Jen, for being able to get everything done while still making time for others! 🙂

  3. Jen Pace

    i do not have issues with my visa because i am too busy but rather because of the dates and timing of going home.
    daniel is not the only important person in my life, my family and friends are very important to me too. i see daniel every day and my friends and family now only once or twice a year.
    but yes please do stop reading. all you ever do is write negative comments anyway.

  4. Emma

    Yeah, I can relate. Trying to get my documents together has been an incredible pain. I didn’t want to order them too early because because they’re only valid for three months, but now I’m hoping I haven’t waited too long. Also, the guy who took my prints didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing, so I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll even be accepted by the FBI. Anyways, I hope everything work out with your documents and mine too. Those kids are cute!!

  5. Jen Pace

    thanks for the support grandma, emma, karen, and allie!

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