Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Little Closer To Lift-Off

This is the last day of June, and in a little over a month and a half I will be heading to South Korea. Slowly, I have been getting things together - though nothing is packed yet. What I have been gathering is what I've needed for documentation.

I've gotten a another diploma (we had to pay for it, but it was worth it so that we wouldn't have to send our originals - especially since I got mine framed rather nicely) - it's not a copy per se, but is official and signed by the registrar and president of the university. I also got two copies of my TESL certificate and sent one to Korea. I had to get two passport sized photos (probably for the visa and/or Ministry of Education records), two reference/recommendation letters, sealed transcripts, copy of the picture page of my passport, a criminal record check (sealed, and a medical report. I've yet to get the medical report as I can only get into the doctor for July 24. I received an email from the Ministry asking for me to fax a copy of the signed report when I get that; I'll also take the original with me in case they would like that over the faxed copy.

Within the next couple of weeks I should be getting the contract an official letter of acceptance and the documents for the working visa. We are to go to the nearest Korean Consulate and get those documents signed. The only problem is the nearest Korean Consulate is in Montreal! Neither my two friends nor I can afford to take a weekend trip up to Montreal to do this, so one of the girls contacted the woman from Vancouver that we've been in contact with throughout this process. She's been the middle person, so to speak, between applicants from Canada and the Ministry of Education in South Korea. She told us to mail the documents and our passport (which is needed for this) to the consulate. That bothers me somewhat.

You see, information that was included with the passport says not to let your passport out of your possession. Now, you don't have to keep it on your person at all times, but you shouldn't give it away or lend it to someone or anything of the sort. However, the only option we have is to mail it to the Consulate...I'll definately be using Registered Mail or something of the sort which means they'll have to sign for the envelope (and thus I'll know they received it), and I think I am going to request that they send it back in a similar way. I will be praying that my passport doesn't get lost or stolen in that process - otherwise I could be in trouble (not for sending it to them, but for not having it when I need it to go to Korea). I'm sure that things will be fine in this area, though.

Also, something I've been running into a lot lately is that a lot of people are assuming that my trip to Korea is for missions. That is not the case. Yes, God can use me over there should He so choose; but my reasons for going to Korea are not mission oriented. I'm simply going over there to teach English and hopefully earn enough money to pay off a significant chunk (if not the whole thing, which would be nice) of my student loan.

Yes, I will be looking for a church when I get there, and I plan on using my God-given talent of knitting to make items for homeless/less-fortunate/orphans, etc. as I do here. I don't know if I will get involved in the church I attend as I've been involved here at my own church (such as teaching Sunday school and helping with the mid-week program), or if I will take a "break" and rest and replenish myself from such things for the year, so that I don't get burnt out. That way, when I come back I will be rested up and can start fresh in at my own church again. I know I'll be busy with the teaching, and if I volunteer at a church there (doing Sunday school or some other program or whatnot), I know I will run myself ragged and get burnt out - and I don't want that to happen while I'm in Korea. But, I shall have to wait and see what the direction that God will lead me in while I'm in Korea.

So comes the end of another updated post on my journey to South Korea. God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Couple of Fun Quizzes!

Your Eyes Should Be Brown

Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart


You Are: 50% Dog, 50% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.

You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.

And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Step Towards Korea

I still haven't gotten everything together to send to Korea to get the visa. I do have most of the required documents/information, however.

I was able to take one day off a little over a week ago. I was able to go to the police station and submit the form to get a police check done. I also included a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could send it to me. I got that back last Wednesday - less than a week later. We have to submit that in a sealed envelope, so naturally I did not open it. I will send it as is when I send out my documents.

I've also been able to get my two reference letters, one from my TESL teacher, and one from my employer. Those, too, have to be sealed. My TESL teacher is sending his letter directly to Korea, but my employer gave me her reference in a sealed envelope and I'll send it as is.

One of the girls who is going to South Korea with me stopped into the university last week and she and the third girl (who happens to work at the university) spoke with the registrar about our diplomas and TESL certificates. You see, we are supposed to submit our originals but we don't want to do that in case they get lost or ripped or damaged in some other way. The school's policy is that you can't get a replacement unless you submit the original first. However, since our situation is somewhat unique, they told the girls that they will get us copies of the diplomas and certificates. The only thing is, we have to pay - which I suppose is fair.

I emailed the woman in the registrar's office who is responsible for getting these documents for us. She said that they were waiting for the paper to print them on, as well the president of the university had to sign them. We should get them at the beginning of this week (I checked my email tonight and there was no word on them yet). I also inquired about my transcripts and those are ready, but this same woman in the registrar's office said she thought maybe I'd want to get everything at the same time, and save a trip into the school. That is fine with me. I just need these documents very soon.

As for the passport, Sarah and I drove up to the provincial capital to the passport office there. We went on a Tuesday morning and submitted our applications. We were told it would take three weeks for us to get our passports. Two weeks and a couple of days later, we got them. Had we sent them to Ottawa (actually I think the passport office is in Gatineau, Quebec which is just across the border from Ottawa I think), we would have had a minimum of 10 weeks to wait before getting the passports. The reason is because very soon (unless it is required now), Canadians will need passports to enter the US via air. As well, in the not too distant future, you will be required to have a passport the enter the US via car as well (right now you only need a birth certificate). I think people are preparing for that, especially with the summer season upon us and many people will be travelling.

Anyway, if you are a Canadian citizen and wish to avoid the long wait when sending your passport application into Ottawa/Gatineau, take it to your provincial office if it is at all possible. You'll have a shorter wait.

So, I am mostly waiting on the diploma and TESL certificates and then I can get those and what I've gathered so far, documentation wise, to send to Korea so they can work on getting the visa. Once I send in, at least, the three important items (diploma, transcripts, and two passport size photos), they can begin the process. I think the rest of the documents are for the Ministry of Education's (in Korea) office files, though to be honest, I am not totally sure about that.

The days and weeks are passing by quickly; June is half over already. I don't know exactly when we'll leave yet, but the orientation starts August 24. I would expect we will leave Canada no later than August 22 (it takes about 24 hours to get there, including stops/layovers or whatnot from what I read).

Two months (approximately) from now, and I head to Korea. I don't think it has really hit me yet. I have a lot to do before then, and I know the time is going to fly by. I'll keep you updated on how things are going prior to leaving. I'll be taking my laptop with me, and we are told that we will have internet access at the schools, and we can have it set up in our apartments; I will be able to blog from there and update on what is going on with me in Korea.

Until then, I'll try to come up with other things to post about as well so I won't be too boring...

Have a Christ-filled day!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane

Well, not for a little while yet. A couple of friends (from my TESL class) and I had applied for jobs teaching English in South Korea. We had to send in our resumes, photos, a medical form (a simple general self-evaluation type), then if we got through that we would have to take part in an interview via phone from South Korea. Thursday night we had our interviews (mine was at 11pm my time, one girl was before me but I don't know what time hers was, and the other one didn't have her interview until 1am our time). We waited all weekend to find out whether or not we passed the interview.

This evening we found out. I haven't talked to the other girls yet, but I passed the interview!

Now I have to gather together two reference letters, a medical report from the doctor, a police check, my diploma, copy of my TESL certificate, transcripts of my marks, and some other items. All of this is needed to optain the visa. We need to get this done this month. In July we'll receive an official acceptance letter, our contracts, and something else that I forget at this moment...oh, probably the visa.

Next comes the airline ticket (though I wonder if that can be obtained prior to getting the visa), and flying to South Korea to take part in an orientation, after which we will begin teaching.

Whew! That's a lot to get done between now and then. I'm going to have to take a day or two off work so I can do the running around I need in order to get my transcripts, police check, etc., because all of these places will be closed by the time I get off work (which is typically 4:30). Taking the time from work doesn't bother me. I even have to ask my boss for a reference letter, and I'm sure she'll give me a good reference; that doesn't bother me.

I'm excited but at the same time, I'm scared. I've never been out of the country (except to visit in Maine a couple of times several years ago), and have never been that far away from my family and friends before. That will take getting used to, and I'm sure I'll suffer home sickness some as well.

Anyway, just wanted to update the blog and let you know what's been going on. I can definately use prayer for this - getting all the documentation done up, and on time; saving money; safe travel and safety in South Korea...and so much more. I'll keep you all updated on how things are progressing, so until then, have a Christ-filled day!