Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Travel List

In three weeks, I will have been in Korea for ten years.

When I go home, or talk to family, they occasionally raise the question, "When are you coming home?" The easy answer is, "Well, I just went home X years ago (at the moment: less than one)." Of course, that's not really the answer to the question they were asking.

For whatever reason, they don't seem to understand the more complex answers to the question. I wouldn't have understood it myself until the last few years. Yes, I do enjoy living in Korea--it's a cool change of pace. But I suppose San Fran or Austin or NYC or Oklahoma City would be, too, compared to semi-rural Georgia.

And, I suppose it's not fair to say, "Well, I can't possibly abide being under the dominion of the Circus-Peanut-In-Chief!" After all, when I came to Korea, Barack Obama had not even been elected yet. Also, it's not fair to say Korea is particularly more liberal or welcoming of foreigners or anything like that--hell, abortion is illegal in this country...

Still, I have a pretty good gig, where grading papers (the bane of my previous existence as a "real" teacher) just isn't a thing. Sure I work hard planning lessons, creating materials, trying to improve the educational outcomes of my students, as I always have done. But at 4:30, I'm finished, and get to have my own life. Surf around the blog to see what life for me is like here.

But the coup de resistance, the thing Americans--who have probably never even been to the Grand Canyon or the Gateway Arch (neither have I, BTW!)--don't get is the ready availability of travel for me. I'll go tomorrow to get my Korean visa renewed, and then Wednesday to get a visa for my upcoming two week trip to China. It'll be my fourth trip there. "Travel List" is the name of the post, and here it is (remember to click to see the full size if you can't read it):

I just have to shrug and say, "Livin' the dream."

Today, in furtherance of getting my visa for my upcoming China trip, I had to take a side trip to Immigration to get a copy of my "Certificates of Entry" for the last 12 months. Never had to do that before ... on three previous trips. New regulations are making tourism to China untenable--apparently, they only want to make American dollars by selling poisonous shampoo and substandard melamine.

Anyway, gather round. So, I took the side trip to get these documents--by the way, nothing was mentioned on the website about this requirement, or the photocopy of passport ID page, or copies of hotel bookings (none of which were needed in the past)--and found the only document that Korean Immi provides is a complete list of all your entries and exits. For 2,000W, chump change compared to the 200,000W China wants for my visa. I'm getting side-tracked …

I decided to verify the list I provided above, which was mainly based on blog posts and memory, and found I have left off two trips, and want to set the record straight, as follows:
August, 2013 -- Thailand, Koh Samui
April, 2017 -- Cambodia, PP, Kampot

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