Today was an odd and strange day as it comes to a close and I hibernate in my apartment because it’s gotten cold again in Seoul and I’m tired. 😦
This is the last week that I will teach my students at Singa, so I have a thing that I take a picture of my students and then have them sign their pictures for me. It was really odd to see how affected my 5th graders were when they found out that I wouldn’t be their 6th grade English teacher. One of my favorite homerooms, 5-9, started to chant, “Stay in Korea, Teacher” at the end of class. It was very hard to say that I’m leaving and then have Kim You Yeong “repeat” everything in Korean and of course it was very hard when she was laughing and smirking the entire time and was grinning when she got to the part that Karen teacher was leaving at the end of the month. But now I think that almost every 5th grader has my e-mail, so I’m a bit interested to see how many and which students do actually e-mail me or check out this blog.
I didn’t have any classes this afternoon, so I figured that it would be far more productive to stand in line at the pension office and get my finances in order so I can leave with all my money than to sit in my office and update my amazon.com book list.
So the backstory, when I first came to Korea, I didn’t know that there were really more than one type of visas, or rather that I qualify for more than one kind of visas and that one is actually better than the other. So I did all the paperwork and received a E2 visa, which is basically for skilled migrant workers AKA native English teachers. E2 visas are very restrictive, you can only legally work at the one place listed on your visa, if you don’t like where you’re working than you have to get permission from your employer to leave so that you can get a new visa with another employer. Certain banks and other companies (cell phone, TV/cable , Internet, etc.) will not give E2 visa holders the time of day. And also you may only be allowed one entrance and exit on you visa, unless you knew to check off multiple entry when you applied.
But since not only was I born in Korea a while ago, I can also prove that I am of Korean descent, so I qualify for a F4 visa, which basically gives me the basic rights of a Korean citizen, except for the ability to vote, which I have no desire to do. If you have a F4 visa, then you have access to cheaper packages at certain companies and services. And if you decide that you don’t want to work at your place, you can leave, you don’t need your employer to sign a special paper to get a new visa.
So I changed my visa from an E2 to a F4 about two years ago and when I changed it, the nice people at the immigration office took away my E2 visa and told me that I didn’t need it anymore now that I have my F4 visa, everything is in the computer, etc.
Fastforward to today when I went to get my pension refund from my E2 visa, I was redirected to the post office (I was also told over the phone that I only need to show my photocopy of my E2 visa and my pension refund form). After an hour there and several phone calls later by the guy there and by me to different government offices, I was told that although in the last two years, I did my taxes on the money I made while I had my E2 visa, filled that paperwork, deferred my payments with just my photocopy of my E2 visa, now that I want to receive my refund and to set up my lump-sum settlement when my current contract ends, I actually have the wrong paperwork. I need to go to one of the immigration offices in Seoul and get a jeung myeong which states that I used to have an E2 visa and now I have a F4 visa. (Now weeks before when I went to renew my visa, I was told to go to the Mokdong Immigration Office, which is about a half an hour past the Sejong Immigration.) So after the hour it took me to get to Anguk and to the immigration office, I was tired of the run around and then I saw that it was a standing room only and the ticket machine was turned off with a lovely note basically saying, ‘due to the large number of people, there will not be any more tickets issued for the rest of the day, come back another day.’ So to recap…in four hours of running around Seoul, I have basically NOTHING.
So to make the day seem somewhat productive I went to Palette for hot chocolate and macaroons and then to Tomatillo’s for their Haiti Relief benefit.