Wednesday, February 14, 2007

goodbye family life

Finally got the definitive answer to my question as to when I can bring my family to Korea.

Not for a while.

The Korean Embassy in Manila is very close to the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls near Ayala MRT station. It's between 50 and 80 pesos to take a taxi there but if you have the time to go exploring I'd suggest waking up early and walking along Ayala until you get to Makati. Then turn up Makati Avenue until you get to 1226 Makati Avenue the Pacific Star Building, the Korean Visa office is on the 18th floor. There is also an extensive pedestrian pedway that hangs at the second story level along basically the whole route from the malls to the Pacific Star building.

Now back to my family:
It should be pretty simple to bring Charlize for 6 months at a time once her Canadian passport comes back to the Canadian embassy in Manila but Rosi can only be in Korea for 59 days unless we can get a few more documents together.

First of all Rosi needs to undergo special Overseas Worker Guidance Counselling which can only be had in Manila or Cebu. The counselling will take between 4 and 8 hours (the man on the other end of the phone has been making conflicting statements so it's either 4 or 8 hours).

Secondly, it seems that we must be married for her to come over with me on my E2 visa and of course they want all the documents that everybody else seems to want including her birth certificate and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) clearance.

Sadly, we just do not have time to take care of that now because the passport office took her only original birth certificate for their files as a matter of policy.

The last time she applied to get her birth certificate to some backwater place in the middle of nowhere she asked for two copies but it was all they could do to give her the one copy and that was with all the help that a top guy at the NSO could muster.

We must apply for her birth certificate again. It will take months. And then there is the little thing about marriage. Apparently we must be married, but I think I will have to hover over Daejeon immigration officials for a while to see if that is true.

If we are lucky, maybe Rosi and Charlize can come over to Korea in about 2 months but I'm also going to need a letter of invitation from my University with Rosi's and Charlize's names on it.

If it turns out that we must be married, then there is no chance that they can come over before July or August when I have my next vacation. To add to my worries about this it sounds like there is a great shakeup amongst the schools and Universities in Asan so I may not get to teach at the High School I had planned on working at, the one with the sweet computer lab with an overhead projector and 6 work group stations.

Such is always the way of things. I finally got into the Korean embassy this morning to apply for my E2 Visa. I was there yesterday afternoon, which was as quick as I could muster myself from Kalibo, but they don't accept applications in the afternoons they only allow you to pick up your visa at that time.

As I suspected my Visa won't be ready until the afternoon of the 16th of February so there is no way I can fly to Korea on my 14:25 flight on the same day. Luckily, I was able to reschedule my flight to the 23rd, it was either this date or March 2nd which would put me in breach of my contract with the University -- my starting date being March 1st.

I still have no word as to whether I can retain the apartment I've been sharing with Gavin and Susie or if I need to move onto campus into one of the dorm rooms that they provide for staff. If the latter is the case I guess it wouldn't be so bad as I can search out a 1 bedroom apartment in the area around the University and the Uni will shoulder the costs. If the former, I get to keep on living with my friends who I take much too much for granted.

If I had to choose I guess I would go for the one bedroom. The only time I've ever lived alone was the one year I lived in Hungary and I remember it being a wonderful time. I didn't have a TV or a telephone and I've never been such a good student as I was then. Honestly, I had nothing else to do in my spare time than study Hungarian and it paid off well as I managed to learn that beautiful language.

Now, I guess I'll blow as I only have about one more week to bask in my daughter's sweet smiles.

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