A Year Ago.

I’m feeling a bit reflective today after failing at yet another Skype date with my MayMay and just missing my lovers back home….or rather in the States because practically no one lives at what I call HOME anymore.  Sad face.

A year feels like such a long time, but I’ve come to realize shit flies by! A year ago last month I was “let go” from my jail sentence of a job that I thought I had really really wanted, filed for unemployment and was almost denied it by the prison warden, then high-tailed out of LALA with Brianne on a 2 week cross-country road trip to New Orleans for that disgusting, festive, boob-baring celebration called Mardi Gras, so we could both check that off our bucket lists and have an amazing excuse to belt out “Born This Way.” Leaving that job and going on that trip was probably the best transitional thing to ever happen to me.  Some highlights of this journey included:

Falling off a seesaw and knocking the wind out of myself.

Rejuvenating a long-time friendship that had wanted reconnecting for a really long time.

Kissing a plastic frog beaded necklace and thinking I met a prince (who turned out to be a toad)….but I believe I met for a reason.

The reason being Korea. Had we not met, hit it off ridiculously well and then decided to go together on a whim, I really don’t know if I actually woulda grown the balls to pick up and move across the world 5 months later.  Well that relationship crashed and burned, but the plans did not.  We both made it to Korea but on our own devices.

He doesn’t play a part in my life these days (thank god), except for the random “I’m in Seoul” texts every now and then, but I am grateful for having met him. It’s not often you meet someone who you click with and find that you both want a lot of the same things out of life.  That was a freakin year ago.  Seems like it was just yesterday.

It’s also been a year since the first of my LA lovers picked up and became NYC transplants. Jeanette and Kayla (and then Sammy) moved almost a year ago, and this time last year we were “celebrating” their goodbyes 😦

I think I just really miss all you bitches back home and wish I could be better with time zones and realize the time we set Skype dates for, but I’m sorry for my epic fails.  Erg. But more importantly, I was just thinking about how so much growth and change can happen in one year and how you don’t even really realize it til it’s happened. A year ago I decided to get serious about moving abroad for one year, and now I’m starting my second semester of school and getting ready to renew for another year. I’ve traveled far more than I thought I would in  a year, met a lot of super interesting people, some annoying as fuck people, dated some ratards, and realized the difference between what I used to look for in a person and what I want now – the complete opposite and something much more.

That’s really it.  I spent the morning Skyping with Sista and Presley (and my mom via speakerphone), found out Brotha had his head stapled last night after falling and drinking too much (but he’s ok, thank god), and looking at old videos of the Baller dancing which bring an eternal smile to my face.

Now I’m just sitting in a cute little cafe with a sleeping Mandu and his teddy bear beside me.

Also, a year later history repeated itself.  I had another epic tumble. This time I was also completely 100% sober and just couldn’t master one-foot-in-front-of-the-other.

 

 

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I’m Going to Seoul!!!

It doesn’t get any more official than this! Well, aside from me actually sitting on the plane, but you know what I mean! I have received my DHL tracking number for my contract and NoA and should have that in my hands within the next week. Once I get that then it’s off to the Korean consulate to get my visa put in my passport! My very first visa and I could not be happier!

This has for sure been a long road, and I’m so glad that I’m finally taking it.  After years of wanting to live abroad I’ve finally grown the balls to just go. Never thought it would be to Asia, but the unlikeliness is probably what makes it so much better.  I’m going to give a little breakdown below of time and money that has gone into this whole sitch, because it’s been a long time in the making….

  • November/December, 2010 – Miserable at new shitty job and begin concocting my escape route.  At this point I only wanted to go to Italy or Spain, but was set on the English teacher route.  Spoke to a couple TEFL providers, asked questions, got answers….
  • February, 2011 – Got myself “let go” from shitty job and begin collecting unemployment and focusing on figuring my new life plan abroad out.
  • March, 2011 – Went on road trip to New Orleans, met boy, decided we’d go move abroad together to teach English. Went to Police station to get fingerprinted for my Criminal Background Check. Total: $8.00 for fingerprints, $54.00 for 3 CBCs.
  • April, 2011 – Boy comes to visit and we applied to KorVia Consulting (recruiting agency). Had a wonderful interview with my recruiter, Dia Kim, on April 17th. I later ditch stupid boy because he is lying scumbag and I’m better off on my own. Purchased and began TEFL certification course. Total: $190.00 for TEFL course.
  • May 2011 – Collected 2 letters of rec and completed lengthy EPIK application plus Seoul lesson plan, and submitted to KorVia on May 6th.  Have EPIK interview with cute little Korea man on May 23rd and found out I passed a few days later.  Received CBC back from FBI (finally), sent to Department of State for Apostille, and sent BA Degree to CA Secretary of State for Apostille. Degree took 5 days, CBC took about 6 weeks. Oh, and I forgot to include a check to the SoS, but they still processed anyways 🙂 Total: $24.00 for CBC, $40.00 for Degree (including notarization).
  • June, 2011 – Finished TEFL course, took test from hell and PASSED! Received my certificate a couple weeks later.  FedEx’d all EPIK docs to KorVia on June 13th, and in EPIK’s hands June 16th. Total: $54.00 for FedEx 3 day!
  • July, 2011 – On July 15th Dia told me my documents passed final review stage and I had been placed!! On July 18th I found out I was placed in Seoul and that my NoA (notice of appointment for consulate/visa) is in the mail!!!  I should receive that along with my contract within the next week after which I will go to the Korean consulate for my E-2 visa (English teacher visa). I will then book my flight!!! Total: $45.00 for visa, ~$800.00 for flight (I get reimbursed).
  • August, 2011 – I will most likely be departing on August 15th, yikes!!!

GRAND TOTAL: $415.00 + $800.00 ~ $1,215.00

(This total does not include shipping costs to/from FBI, State Department and Secretary of State)

I also still need to complete my Tax Exemption form with the IRS which is another $35.00.

IT’S HAPPENING!!!

For Good Luck…Panic

It’s become this weird little trick I’ve had on myself, but I’ve noticed that throughout this whole process, anytime I have a mini freak out about getting a document back (my criminal background check) or passing my TEFL exam, I send out some message into the universe asking advice or just merely expressing my state of panic.  Usually to the EPIK Facebook group.  Well, last night I sent Dia, my recruiter, an email just asking for an update since last we spoke she told me I’d probably hear in 1-2 weeks…and that was over 1 week ago.  Well…look what silly me woke up to….. 🙂

 

What a coincidence  !!!!!!!!!!

I was writing you the e-mail but you sent me the e-mail early!!!!

So I’m writing e-mail to you again!! Hehehehe

I know you must be very frustrating to wait for the news~~~

So I finally update you the news…………..anyway, I got little news about you from EPIK office.

They said that………………………………………….

 

 

Yes, you will finally get NOA from EPIK office!!

Your documents finally pass all step!!!! J

Congratulations~~~~

I can send your NOA and contract form next week and you will may receive them beginning of August!

Once again, Congratulations~

Now you will ready to get visa stamp at Korean consulate then.

After you get visa stamp on your passport, you will buy flight ticket to Korea too!!

First of all, Kovia will informing you when we send your NOA then! (We are waiting for NOA now)

 

Once again, Congratulations~

Talk to you soon then.

Happy now~?!?! Hahaha (I’m happy with you!!! 🙂 )

 

Dia is soooo sweet! I love her little breaks between giving me good news in her emails. But YAY! My only little issue is that she said EPIK office, not SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education). I’m assuming I got Seoul because that’s what we’ve been saying all along, but I emailed her back just in case to ask, but of course I won’t hear til Monday because it’s their weekend now. OH WELL! At least I know I PASSED!!!!!

NOW….time to rejoice in 2 amazing things, going to S. Korea and Kendra and Justin’s wedding!!!!

I’m certified!

8 days after taking the test from hell (well, grammar hell at least) I can finally put my nerves to rest and update my resume with “TEFL certified”!!!! YAY! I am so happy, and I can now officially be placed in Seoul if all goes the way I hope! Keep crossing fingers!

For those who are like “huh? what is TEFL?” it’s a certification that says I am qualified to Teach English as a Foreign Language. In order to teach in Seoul, and virtually anywhere else around the globe, you need to be certified at least 100 hours, which is what I got.  I just completed the course online through ITTT at my own pace and then took a final exam.  Once you pass, it’s recognized worldwide.  That means that after completing a year in S. Korea I can go anywhere else I’d like! S. Korea is interesting though in the fact that you only need to be TEFL certified to teach in Seoul since it’s the capital and so competitive.  You can secure a job anywhere else in the country without being TEFL certified, you just won’t get that pay bump.  So, instead of making 2.0 million Won per month, I will now be making 2.1 million Won, which is the equivalent of $1,948.52 USD a month as of right now on xe.com.

Now I just wait to get my certificate in the mail, which they say will take about 2-3 weeks since it’s mailed from Thailand…wawaweewa!   I’ll post a picture of my certificate to show off once I get it 🙂

I’m soooo happy, now I can officially go to Vegas this weekend and LET LOOSE!!!

Playing the waiting game

So I don’t think I mentioned it on here, but I definitely expressed my mini-freak out to many people over my apostilled Criminal Background Check. And I’m sure many of you reading this have no clue what an apostille is, because frankly neither did I before this whole process. Here’s a lil breakdown….

I sent off my fingerprints to the FBI in West Virginia for the criminal background check (CBC) back in March, and got those results back (clean as a whistle!) on May 3rd. You would think that just getting that check would be enough, but NO, you are required to send back your results to the State Department in DC for them to be apostilled, which is authenticating your document. In a nutshell: IF you are going to work in a country that has signed the Hague agreement then you have to get your documents apostilled – so your degree and CBC. This basically says that your documents are authentic and will be recognized abroad.

Well, about my freak out! I forgot to pay the $24 to get my 3 CBCs apostilled and I didn’t realize I had to pay until the govt had them for a month! I freaked out, paniced out of my mind and cursed myself for being so stupid, and called the govt about 50x only to leave a million messages on several different voicemails. GRRR! BUT, my faith in the govt was restored when on Monday I received all 3 back in the mail beautifully apostilled! They also sent me a letter with it saying something to the effect of “you didn’t submit payment but we didn’t want to delay your process so went ahead and processed anyways. Please submit $24 at your earliest convenience.” Sweet sweet government authorities, how i heart you ❤

So that same day I immediately slid the apostilled CBC into my already organized package and FedEx'd that ish off to my lovely recruiter, Dia, in Seoul. They ended up getting to here by Wednesday, which was a day early (phew!) and she sent them off to the EPIK office (EPIK – English Program in Korea – the program I'm going to teach through). Now I just play the waiting game and see if I end up getting placed in Seoul as I had been pre-assigned.

On another note, I'm also hoping that I passed my TEFL test. That shit was HARD! It turned out being a total of 25 pages and it literally took me all day because I gave myself mental breaks and a big break to go Zumba. I was delirious the whole next day because once I finished and sent the damn test off at 3am I couldn't get back to sleep. Not until about 7am, after which I slept for a mere 3 hrs. erggg

All I can do now is wait wait wait….and cross them fingas!

And so it begins…

Hey everyone! Welcome welcome to my blog! I’m really excited to write to the world about my new life journey.  In  2.5 months I will be moving to South Korea to be an English teacher. As of right now, I’ve been pre-assigned to Seoul, which I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of getting.  I’ve been told it’s near impossible as a new teacher with no teaching experience to be placed there.  I must have seriously rocked my interview.  Thank you little asian man!

So, I’ll bore you with a brief timeline, and where I’m at right now with the whole process.  As many of you know, I’ve always wanted to find a way to travel and get paid to do it.  Hence, teaching English abroad seemed like the perfect opportunity.  After all, I can work on my patience level, make a difference in lives and get paid to gallavant around the world!  I explored this idea about 4 years ago, but then I got that sweet job working for JLo.  I didn’t really think about it much again until I’d say this past November/December when I was stuck in another awful job and wanted desperately to escape.  I started doing some research again and decided I wanted to go to Italy.  As I explored more I learned that Asian countries are far more easier for first time teachers to secure jobs – so I looked into Japan (then the tsunami happened), China didn’t appeal to me too much, and Thailand has pretty shitty pay and I need to save save save.  Then I delved into S. Korea where I learned that they pay for pretty much everything and you get a fairly high salary,  and it’s the perfect destination to go to if you want to save and pay off debts. DING DING DING.  Not to mention, I’ve talked to several friends of friends who are in S. Korea and absolutely LOVE it there.  So, that’s how I decided, and frankly I’m super excited about this decision.  Along the way I had also planned to go with a minute-boyfriend that I met in New Orleans.  We began the whole process together and it was actually wonderful having someone to help keep you on track.  But then that fizzled and I have continued to carry on my way 🙂 Stupid boys ain’t gon’ bring me down 😉

Anyways!  I’m currently working with my recruiter, Dia Kim at KorVia Consulting, who is wonderful and so sweet. She’s my go-to person and has been so helpful in getting the process going. She set up my interview with EPIK (the program I will be going to Korea and working for), and was so happy for me when I passed the interview.  Right now I’m just waiting to get my Criminal Background Check back from the State Department with an Apostille, which is a form of certification on a document.  I’m crossing my fingers I get it back this week because the EPIK program is first come first serve.

So, I passed my interview and I’m waiting to send off my documents.  In the meantime I’m also getting TEFL certified (grammar, yay!).  Once I send my documents off, the EPIK office will review them, and once they verify all of those, I should get my NoA (Notice of Appointment) so I can go get a visa from the Korean consulate.  OMG I can’t WAIT to have a visa in my passport!! 🙂

I plan on updating my blog every step of the way, and of course once I’m living abroad in South Korea, so please keep coming back for more tales of a Jew in the Orient. I promise it’ll be fun times! 🙂