Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on the Possibility of Living in Korea

The possibility of me living and working in Korea is still uncertain.  What is certain is that, upon reception of the visa, I have a job waiting for me in Gwangju, a city comparable in population to Philadelphia/San Antonio/Pheonix.  I now have a visa number, which is a miracle.  In order to obtain an E2 visa to teach english in Korea, a clean FBI background check is required.  An arrest on my record would definitely be a hinderance.  It is common knowledge to those who are applying for jobs in Korea that such an infraction would eliminate any possibility of obtaining a visa.

I was referred to Dan Henrickson by a friend who has recently taught in Korea, Brenna.  Dan runs a recruiting service,  I informed him of the arrest from the beginning, and he replied with, "normally you wouldn't have a chance, but I think we can get you in."  Why would I be an exception?  Is it because I am half Korean?  Does Dan have that much pull?  Is the demand for english speaking teachers that high?  

Lately in my readings, I have been studying the miracles of Jesus in the book of Matthew.  He healed the little girl who was thought to be dead, calmed the storm while in a boat with the disciples, healed the blind, made the lame man walk, and drove out numerous demons.  With that in mind, I prayed that the same Jesus would perform a miracle in me, and heal me of my past, so that it would not be a hinderance to completing the will that he has for my life.  If living and working in Korea is in that will, than so be it.  I really hope that I am able to obtain that E2 visa to teach in Korea.

Upon acceptance of the Job in Gwangju, I was required to send numerous documents to my possible boss, Mr. Ryu, among those required documents being the FBI background check with the arrest on record.  I was apprehensive of the uncertainty.  I knew that getting the approval from the folks at immigration in Korea would be the biggest hurdle of the process.  On a random morning, I received an email from Mr. Ryu, explaining that immigration wanted an official document detailing the arrest, and all fulfilled obligations.  As soon as I was able, I drove to New Orleans Traffic Court on Broad St., and was pleasantly surprised at how painless the process of obtaining an official notarized copy of the records was.  It took less than ten minutes.  And anybody who knows anything about New Orleans knows that such efficiency is not the norm.  I then scanned and emailed the documents to Dan and Mr. Ryu, and proceeded to wait an indefinite amount of time for an answer.  Those who know me know that I am a relatively laid back person.  So imagine my inner elation when I received the email from Mr. Ryu stating that he was able to obtain my visa number.

At the moment, I have sent all of the required documents, including the recently obtained visa number to the Korean Consulate in Houston.  Once those documents process, an interview will be scheduled.  Upon completion of that interview, I will have a definite answer on whether or not I will go.  The one thing I am worried about is on the interview form, I had to check "yes" to the question, "Have you ever been arrested...?"  Once again, I am apprehensive about the the uncertainty.

My friends growing up have mostly been white.  I was popular in high school because I played football.  In college, I did what a lot of people at that age do, and spent a lot of my time at LSU trashed, and contemplating solutions to all the problems concerning LSU football.  Growing up, I have been around Koreans, but they were not my peers.  They were aunts, uncles, and friends of my mom.  But the older I get, the more proud and curious I have become of my Korean heritage.  I enjoy korean movies.  I am attracted to Korean women.  (Kim Tae Hee is hands down the most beautiful woman in the world.)  I have become more adventurous in my sampling of Korean cuisine, and find that I really enjoy it.  However, I am not crazy about K-pop, and probably never will be, but that is an exception.  With that being said, I really hope the people at the Korean Consulate show me favor, and let me in.  It's in God's hands, not mine.

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