Monday, July 22, 2013


가자 means Let's Go! in Korean, which I think is an apt phrase, since I have less than 1 month left until my departure for South Korea. It's incredibly scary, but it's also so, so exciting! Things have started to fall into place, and while I am still nervous, the excitement is starting to take over. My friend Veronica studied abroad in Japan and is applying to the Peace Corps, so we always have lots to talk about! It's nice to get advice from someone who has lived in Asia, and it's nice to chat with someone in my hometown that's planning on doing something similar.

As I said, things are falling into place: My visa arrived quite swiftly (thanks express mail!), and though it looks quite different from my other ones (ie, it has no photo), it's still super cool that I have 3 visas for living in 3 different countries before I'm 25. My final documents arrived safely in Korea, and today I went and got a consultation at the travel clinic, which turned out better than I thought- only 1 shot (hep A, which I need another one later but whatever) and some pills for Typhoid. It cost a bit and my insurance doesn't cover it, but better to be safe than sorry. The counselor wasn't worried about me getting the other ones like Japanese Encephalitis or rabies, as long as I'm careful and don't spend extended periods of time on pig farms or getting bit by monkeys I guess. Lastly, my plane ticket is booked! The only one I got arriving at a good time was a 7 am flight to Chicago with a 4 hour layover to a direct (14 hour, YIKES) flight to Seoul, but there's at least 6 or 7 other people on the same flight, which is really comforting and will be really fun! I'm excited to start meeting other people on the program!

I've also been slowly assembling necessities for the trip, like clothes that cover my tattoo and cleavage (since cleavage is a big no-no), new shoes, water bottles with filters (I've heard conflicting reports on the water and also got advice from Ronnie about the lack of water at restaurants for dinner), and some new shoes.

Now that my documents are prepped, my visa is here and my flight is booked, all that's really left for me to do is assemble the other basics that I want to bring and pack. This week is definitely crazy, as I still have a couple of doctors to go to, like the eye doctor and the lady doctor, plus a full 35+ hour work week, but I only have 7 shifts left at BK (most likely my last 7 shifts EVER, but I never say never and I don't want to burn that bridge in case something happens). Then I'm going to see Casey in her show, Cinderella, and then I have to get ready for my cousin Katya's wedding! 2 weeks later, I'll be on a plane to Seoul!!!

In my little downtime, I will be spending time with my grandpa, who is visiting till the wedding, as well as watching City Hunter (a kdrama) with my dad, and trying to study some Korean, since mine is still nonexistent. Still not sure if I'm gonna vlog about my trip, it seems like a lot of people do and it might be fun. We shall see, I guess!

I have like 25 days to go. OMG!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Get stuff done day, Ren Fest and Les Mis.

What a whirlwind day I had Friday. Woke up early to finalize my visa app documents, cause I’m a worrier, when I went to get the mail for my mom. Lo and behold, my degree apostille was sitting in the mailbox! Phew! I was a little worried about that one, since New York has a complex process.
So I finish putting my documents together, and literally my mom and I are about to leave when the traveler clinic called, so i finally got my vaccination appointment in a week. So now I am on a roll so we go to make copies, go to ups and mail my last few documents to Korea (finally), and run over to the post office to mail my visa application (after checking it two more times!).
Mind you, this all happened in a span of about 2.5 hours, so it was a hectic but super successful day. All of my documents are sent out and out of my hands, all of my appointments are made, and I even had time to book my flight. It cost me a pretty penny, but my bk paycheck pretty much covered the fees so I’m feeling good.
The next day was Ren Fest Day, which is arguably my favorite day of the summer. I was briefly hypnotized (which is SUPER WEIRD FEELING) and I got my tarot cards read, was a pretty mixed bag. He basically told me to be careful in Korea cause it's completely new and I might not be totally prepared for how different and unexpected it was, but also that it could be an amazing new start for me, especially romantically, which sounds pretty nice. The guy said I needed to actually sit down with myself and figure out what I actually want out of life and such, which is scary but also kind of makes sense soooo... I try not to put too much stock in pyschic readings from a Renaissance festival, but at the same time, they've all been pretty consistent and promising (for instance, on two separate occasions have I been told that my partnership will be strong and bring financial security- I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope really hard for that to be true!) But I think before I go to Korea I really should sit down and make a general plan for life after my gap year(s).
Today I hung around the house, started cleaning up the house since my grandpa may be coming back to live with us (maybe, we don't know yet...) and then Cesca and I went to see a local theater production of Les Mis, which was AWESOME. I always nitpick about shows (don't worry, I even do it for every Phantom performance I see) and there were some little things and choices I wasn't totally on board with, but overall it was AMAZING. Such a strong cast and crew, with a much better Cosette and a much better Bring Him Home than the recent movie version, among other just general awesomeness. And old high school friend was Marius, and he was incredible. It was a lot of fun to see a show at a local theater, since I haven't been in a while.

Yikes. Flight is booked, visa will (hopefully!) be on its way soon, my documents should all be in Korea, Ren Fest has come and gone, and I'm starting to learn the very basics of Korean. And I mean BASICS. But hey, anything is a start, right? I only have about a dozen shifts left at BK, and still so much to do!!! Aaaaah. With just over 1 month in the country, things are starting to fall into place, which is a little overwhelming in a different way! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Caught the Fedex guy this morning so I could get my NOA and visa stuff, cause I was at the dentist yesterday when he came by and I was really sad I missed it! Dad and I were pulling out of the driveway as he turned down the road (had to go get a blood test, my first. Weird) and so I had to jump out of the car to get it. After a not so bad blood test and some breakfast, I opened the packet to look at it.

I tend to panic and frantically email and ask questions and then once I reread everything I realize I was fine, but whatever. Shout out to Janelle on the EPIK group for being super helpful to me and everyone else applying! You’re awesome!!!

So right now I think I have everything all set for my visa- I have my passport, visa photos, the application, my contract, my NOA and a copy of it, and my transcript… I think that’s everything I need… All I need to do is go to the post office tomorrow and get the money order and send it! Exciting!!

I don’t really like mailing my passport, even though I’ve done it twice before (once for the UK and once for Italy), it’s nerve wracking, but I think it will be ok. It’s always for a great reason so I guess it’s worth it.

I’m more worried right now about the NY Department of State getting my degree apostille back to me. I’m so close to having all the documents ready for this trip! The vaccines, however, are another story. The travel clinic is taking FOREVER in getting back to me!!!

I’m going to try and put all of this out of my mind for a bit and relax, maybe watch some K-dramas, and just try and breath. I can’t believe I will be leaving in a little over a month! Time to look at flights for real this time!! 

Also I have no idea why my blog is being so dumb about this post. Ugh.