Finishing the Grueling Paperwork:

So if you have read any of my previous posts about applying, you know that this hasn't been the easiest process, to say the least. My life has become a constant example of Murphy's Law but against all odds, I have successfully arrived here in Korea and will be starting work on Monday! But I'll get to that later.

After my whole "setback" that I wrote about before (getting put behind 6 weeks because my fingerprints for my FBI criminal background check were "too low of quality") I got my fingerprint done again at the police station (WAY more legit). I sent my prints back to the FBI and included a handwritten letter begging whoever read it to PLEASE try to process them as quickly as possible and that my job and essentially, future, depended on it. So maybe the FBI happened to be in their slow season or something, but I'd like to think that someone had a heart and sped the process up a bit because 3 weeks later, my background check was in the mail! 

So long story short, I emailed my agency, Footprints, telling them that I had all my documents and that I could pretty much start as soon as possible if a position became available - and what do you know, the next day, they emailed me back saying that there was a position in the same group as Nate (by the way, Nate was all set to go & would be leaving mid February to do orientation and then start teaching on March 4th).

Moral of the story? Stay hopeful and positive that things can turn around because it's always possible! Granted, I spent a good amount of time sulking and wallowing because I thought I hit a dead end - but I at least continued with the entire application process and it ended up working out! So thank you to my mystery hero at the FBI who helped me, you're a LIFESAVER!

So here it is future English teachers, EVERYTHING you'll need in order to get your visa and finally board that plane to your next adventure:
    Click HERE to be redirected to my new site - First For Everything - for information on all documents needed, booking a flight and packing. 

A Few Things I Miss AlreadY:

  • Target - mainly the overall concept of going to one, single store and purchasing everything you will EVER need. 
  • Vegetables - I don't know if it's not in season right now or WHAT, but the vegetables here are limited.
  • ANYTHING IN ENGLISH: Imagine going to a completely different city with no car, no map, no internet and essentially, no CLUE, whatsoever. One can use their basic instincts and common sense to navigate the town and find a shopping outlet or bar. Or you know, they can ask a nice-enough looking civilian for directions. Here in my new home, barely anybody speaks a lick of English and there are a lot LESS signs and words overall in my native language than I had hoped for. It has been an adventure in itself trying to figure out public transportation and interpret these crazy hieroglyphics to find a store that sells a curling iron (which has been unsuccessful, by the way). 
  • Internet on the Reg - need I say more?
  • Soft Mattresses - Apparently, Koreans enjoy sleeping on stiff boards (with no fitted sheets).
  • & of course, my Friends & Family. Miss & love you all! 
 
As my month-long holiday is coming to an end, I find it ironic how I take a vacation from my vacation (Australia) at HOME. But more than that, I realize how incredibly LUCKY I am to be able to do so - that my "home" is a vacation.

Granted, Sacramento isn't the biggest tourist destination (ha), but that's my original home and I will always always ALWAYS love it dearly. I got to be in one of my oldest friend's wedding, spend time with my family and play with my nephews that are growing all too fast (reality check, or should I say a slap in the face by reality: when they're around 20 years old, I will be 40!! FORTY!!). Anyway, I got lots of good family time in and got to see some old friends as well, which is always nice. I absolutely LOVE summer days in Sacramento consisting of BBQing, swimming, going to the lake and ending with the most amazing warm summer nights!
I was back and forth from San Diego to Sacramento a total of 3 times. That's three 8-hour drives & one flight. I didn't originally intend on going back and forth so many times, it just kinda happened. When I first arrived back in the States - 

OH and can we first talk about how I was reeeal reluctant to go back, BTW? I may or may not have been a little careless with my passport the week prior to flying home  so I might have an excuse not to have to go back (sorry America, but I looove Australia and I reallyy wasn't ready to go back to reality)

- I had landed in LA and then took a train to San Diego after hanging out with my mom in the horrible city that is Los Angeles (8 hours in the city really solidified my hatred for this place. From the exasperating traffic, to getting lost in the ghetto - thanks mom! haha - to rude employees at the train station.) After spending the 4th of July in not-so-sunny SD, I drove up to Sac for my high school best friend, Rosy's wedding. I drove up with my friend, Miles, and was close to deciding to just stay in Sac the remainder of my time in The States, until he ended up needing a ride back down to SD. 

My first few days back in SD were kind of a bummer. Everybody was pretty busy working & what not and I spent the weekend mostly by myself. The weather was perfect and I went on bike rides to the beach and ate all of my favorite food - alone. I decided to go back up to Sac early and then of course, my last 2 days in San Diego, everybody was around and reminded me why I love this place so much. It's funny because I was seriously questioning whether or not I ever wanted to move back to San Diego and then did a complete 180 and am now excited to move back here when I return from traveling. I guess loneliness will do that to you.

Anyway, I spent my last couple of days in San Diego wishing I wasn't going back to Sac and wanting to stay there. I had a flight from Sac-LA and then my international flight from LA-Melbs and so I decided last minute to change my Sac-LA flight to Sac-SD so I could spend my last few days back in SD. Talk about last minute plans.

So I made the drive back up to SacTown and spent more quality time with the fam. My dad came into town, which is a kind of rare occasion, so it was nice hanging out with him. And then my mom came up for my sister, Mallory's birthday a few days later and so we had a BBQ with each of them (one perk of your parents not being able to be in the same room as each other = more family events because of having to separate them). So here I am back in Sacramento and you can probably guess what I'm thinking by now - I just want to stay here instead of going back down to SD! (Yes, I sometimes wonder if I am clinically bipolar as well).

I literally thought of every possible way to just stay in Sac and worked out a pretty good plan, but decided last minute to just go back down. So now, I'm in San Diego on my last full day of vacation before heading back to Aussieland (and for some reason I'm inside blogging instead of laying on the beach...hmmmm...). And of course, I'm not completely 100% thrilled on going back (I may or may not have delayed getting my visa to enter back into Australia, at the chance that I may not have to go back). 

Not that I'm not incredibly excited to see Nate, but this trip back and pretty much my entire trip to Australia, has made me realize how much I love my home. How much I love California and honestly, America overall. And I've never been one to be super pro-'Merica. But I love this place - this country - and I love living right by the beach (No - Australia is NOT all beaches like how their propaganda leads us to believe!) I love cheap alcohol you can buy everyyywhere. I've missed my friends and my family so much. I'm LOVING watching the Olympics from America. I miss having a working iPhone (damn you AT&T for making it impossible to use iPhones with foreign sim cards!) I miss driving, In-N-Out, California Burritos, having toilet seat covers in public restrooms, Sacramento water (it tastes amazing! Although I may be a little biased since I grew up there), seeing all American sports on TV, driving on the RIGHT side of the street and the rest of the familiarities of home.

So as much as it seems like all I've done is whine and complain about where I am or where I'm going, from all of this, I've come to really appreciate so many things - everything really. Not only am I blessed to be able to travel to all of these places - my homes included - but they're all so amazing that whenever I arrive at each one, I don't want to leave. 
Overall, I had an amazing time catching up with old friends - one of the biggest things I've missed while being away is having a lot of friends. I've made a few good friends in Australia, but most of the friends I made at all have moved back home. I've missed the nights of going out with a big group and then passing out on a friends couch with the pizza guy banging on the door because your drunk friend ordered a pizza and then decided not to wake up when he came to deliver it. I don't miss getting hammered 5 nights a week (well, every so often I might), I just miss making crazy memories with friends. 

I'd love to think that one day I will decide to just live in some exotic city like Nepal or Tuscany or something, but I honestly don't think I could permanently live anywhere but California.
 
Today I’m missing my family extra. It’s Mother’s Day. Well, yesterday was technically Mother’s Day, but today is yesterday in The States. So today is Mother’s Day since that’s where my mom is. And I don’t miss them all so much just because it’s Mother’s Day. They all went to one of my cousin’s wedding yesterday. I was invited, but I obviously couldn’t make it.

I have a ginormous family. That typical huge Filipino family. I really do have the best family though. We would have huge parties all the time, and I mean ALL the time. Every weekend was somebody’s birthday, or somebody was getting baptized or married or there was an anniversary or a Cotillion, which is like a coming-of-age kind of party? Like a Bar Mitzvah except we’re not Jewish haha. And I think it’s when you turn 18. Clearly I didn’t have one myself, but my family has had a bunch.

And so I say that in the past tense because we haven’t really been to one of these parties in….hmmmm perhaps a decade or so? Maybe longer. Since my Lola, or grandma, passed away and my mom and uncles all got in a huge fight. All grown up stuff and I was too young to understand and then it became a soft subject that people didn’t want to discuss, even years later. I want to say it was about money but that seems too petty, right? Like I couldn’t imagine NOT talking to my own sisters because of something as stupid as money. But like I said, it was all grown up stuff that I was too young to understand. And so we stopped making the trek to the Bay Area every weekend because we didn’t speak to half of our family. There’d be some family functions we would still get invited to because my mom was still on good terms with 2 of her brothers (she has 4 older brothers. She’s the baby like me :) And that was literally her nickname, “Baby”). But my sisters and I rarely made appearances because we were busy. Lame excuse, I know.

So anyway, this wedding yesterday was one of the first where we were all invited. And it was from the other side of the family that we “didn’t talk to”. So it was kind of a big deal. Everyone would be there that we haven’t seen in literally years and years. And so my entire [immediate] family went, except Mallory. My mom made up with one of her brothers, which is also a huge deal. It was the bride’s father who she reconnected with, and so I think all it really took was for her to show up to the wedding and he was more than willing to make up with her when she had made the effort to come.

That’s really all it takes. The nice thing about family is that you never really need to say sorry. I guess it’s a good thing to say you’re sorry, but it’s even nicer when you don’t need to. Isn’t there some quote that says “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? I mean, I don’t really think that works so much in “relationships”, but for family, at least MY family, I think it makes perfect sense. Like with my sisters and I, for instance. We can get in a crazy fight over something (usually something fairly stupid) and storm out on each other. An hour later, or even 10 minutes later, if one of us says one nice or even just CIVIL thing, that’s a peace offering. That’s saying, okay I don’t want to fight anymore. And it’s over. We don’t have to say sorry because we know that both of us are already sorry. Just the gesture is enough. And THAT’s what love is. I miss my family.