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.
Well, not so much a jet plane, but leaving on a plane, yes. I am currently 2 hours and 28 minutes from landing. I had waaay too much anxiety to try to write while I was waiting at the airport or even in the beginning of the flight. So now that I have watched 2 ½ movies and slept for a good 8 hours, I’m pretty well rested.
I must admit, Virgin Australia is pretty awesome. I definitely got extremely lucky as well. I have an aisle seat and there’s nobody next to me so I thankfully have a good amount of room to stretch out a bit. We all get little screens in front of us and they have a ton of movie selections. And not even Netflix kind of movie selections (which are always SO awful), but good movies. The seats are relatively comfortable and the food was almost decent. I wasn’t hungry anyway because Nate and I ate Mexican food at the airport (everybody keeps telling me Australia has no Mexican food. I don’t even like Mexican food all that much but knowing I won’t be able to have it semi depresses me).
Anyway, this 16 hour flight hasn’t been all that bad. I was really sad leaving and had a few moments of weaknesses but kept strong for the most part. In reality, it shouldn’t be sad saying goodbye to my family or Nate, but it is. I usually don’t see my family for 5-6 months at a time anyway, and Nate will be coming here in 3 weeks. It was pretty rough saying goodbye to my friends because this is about the time where everybody starts moving away (I suppose myself included) and so I really don’t know who I’ll see ever again. Obviously I’ll stay friends with my closest friends, but that doesn’t mean we’ll see each other even remotely often. So needless to say, I had a good amount of anxiety the last few hours before my departure.
So now that they let me on the plane (I had a small fear that I may have messed up somehow and wouldn’t be allowed on), the next step is finding my driver and getting to my house. I figured out housing through “Burwood Student Living” (BSL) and it was pretty painless. I was trying to figure out housing with this other company for weeks now and they were extremely difficult. I had my spot reserved and everything and they were just impossible to communicate with. Like, okay I’m ready to pay, how do I do it? And their reply every time was just “oh great, just send the money on over before you come”. No details, no help, nothing. So I was really grateful that BSL contacted me and I got it all figured out about 2 days ago.
SOOO, I’m definitely more excited than I am nervous now. About 15 hours ago I was 80% nervous & 20% excited. I’m probably at about 70% excited now.
There's no better place or time to write than when you're sitting at the airport. So here I am. I'm not yet leaving for Australia, but just going back down to San Diego/Vegas/LA for a week until my final departure.
First of all, I should probably mention that I kept a diary for about 13 years until my laptop tragically crashed a little over a year ago, resulting in the loss of about 7 of those years. (Always back your computer up on an external hard drive or a flash drive at the very least!) The remaining years are on actual handwritten diaries or old-school floppy disks. I decided to quit writing after that (dramatic, I know). But it’s pretty discouraging (AKA heartbreaking) when literally hundreds of pages slash my entire high school and college life were erased (this also includes pictures. Thank God for Facebook). But ya, so I've had a few years of experience with writing at airports/on airplanes.
Anyway, it’s always so bittersweet being at airports. Always leaving somewhere behind. I suppose I should be more optimistic and see It as going somewhere, but it always seems more bitter than sweet. I sit here now (which is currently on the plane), leaving Sac until July – which isn’t even that big of a deal because I’ve gone longer without being home or seeing my family. It’s just weird now that I’ll be living in a different country, even further away from my adorable nephews and the rest of my amazing family. My nephews are all getting so big, it’s crazy! When I get back they’ll probably be twice the size they are now.
NorCal was good while it lasted. Went to a Kings/Warriors game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, which was fun – minus the Kings losing (PS, how am I going to watch basketball in Australia?!!). Hung around the bay for a couple days visiting Nate’s family and then came to Sac about a week ago. Jumped around my sisters houses and got to spend some quality time with the family. I feel like I’m getting pretty good at this packing light (well trying to) and constantly moving thing because we changed houses every 2 days at least.
So now I’m heading back to San Diego right now and then I’ll be leaving for Vegas on Friday until Sunday. Monday I’m having my going away/birthday dinner with my friends. I hate goodbyes because I’m definitely not the emotional type and basically just get really awkward and uncomfortable in those situations. It’ll just be weird because I’m not sure if I’ll be moving back to San Diego, ever really. I mean, I obviously wouldn’t mind and if I didn’t have any other plans, I might as well (there or back to Sac). But my goal is to keep traveling and moving around. Hopefully Nate or I (or both of us would be nice) get a good job somewhere and can move to a different country or even stay in Australia. That’s the plan for now, but who knows – things always change.
OH & I added another thing to my bucket list. My old dance coach Kristin convinced me to go to this hip hop dance class last night and so I went. Almost forgot how much I love dancing. Or how good it feels. (Or how out of shape I am). So I’m determined to find a studio or somewhere in Australia to take dance classes. It definitely filled a void I didn’t even realize I had.
So hopefully all of my blog entries aren’t this long. I realize I should probably be trying to cut them short to keep my audience’s attention. But it’s so hard to condense everything I want to say. I guess I’m a little too used to doing the whole diary thing where I would write pages and pages about my entire life. So I’ll work on making it short and sweet. Til the next airport I arrive at!
As I leave San Diego, I can't help but reminisce about the last 5 years I've spent here. I remember being your typical scared, little Freshman, trying so hard to fit in but just wishing I was back home. Then finally getting the hang of it after meeting my still-now-best-friends, joining Gamma Phi and just getting over the homesickness. (Mainly due to things not working out with the boy back home. Which, of course, always seems to work out for the best.) But whatever gives you that extra push, right?
I spent the rest of the 4 years - yes I'm a proud five-year student - making plenty of mistakes, moving far too many times, having WAY too many different jobs, and trying to figure out my life. Which, I definitely still haven't done yet, but hey - I'm only 22 years YOUNG (23 in a few weeks..which is scary because 23 rounds up to 25, 25 rounds up to 30...scary).
My friends always make fun of me because I've literally had about 12 different jobs all throughout college. From that horrible on-campus call center I started with, to way too many restaurant jobs, with a few random jobs here and there - I've got all kinds of experience :). I always figure, why would I settle for this job I hate if I can just quit and get a new one that I'll hopefully like better? I may sound lazy or irresponsible or unreliable, but honestly, how important was my role as the hostess as the bar downtown? Or even a bartender at another bar downtown? These jobs are NOT going to lead me to my career and to them, I'm replaceable and expendable anyway - as are most of their employees with those types of positions. Let's be real, even if I was the star server at one of the many restaurants/hotels I've worked at, it's not like they won't ever be able to function without me. And I definitely can function without any of these jobs as well. If I go to work miserable, then yes, I'll do something about it (i.e. quit) because we all have choices in life and I don't intend on staying somewhere just because I feel stuck.
This obviously goes for life as well. I don't want to stay in my comfort zone and perhaps get a mediocre "big kid job" once I graduate. I know that there is so much out there in the world and I don't intend on letting the opportunity to go explore it, pass me by. Like I said before, when else will I be able to pick up, drop everything and travel? This is the perfect opportunity. I love San Diego and I will miss it dearly, but it's time to move on and hey, maybe one day I'll come back :)