The End of a Long Journey

After some six months of fretting, the whole ghastly process of renewal is finally over. All of the required documents were submitted and this week, the Immigration Office returned my passport with the new visa stamped, plus my renewed Alien ID Card.

Now for the future . . .

So there you have it, folks; the process is finished and I am in Korea for a sixth year. The Boss has given me a pay rise, offered me a new (bigger) apartment closer to the school and full payment of all outstanding annual bonuses (which in fact he does not have to do automatically if he doesn't want to, because under Korean Employment Law, the Boss of a company can withhold bonus payments until the employee actually leaves, although they are required to cough up eventually).

No-one could be more surprised than myself to discover that they are still here after all this time. I had so much trouble in Taiwan . . . I seriously expected that I would be thrown out of Korea within three months, the trouble I had experienced previously was so great. But I'm still here, and in fact, with the departure of long-serving Korean teacher Ha Na Young to get married (I know because I was there at the time), I was left as the longest serving member of staff remaining, barring the Boss, of course.

But the stress is now over. I have felt so relieved that I have even been spending on my credit card up at the boozer, and let me tell you, it really takes something to make me do that! I had a wonderful time last night talking with friends and destroying a completely new (delivered while I was there, because I went straight to the pub after shopping – for a blood pressure monitor!) bottle of Cointreau. This was something which they – Bon-eun and Matthew, who got married last year – had never tried before. They liked it so much that we finished one bottle and had to start on another; but as I said to them, the problem with most pubs is that what you are offered to drink is cheap and horrible. I haven't drunk Korean beer in ages because – like so many mass-produced things – they are so instantly forgettable. So I switched to Cointreau and tonic with ice. Very bad for the waistline, but beautiful to drink!

Anyway, no extended diatribe this time. The stress is over.

Now all I have to worry about is the Summer School . . . d'oh!


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