Planning for Holidays

11 Jul

With term coming to an end in less than 2 weeks, our spirits are beginning to lift as we eagerly plan for our upcoming Adventure.We have 8 days leave which we have divided into 1 week in China and 1 week in England, for a friend’s wedding.

The strange thing about Korean ‘school’ holidays is that they really aren’t holidays. In theory, the school is on vacation for 3 and a half weeks. Yet, my students continue to come to school for classes from 8 until 1. They then spend the afternoon in self study and are free to go home at 6pm. What kind of holiday is that? I will be teaching one lesson a day for students who choose to take my class which is quite refreshing since I will have 20 students who actually want to be there.

On a personal note, Baden and I have been preparing for our week in Beijing and then a week in UK. We feel truely blessed that our schools gave us time away to attend the wedding outside of the school vacation since we’ve heard stories of schools being particularly strict about special leave. In the last few days Baden and I have really reflected on God’s favour in our lives. We have been blessed with easy work loads and generally pleasant students. We both have lovely co teachers who are generous, caring and gracious and we’ve been blessed by our principals who are kind and interested in our lives. 6 months in and we are feeling God’s hand over our lives very clearly.

That said, we’ve had to work for our pleasure! I went through a travel agency to organise our China visas – although it cost a fortune. After a quick google search, I printed out a long list of necessary documents to submit when applying for the visa. I popped into the travel agency which I’ve been using (since there’s the loveliest English speaking tour agent there) and asked if she could organise the visas. She didn’t need my flight details, my accomodation booking, my bank statements or my letter from school which I had intended to submit. She took my passports, told me I could pay later and within a week our visas were back in Yeongju with the visa. Talk about efficiency.

The UK visa has been considerably more challenging. The only way to apply for a UK visa is to appear at the application centre in Seoul for an interview. They are only open from Monday to Friday so it was impossible to attend the interview without taking official leave. My school was so gracious, letting me go “in the morning” so I didn’t have to take a day’s leave or unpaid leave – even though I didn’t return to school in the afternoon. Baden’s school has taken it off one of his day’s leave. We woke at 5.15am and aided with wods of cash and a thick bag of documents, we got to the bus station at 6 and waited in the queue to buy a ticket for the 6.15 bus. A young man only two people ahead of us, bought the last ticket which meant we had to wait 30 minutes before the next bus, feeling anxious that we were going to miss our 10am appointment. When we eventually arrived in Seoul 2.45hours later, we subway-ed our way to the British Embassy where we arrived exactly at 10am. Rather proud of ourselves, we told the security guard that we were there to apply for our visa. He then told us we had come to the wrong place; he pulled out a map and sent us walking up the hill to the Visa application centre. We arrived 13 minutes late but the queue was so long I don’t think anyone noticed. 3 hours later, after a rigious document scanning, finger prints and photographs, we left with less documents and a tracking number.  (Plus 6 illegal photo booth id pictures of Baden and I pulling faces – we needed something to remember this experience by!)

We are anxiously waiting for our visas. They say most visas take between 3 and 6weeks to process but in 4 weeks we will be flying to Beijing and so we definitely need our passports back. Here’s to faith!


One Response to “Planning for Holidays”

  1. Ann Dowie July 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Hope and trust you have an excellent holiday!

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