I started the New Year very quietly. Unsure where the year is going to take me. I’m scared and excited and anxious and not quite ready.
I bought this domain on April 15, 2002, when I was a freshman in undergraduate school. I was undoubtedly in my dorm room working on my slow HP desktop with the matching bulbous monitor. Not quite sure where my mindset was, but my friend Luke used to call me “fish” and for whatever reason, the nickname stuck and this is the domain name I chose this one fateful night.
This domain has been used for several things and the site has gone through several upheavals in the last nine years. I have even been quoted in the media a few times.
I stopped blogging for several years. I started taking pictures.
I took a picture every day in 2007. I had graduated from undergraduate school, found my first “real” job, and bought a house, among other things.
Again, I took a picture every day in 2009. I was still working that first “real” job, applied for graduate school, got engaged, went to London and Hawaii, among other things.
I went to Korea in 2010, and you can read some of the archives here.
Here I go again, taking a picture every day in 2011. So far the year has been treacherous yet greatly rewarding.
It’s amazing to think about how this journey started.
My parents bought our family a computer (Tandy 3000) when I was very young, starting my love/obsession with technology at a young age. I spent hours designing posters for my room, writing short stories, and playing Airborne Ranger and Police Quest.
Getting dialup on our 28.8K modem in 1997 was obviously a turning point, as I could then connect with people all over the world. I immediately began creating and socializing on the internet beginning with a dinky free webpage, hosted by Expage. I learned more about java and html when I had a website on Angelfire. I bounced around different friends’ domains and hosting until I bought iamafish.org, and have consistently been parked here ever since.
I am not sure what the future holds for this domain, but if you would like to continue to read my updates, please visit my tumblr at StacyLaughs.com.
Please read my tumblr, SteakTeacher, which chronicles my 2010-2011 journey in Busan, South Korea.
To get an E2 work visa in South Korea, you will need to interview with the Korean consulate for your state. Once I had a job in Korea, I sent my employer the requested documents. My employer started the visa paperwork and emailed me my visa number. Once you have a visa issuance number, you can call your Korean consulate to set up an interview.
Check with the consulate what you need to bring!
Please double check with your consulate to verify process and needed documents as it may differ from location to location.
Korean embassy in Atlanta
229 Peachtree st. NE, International Tower Suite 500 Atlanta, GA, 30303
TEL: 404)522-1611,1613 FAX: 404)521-3169
Jurisdiction: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee
Office hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:30~17:00
Korean embassy in New York
460 Park Ave. 57th St. 6th Fl. New York, NY 10022
TEL: 212) 692-9120 FAX: 212) 421-3028
Jurisdiction: Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
Office Hours: 9:30~12:00, 13:30~16:00
Korean embassy in Washington D.C
2450 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008
TEL : 202) 939-5600∼3 FAX : 202) 797-0595
Jurisdiction: Washington D.C ,Virginia, Maryland
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:30~17:30
Korean Consulate General in San Francisco
3500 Clay St. San Francisco, CA 94118
TEL: 415) 921-2251 FAX : 415) 921-5946
Jurisdiction: Colorado, Northern California, Utah, Wyoming
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:00~17:00
Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles
3243 Wiltshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010
TEL: 213) 385-9300 FAX: 213) 385-1849
Jurisdiction: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Southern California
Office Hours: 9:00~16:00
Korean Consulate General in Boston
One Gateway Center 2nd Fl. Newton, MA 02458
TEL: 617) 641-2830 FAX: 617) 641-2831
Jurisdiction: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont
Office Hours: 9:00~17:00
Korean Consulate General in Chicago
NBC Tower Suite 2700, 455 North Cityfront Plaza Dr. Chicago, IL 60611
TEL : 312) 822-9485 FAX : 312) 822-9849
Jurisdiction: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Office Hours: 9:00~17:00
Korean Consulate General in Seattle
2033 6th Ave., #1125 Seattle, WA 98121
TEL: 206) 441-1011 FAX: 206) 441-7912
Jurisdiction: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
Office Hours: 8:30~12:00, 13:00~16:30
Korean Consulate General in Houston
1990 Post Oak Blvd., #1250 Houston, TX 77056
TEL: 713) 961-0186 FAX: 713) 961-3340
Jurisdiction: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:30~16:00
Korean Consulate General in Hawaii
2756 Pali Highway Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
TEL: 808) 595-6109 FAX: 808) 595-3046
Jurisdiction: American Samoa, Hawaii
Office Hours: 8:30~16:00
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Ottawa
150 Boteler Street Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 5A6
TEL : (613)244-5010 FAX : (613)244-5043
Jurisdiction: Ottawa and its metropolitan area
Korean Consulate General in Toronto
555 Avenue Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4V 2J7
TEL : (416)920-3809 FAX : (416)924-7305
Office Hours: 9:00~16:30
Jurisdiction: Ontario and Manitoba (Except for Ottawa metropolitan area)
Korean Consulate General in Montreal
1 Place Ville-Marie, Suite 2015 Montreal, Quebec, H3B 2C4
TEL : (514) 845-2555 FAX : (514)845-1119
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:30~17:00
Jurisdiction: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, Prince Edward Island
Korean Consulates General in Vancouver
1600-1090 West Georgia St. Vancouver, BC V6E 3V7
TEL: 604-681-9581 FAX: 604-681-4864
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:00~16:30
Jurisdiction: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territories, Northwest Territories.
Korean Consulates in United Kingdom
60 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AJ, United Kingdom
TEL : 44 – (0)20 – 7227-5500 FAX : 44 – (0)20 – 7227-5503
Office Hours: 10:00~12:00, 14:00~16:00
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Dublin
15 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
TEL : (353)1-660-8800 FAX : (353)1-660-8716
Office Hours: 9:00~17:00, 12:30~13:30
Korean Consulate General in Sydney
United Overseas Bank Building, Level 8, 32 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000 , Australia
G.P.O.Box 1601, Sydney NSW 2001, Australia
TEL : 61-2-9210-0200 FAX : 61-2-9210-0202 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:00~16:00
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Wellington
11th Floor ASB Bank Tower Building, 2 Hunter St. Wellington, NZ
6034, TEL : (64)4-473-9073/4 FAX : (64)4-472-3865
Consular Agency of The Republic of Korea in Auckland 10th FL 396 Queen St., Auckland, New Zealand
TEL : 64-9-379-0818/0460 FAX : 64-9-373-3340
Osaka Korean Embassy
Chuoku Osakashi, Postal Code 542-0086, TEL : (06)6213-1401/5 FAX : (06)6213-0151
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:30~17:00
Fukuoka Korean Embassy
Fukuoka1-1-3 Chuo-Ku Fukuokas Jigyohama Post code 810-0065, TEL : 81 92 771-0461/3,
Office Hours: 9:00~12:00, 13:30~17:00
From my experience, go early to your interview. They need as much time as possible to verify information and issue you your visa that day. I was lucky to schedule over the phone at 8:30am, have my interview at 2pm and have my visa by 4pm –all in the same day– but that is not common practice. They will likely ask questions about your intentions in Korea, your past teaching experience and style. Dress as if you are going to an interview, because you are! Be kind, be patient, and speak slowly and clearly. They may need to mail you your work visa, placed in your passport, with a stamped or express envelope you provide. If you have questions about the American process, please ask me and I will try to help. Good luck!
To get an E2 work visa in South Korea, one requires a state level criminal record check or criminal background check (CBC) with apostille stamp. I searched the internet and found many ways to obtain a CBC. I picked one, and it was wrong. Then, I figured out how to do it right. I’ll share that with you now. My hope is that it alleviates your stress and prevents you from wasting time, money and energy.
1. Go to your local police department in person to get your criminal background check. They will fingerprint you, and then you can come back within the next 9 days to pick up your CBC. It is important that they notarize that document. I received mine at the Oregon State Police Identification Services office located at 3772 Portland Road NE, Building C, Salem, OR 97303. Their phone number is 503-378-3070. The fee was $58.
2. When a document is to go to a foreign country, it is often necessary to have the notarization or official certification authenticated. Some countries call this an apostille. There is usually only one place in each state that is able to do this for you. Hopefully you don’t have to travel too far. To find your location, go to apostille.net. I went to 255 Capitol St. NE, Ste 151, Salem, OR 97310. Their phone number is 503-986-2200. Wait was ten minutes. The fee was $10.
3. For yourself, make a copy of your degree and the CBC. Take this and a set of passport size photos ($4.95 at Costco) with you to Korea.
4. Fedex the following items to your recruiter or school in Korea: (1) Your original degree (you will get this back from your school director after the visa processing), (2) One Sealed University Official Transcript, (3) a set of passport size photos, (4) Signed Contract (provided by school or recruiter), (5) Signed Self-medical form (provided by school or recruiter), (6) State level Criminal record check with apostille, and (7) a copy of your passport. Email your recruiter or school director the Fedex tracking number. The fee was $48.18.
From my experience, recruiters and schools were not helpful. They don’t know how to obtain any of these documents. They just want you to send the documents to them as fast as you can. In their defense, if you can’t get this items in order, you are going to have difficulty surviving in a foreign country. If you have questions about the American process, please ask me and I will try to help. Good luck!
Some friends have asked me if the recent North Korean actions are changing my decision to go abroad. My initial answer was no, as we’ve seen this jockeying from Kim Jong-il before. I’m more afraid of possible successor Kim Jong-un, which is a real growing fear each day.
It’s annoying more than anything. Time will tell how this changes things.
I found a reading that may be helpful to others interested in going abroad.
Adapting to International Differences
Many people find it hard to picture themselves in international contexts. Yet statistics show us that more and more people are crossing international borders every year. Here are some guidelines to help you adapt to this kind of communication situation and develop a “third culture” perspective.
1. Prepare yourself ahead of time. Preparedness is an important aspect of successful adaptation. While still in this country, read some books, take a course, or try to meet people from your host country. Ask them what you can expect. This knowledge will give you a sense of confidence and will impress host nationals with the effort you’ve made to understand their culture.
2. When you travel abroad, expect differences in material culture. In many countries housing, transportation, sanitation, food, and medical facilities may not meet the standards you are used to. Don’t dismiss the importance of these differences, but don’t let them overwhelm you either. Know that from time to time the lack of luxury and privacy will be frustrating. Don’t take your frustration out on host nationals. Instead of complaining, see how they cope. Above all, practice patience.
3. Realize that it is naturally stressful to be cut off from familiar customs and landmarks. When you feel the stress of culture shock, take a break and relax. This may mean periods in which you withdraw a bit until you regain the equilibrium needed to explore your new environment. Give yourself occasional rest periods.
4. Make friends with host nationals and ask them to introduce you to their culture. Interpersonal contacts are an important source of information. Host nationals will usually be delighted to show you the ropes, and they can take you places you’d never have the courage to explore on your own. Your trip will be much more rewarding if you have made new friends.
5. Realize that you will make mistakes. From time to time you will violate norms of your new culture, and host nationals will undoubtedly violate some of your new norms. Laugh off these mistakes and learn from them. If reactions to your behavior suddenly seem strained, ask someone what went wrong and discuss what you should have done instead. Similarly, if a new acquaintance violates one of your customs, explain the violation in a nonjudgmental and nonthreatening way. Like other forms of communication, cross-cultural misunderstandings are best repaired by metacommunication.
6. Develop an attitude of nonjudgmental curiosity. While it is natural to see differences as “wrong,” it is generally nonproductive. When you encounter a new custom, suspend your judgment and try to find out why the custom exists and how it functions within the culture. Instead of being a critic, be an observer. And remember the old proverb, “To understand all is to forgive all.” (Trenholm & Jenson, 2008, p. 405-406)
Trenholm, S. & Jensen, A. (2008). Interpersonal Communication. New York: Oxford University Press.