VISA Debacle III: Passports

The Friday after we sent our pertinent documentation to the Korean Consulate in Los Angeles, our friend Christina called to say that she had received an express mail envelope from the Korean Consulate (we had used her address for the return express envelope because we were unsure where we would be living by the time the envelope was returned).

We made arrangements to meet up with Christina and Eric for dinner and to also get our express envelope from them. We knew, of course,  that the express envelope contained our passports; we were excited and relieved to have received them back in such short time, considering we had just spoken with the Korean Consulate on Wednesday. Finally, we thought, we will be able to move forward with our travel arrangments and vacate our house at last (we had made arrangements with the landlord and the utility companies to stay in our house a week longer).

At around 7:00 PM we arrived at Christina and Eric’s place, visited with the dogs (Akira is living with Christina and Eric and their dog Frannie) and finally got around to opening the express envelope. Our passports were there, safe and sound and in one piece. Whew.

But wait.

Gary looked at the E2 VISA in his passport and found that it had my name on it. I checked my passport and, sure enough, Gary’s VISA was attached inside. We couldn’t believe the mix-up. Humorous, yes, but frustrating too as it also meant we would have to postpone our travel arrangements yet again.

Since it was after 5:00 PM on a Friday, we knew would have to wait all weekend before calling the Korean Consulate to find out how to remedy the error. Might as well have a nice dinner, we reasoned. So, we called in an order to the Taj Mahal, Gary and Eric picked up for us. It was delicious, of course, though I couldn’t name all the things we ate, other than the Garlic Nahn. We took-leftovers home and I swear they were even more delicious the second day.

Saturday, Gary shot an email off to our contacts at Chung Dahm Learning and Aclipse recruiting agency, but of course, it was the weekend, and we would not hear back from them until Monday either.

When Monday morning finally arrived, Gary called the Korean Consulate to explain what had happened. The woman he spoke with made it a point to mention that she had been on vacation the previous week, otherwise such an error would have never occurred. Nonetheless, it did.

Gary was instructed to express mail the passports back to the Consulate would correct the error and return our passports to us in a return postage-paid express envelope. Off to the Post Office we went, exactly one week after sending our passports the first time.

The clerk at the Post Office remembered us from the week before and so we described what had happened. The cost for the express mail envelopes and postage this time was $17.50 – a cost we all agreed should be reimbursed by the Korean Consulate , but we really had no time to argue the matter.

Our contacts at Chung Dahm Learning and Aclipse responded to Gary’s email and recommended we secure travel reservations, and we have (though the first itinerary the travel agency emailed Gary was for someone named Steven Tyler – whether it was THE Steven Tyler remains a mystery), and though the reservations are made, Gary’s credit card has not been charged. He reasoned that is would be better to pay a little extra now should the rates go up than to purchase airline tickets that may be canceled and nonrefundable or which would cost an arm and a leg to alter.

It’s Thursday now, and Christina has called to say that her postal carrier left a note regarding a package which needs to be signed for. It’s pretty likely that the package the note refers to contains our passports; the postal carrier is to bring the package again tomorrow, according to the note.

The person we have hired to clean our house will be here at 8:30 tomorrow (Friday) morning, so we are getting the last of our belongings out of the house tonight. From now until the day we leave (Tuesday, August 25th), we will be living with Christina and Eric (and Frannie and Akira).

Let’s hope all goes well from here.

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