So a few weeks ago, after I got back the results of my medical testing, I was ready for step two in the process of getting my ARC (Alien Registration Card). Time to head to the Immigration Office in Suwon.
Going to the Suwon Immigration Office (수원출입국관리사무소) should not have been nearly as annoying of an adventure as it turned out to be. This part in the ARC adventure was made infinitely more difficult thanks to the vague incompetencies of my “supervisor”.
I thought the instructions for the medical testing were bad. This may have been worse. She handed me a hand-written note with the name and address of the office. In Korean. Then the telephone number (I don’t have a working phone). Then the “instructions” on how to get there:
DongBack station ——-> kihung station ———> youngtong
Basically, this translates to “Take the metro from Dongbaek Station to Giheung Station. Transfer from the green line to the yellow line. Then get off in Suwon at Yeongtong Station.”
Hey! I mean… it’s nearly there, right? Never mind that she managed to spell every bloody station incorrectly. But the awesomeness doesn’t end there.
She also (kindly?) had printed me a map of the area where the immigration office is. All in Korean, but hey! At least I know… nothing. I know NOTHING. Because she didn’t think to print me a map WITH THE DAMNED METRO STATION ON IT.
When I mentioned that, her response was “Oh, the station is near to there.” She didn’t seem to get that it doesn’t matter if it was literally two minutes away, if I walked in the wrong bloody direction, I wouldn’t find the damned office. I tried my best to get her to understand the issue, but I don’t think I got through to her as she said, “Maybe you look on the internet.”
Thanks for nothing, Supervisor. I did look it up on the internet, and it looked to be about a 10 minute walk. It took FOREVER to find online though, as Google hasn’t mapped the new metro stops out that way yet and Daum maps is all in Korean. But I thought I figured I knew what I was doing, so I relaxed a bit.
Then the next issue came up. Super (that’s my new nickname for her, deemed such right now) didn’t tell me how much the fees would be, or what documentation I should bring. So I figured I should check it out.
The most likely source for solid information seemed to be hikorea.go.kr (even though they ended up having the fee wrong), and it was then I realised that I didn’t have a key piece of information: A copy of the school’s business registration.
Yarg! So not only did Super manage to give me shite directions, she failed to tell me what I should bring with me, what the shiznet would cost, or the documentation.
So I was delayed a day as I was supposed to go to Suwon in the morning, and had to wait for Super to get me the docs I needed instead. Once that was sorted, I was able to go to Suwon the next day.
The metro in Seoul is delightfully simple. It can be a headache of transfers, but the signage is super good and it is relatively easy to use. The issue came when I stepped out of Yeoungtong Station and had no fucking clue where I was.
As in, no clue. Zero. I turned in a slow circle just outside of Exit 1 and wondered in which direction I should go. Rather than just head down a street (one looked no more promising than another), I thought I would try another look at my map – both the paper shitter that Super gave me as well as the one I had saved on my iPad.
It was then, with me trying to juggle all this stuff, that a tiny Korean lady came up to me and started speaking to me in Korean. I told her I didn’t understand Korean (in Korean) but showed her the shitty map with the Suwon Immigration Office on it in Korean. And… bingo! She seemed to know where it was. Bless you, Korean lady. She pointed me in a direction, we bowed at each other, and she walked away.
I walked to the intersection and stopped to take notes. Mostly because I don’t want what’s been happening to me to happen to the next teacher that comes. It’s just not a fun experience. So I was trying to write down the name of that intersection for my notes when behind me I hear the world’s hugest, weariest sigh.
The little Korean lady is back. I smile at her but realise I have no real way of communicating “I’m okay, I’m just writing this down so Super can’t take torture another foreigner”. She clearly thinks I’m mentally disadvantaged in some way.
So, what does she do? She takes me by the arm and walks me to the next intersection, points me in a direction, and says something (I’m assuming “Can I trust you to find your way from here, simpleton?” or similar) in Korean.
HOW CUTE IS THAT? I loved that little impatient Korean lady.
If only Super was this helpful.
It was easy breezy lemon squeezy from there. (Turns out there was even a more straightforward route, but I don’t blame sigh-at-me lady). I was there in less than 10 minutes and ready to get through the bureaucracy of the Suwon Immigration Office.