I arrived safely in Korea on Saturday and so far have mainly been taking care of bureaucratical issues (and surviving typhoons, but more on those later).
First, the optimist has won again! As expected, I got the apartment in the university guest house, not that I really ever doubted it. Now all I need to do concerning that part is to pay the deposit and first months rent, which is planned for tomorrow. Then we should be able to move in on the weekend at the latest, which is good since on Monday I’m supposed to start working and my daughter is starting her kindergarten at the university kindergarten right next to our apartment. Having to stay somewhere else would be a bit of a drag in terms of getting her there in the mornings. This way is much better.
Second, I got my foreigner registration done on Monday as well. This means that sometime later this week I will be able to get my registration number, sort of like the ID number in Finland (as in without the number everything is difficult/impossible and with it everything becomes easy). The process itself was extremely pleasant. 🙂 I went to the Seoul Immigration Office with my Better Half (easier to have a native with you) and we asked at the reception where to go. They asked what kind of a visa I had and when they learned that I had an E-1 visa (visiting professor), they instructed us to go into a small room with 4 counters and 2 people waiting, as opposed to the large room with the great unwashed on the other side of the lobby with long lines. This special room was for “Global talents” and “Investors”, with my line being for talents and people investing more than USD 500 000. Since I don’t have 500 large to drop, I guess this confirms I am a talent. 🙂 I was missing one critical piece of paper, Seoul National University business registration, but this sorted itself with a quick phone call to the university and they faxed the paper to the immigration officer while we were still processing my case. Which was nice. I should be able to pick up some confirmation of my status later this week and I will get my official registration card in the mail in 3 weeks. This makes Korea the 7th country in which I officially exist, in the sense of being registered in the local systems with a local ID number or equivalent.
Other than that, not much has happened. Weather has been hot, humid, and sort of sunny. Kids have made some friends at the local playground, but that’ll unfortunately change when we move to the university over the weekend. Hopefully there will be a playground as well there.