(merkit hukassa)

Adventures in Korea

Monthly Archives: January 2011

(S)he’s a Lady!

First topic – The thing is: I used to have long hair. Week ago I went to a hairdresser to cut it moderately shorter, in which she horribly failed. I fixed her mistakes at home and ended up with a short, short, short hair. I was planning to pack a couple of skirts with me but I tried them on and with the short hair I looked like a trans-gendered person… only the real mtfs have better legs than I do. So I guess I have to skip the skirts and stick with jeans – and look like a cute guy with boobs.

As much as I might whine, I rather like the short hair and I am more comfortable with jeans anyways so I’m actually quite happy with the result. This means I can drop the high heels, skirts, hair conditioner and all the other useless girly stuff from my backpack and replace them with something useful.

Second topic – I managed to leave my dorm application on time. Me and Lotta are gonna be roommates. We decided this as we both know how tiring the language barrier can get sometimes and how you need somebody to whine to, about the stupidities you encounter – in your own language. They already assigned the rooms, so now I can finally change my address and make the travel announcement to the Foreign Ministry.

My address from 24th February till 23th June will be:

# 5225, Hwahong Hall, Ajou University,
San 5, Woncheon-dong, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon 443-749, Korea

I’ll also put a link on the right hand banner, so you can find my contact information when ever you feel like sending me stuff. Unfortunately I have to refuse letting you crash in our room – the dorm rules were strict: no letting people stay over, no behaving badly when drunk, no dropping by at the guys’ floor (with this part they were very particular), no more tuberculosis and so on. I hope this also means that the dorms are well maintained and at least bit more peaceful than the infamous M-building in Jyväskylä student ghetto.

Third topic – I’m planning my second farewell party. The date is most likely 11th of February. Location… very probably Toppila, Oulu. So heads up and leave your schedule open!

Also, limited amount of rendezvouses with magnifique moi available in Jyväskylä this Friday. Book your appointment with my secretary (comment box).

How to apply for a Visa on drugs

Applying for Visa is hard. It’s even harder after being high on drugs for the whole week. Legal drugs, LEGAL! Good stuff nevertheless.

I got really, really sick on Monday night and the paramedics took me to the Oulu University hospital. I’ve been pretty much sedated ever since so my Visa application has taken few steps backwards. I was in no condition to form a coherent sentence, nor to fill difficult forms with too small blanks.

I finally got the papers from Ajou via Jamk on Tuesday. My dad brought them to the hospital next day but I was obviously too out there to ask for my passport and my passport pictures… and I was going under a surgery so obviously that wasn’t the day to do it. Today I got out from the hospital but didn’t still have my passport pictures with me, so I left the form-filling until I got home – where I instantly fell asleep after munching my long awaited pizza.

It was almost too late to send the forms today when my mum woke me up and told me to get to the business. I went through the forms and realized I should have asked for a Study Certificate from JAMK, so I send them an email and they promised to send it straight to the embassy. Then I realized I have two sets of forms in the envelope I got from Ajou. Hmm? Me and Lotta had been wondering where Lotta’s papers were, but the mystery was solved. They were together with my papers – addressed to my international coordinator (Lotta is majoring Tourism so another office handles her exchange).

So a priority mail to Lotta and a registered mail to the embassy with the Visa form, my passport, Letter of Acceptance and Invitation Letter from Ajou and 40 euros… and a registered return envelope so they will hopefully send me back my passport with the Visa.

They asked so many questions which make no sense to a Finn; such as: “who will pay for your trip?” – duh… me “Who will sponsor your Visa?” -duh… didn’t I just pay 40 euros for it? And then “your address in Korea” with a blank space so small my ID number wouldn’t have fit in it. I still scribbled my address-to-be there. Hope they can make something out of it.

Now imagine doing all this high on drugs. Luckily my mother was there acting as a voice of reason and toning down my illusions, which were rather… interesting – reading an urban fantasy novel on drugs wasn’t a best possible idea.

Insurance & good news & not so good news

Three topics today:

1. I need to prove that my insurance covers my health care in Korea. Today I sent them:

  1. My insurance contract (pages covering travel insurance). Mine is part of my home and personal insurance plan from Pohjola.
  2. Terms of Insurance
  3. Copy of my insurance card
  4. Insurance brochure (just in case, since it’s clearer than terms of insurance. It actually tells what my insurance DOES cover… ToI just tells what the insurance doesn’t cover)
  5. Contract and receipt for travel insurance for the exceeding two months. Finnish travel insurances cover 3 first months by default and you have to pay extra to get more months. Two months were a bit over 90 euros.

Basically the insurance covers just sickness and emergency treatment, but what else would I need during five months? I hope they are okay with the documents and I don’t need to do any more rain dancing and shadow boxing or any other magic tricks.

2. My international coordinator (JAMK) told me she received my information package and sent it to me today! JAY! I’ll finally get my Letter of Acceptance and can apply for Visa. Niiiiiice!

3. I still haven’t received my student number and other information I need for housing application. The deadline is tomorrow 17.00 Finnish time, so I’m a bit nervous. Especially knowing how strict they can be with bureaucracy in Asian countries.

I made a mess

Oh man. I made a huge mess while I was trying to pack my stuff – just to check will it fit or do I need to re-think my high-flying plan: hand luggage only – screw check in. And I’m not talking about those cabin approved suitcases here, I’m talking about a normal high school kid’s backpack.

Yes, I do know it sounds stupid, especially for a woman. But I’m not that much of a woman. I’ve been doing fine with two sets of clothes for a month already. They are washable – clothes I mean, and I pretty much plan on getting ridiculous amounts of stupid fashion crap from Korea anyways. And yeah, it doesn’t seem desperate yet. My backpack isn’t even half-full and all my clothes and tech-stuff are in there already. Quite a bit of miscellaneous stuff is yet to be packed. It’s in the middle of the night and people are sleeping so I’m trying to keep the rustling and bustling noise level down. I’m going to publish this tomorrow after I finish packing and take a picture of what I’m taking.

NEXT DAY:

Oh my, oh my. Look at this:

sisalto

That’s all I’m gonna take with me (four pairs of shoes, including the pair I’m going to wear!) And it fit well in this:

reppu

I measured the backpack and it fit’s in the cabin regulations if I don’t pack the front pocket. And I don’t need to pack it, as everything fits well in the other two compartments. I didn’t put in my travel guides yet, but they turned out to be compact. Without the travel guides all this weights  only 8.9 kilos, which I’m happy to carry around while traveling. The weight is going to increase a bit, I still need to pack some papers and some souvenirs…

Yesterday I went to the bank to sign my credit card papers and to the pharmacy – only to hear I will get my Japanese encephalitis vaccination today. A day too late to get the second shot in time (there should be 28 days between the first and the second shot). To be honest, I regret getting that vaccination already. It’s bloody expensive 130 e per shot, two shots)  and the risk isn’t that high anyways.  I really need to be out and about every freaking weekend to make it worth it. But I went to get the shot today. Been feeling a bit dizzy afterwards, but nothing too bad. The nurse was nice and I’m sure I should know her somewhere (maybe an ex classmate from high school or something).

Still waiting for the Letter of Acceptance :S

Now it hit me

You’ve got mail!” said my email app. Or would’ve said if it was able to speak. Good grief, I’d go crazy if it was. Anyways, Ajou sent me an email stating I should get tested for tuberculosis, get a health insurance, reserve housing, wave my light saber, do a rain dance and practice yoga. The health insurance part I got covered ages ago, hope they’ll accept my all-mighty Finnish insurance of win.

They also suggested I might be interested applying for visa. WELL YES! The ever-so-slight problem is they are sending the Letters of Acceptance this week. Gee, thanks!  For the letter to arrive to my school will take at least 3 workdays and for them to forward it to me will take another two days. Then I’ll send it to the embassy – 2 more days -, they process it – one week -, they send it back – two more days. If everything goes right.

I ordered books from Lonely Planet (LP Korea, LP Seoul and Korean Phrasebook) for 40€. Quite a good bargain, but I have mixed feelings about travel guides. You see, it would be lot easier (and less to carry) to buy a smart-phone with travel guide applications. Then again, the tech-freak I might be, I don’t trust the smart-phone technology yet and I find it huge waste of money to buy crap. I might change my mind if I find something fancy and blingy (with English OS) from Korea – the land of Samsung and LG.

Be as it might, I’m excited and bit scared now. I haven’t learn the language yet. I haven’t even started, to be precise. But I got some info about vegetarianism in Korea ( from this nice guy of Internets, thank you!) Good news is – I’m gonna get thinner. Bad news – I’m gonna get hungry. Seems to be quite hard to find vegan or even vegetarian food over there.  So better eat a lot now!