Well, on Monday I was able to take my paperwork in to the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. I dressed up in preparation for the interview I was told would occur, but I had enough foresight to wear my flip-flops and pack my beautiful but half-size-too-small pumps in my purse along with an excess of paperwork. I got there and handed over the worksheet I'd printed off from online and dutifully filled out. The girl behind the counter started asking for a plethora of other papers that I was silently thanking G-d for giving me the initiative to copy before leaving Nashville. Then, she asked for the $45 fee, and I pulled out my checkbook.
"No," she said. "We only accept cash or money order."
So I trekked over to the ATM in the lobby, which was, of course, not working. I smiled at the metal detector guy and went in search of an ATM. Carmen the Garmin was with me and graciously directed me to a nearby Wachovia ATM. I'm sure you've already gotten the flavor of this story enough to know that said ATM was blocked by a big fence announcing the construction of a new building there. I found a gas station, paid the fees for using an ATM not associated with my bank, and withdrew $40 to add to the $20 in my wallet.
Let's see if you see this coming.
I walked the half mile back to the Embassy, all the time the sky growing darker, smiling at the Gandhi statue on the way and hoping that he could help me keep my cool. I murmured a hello part 2 to Metal Detector Guy and went back to the window, where Nice VISA Clerk Girl had been replaced by Personal Call VISA Clerk Guy, and he was not happy to see me. I waited, organizing my papers on the counter. He got off the phone and glared at me, so I took this as a cue to hand him my stuff. He proceeded to find fault with a lot of things that I had filled out according to instructions, the most frustrating of which being that I had to have a Korean phone number already. (I ended up giving him my employer's.) But here was the best part - just wait for it: He looked at me and said, "I don't have change."
I explained what had happened with the cash and how I'd had to walk a mile for a working ATM and that it only gave twenties. He folded his arms across his chest and said nothing. I asked, "Could you help me please?"
So, after saying goodbye to Metal Detector Guy again, back out into the 100 degree heat I went. Luckily, I found a woman, Scottish I think by her accent, who was willing to break my twenty. We talked for a while about how unkind Americans are to foreigners, and I tried to put on an accent... any accent at all. Then she said,
"It's about to storm."
Of course it was.
Anyway, I returned to Metal Detector Guy, who was steadily growing more and more amused by me. I had everything this time. Personal Call VISA Clerk Guy was back on his personal call, and was even less excited to end it this time, but he was willing to take everything from me this time. He handed me a ticket and said, "Come back on Wednesday," and put my passport on a corner of his desk. I pretty much was panicking as I left, but managed a cheery "See you Wednesday," to Metal Detector Guy, who was no longer able to refrain from laughing and started cracking up. I did too.
Luckily, my friend Cody has moved up here to attend UMCP. We met up for dinner, and he was able to salvage my day.
TODAY, however, was very different. Nice VISA Clerk Girl was back. So, after saying hello to Metal Detector Guy, I went up to the VISA window and was able to get my passport, complete with VISA stamp back in a matter of minutes.
So here's the moral of this very long story:
I HAVE MY VISA STAMP!!!
That is all.
Have a lovely day. :)