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Again, been busy, so it’s been hard to write. And when I don’t write, I a lot of things happen, making it more of a burden to write.My transcripts had arrived on time, and we started the visa process on my deadline to leave the country. But according to Immigration, meeting the deadline means you’re too late. They called the school, and Roberta had to go down there. The best thing they could agree to was me paying a fine the next Wednesday in person.

We showed up Wednesday, and it was horrible. The building was cramped and not air-conditioned. We talked to these two guys and then their supervisor got involved. He took Roberta and me into his cubicle and proceeded to scream and cuss at us in Korea for fifteen minutes while Roberta begged him to be lenient. He told us to basically get out of his sight.

We went into another department, where Roberta begged one of the original two guys to do something. She told me to stay there while she and the guy went to talk.

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It was still a mess. I was sweating and thinking I may be put in handcuffs and thrown out of the country.

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The problem boiled down to this. Last month, my former school had to report that I wasn’t working for them anymore, so I met them at the Immigration office to go through the procedure. The representative from my old school told me to stay seated while she talked to the Immigration official. They then asked for my passport. Fifteen minutes later, they gave me a two-week exit order.

A NOTE TO ANYONE DEALING WITH KOREAN IMMIGRATION ON EXIT ORDERS: I did not know that I had an option to get a one month stay. They didn’t tell me that. In fact, as you may remember, the representative from my old school told me to stay seated while she took care of everything.

So the thing was that I was supposed to leave the country on July 8th, when they started processing my visa.

The day wore on. Things were looking better, actually. Roberta overheard the guy who chewed us out on the phone with a higher government official, screaming at him, saying, “This is a stupid law! Can’t you make an exception?”

Yes, the guy who was ripping us a new one was on the phone defending me.

In the end, the best solution was to have me leave the country and start the visa process all over again. They said they would put it on the fast track. The trick is that I have to be out of the country before they start.

This means a week in Japan.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find a new teacher to replace Anne. It was getting tough because a friend of one of the freakier and more disgruntled teachers was trashing the school on the internet, making it hard for me to find someone.

This has been my first time on the hiring side of the table, and finding an employee is almost exactly like looking for a job. I hunt resumes on the internet and send out emails, crossing my fingers for replies. I then get on the phone and call people and try to sell the school as well as I can (and very honestly, too). Then we have the interviews, where I may be just as nervous as the candidate.

As of this writing, I think we’re close to getting someone. I hope we are.

Anne’s last day was Friday. As I predicted, it didn’t go smoothly. She and Roberta had a fight, and I had to get in between, saying, “I have a whole bunch of children to deal with in the gym. I don’t want to have to deal with two more here.”

I couldn’t get much done in finding a new teacher because of Anne’s constant complaining and demands up until the very end. I had learned that no matter what I did to appease her, she would still gripe. I could wipe her butt for her, and she still would complain that I missed a spot.

Hopefully, things are looking up now. I just need to get this new teacher, and I can be free to concentrate on fixing problems with the school. I’m working on redesigning the report cards to make them easier for the teachers to grade and to give a good representation to parents of their child’s academic level.

I’m still in love with my area. The stadium I live next to is so nice. Families are out there all the time, rollerblading, playing badminton, walking, jogging. Inside the stadium, they show outdoor movies. They played “Revenge of the Sith” two weeks ago there.

Food wise, I’ve tried the Skylark restaurant near my house, and it looks like I have found a decent western food fix conveniently close. A Korean company owns the restaurant chain, which is like a Shoney’s or Denny’s without the breakfast menu. It’s done up like a 1960s ranch house, complete with pictures of someone’s family on the walls. The food is like what they would serve up on the Brady Bunch: Hamburger Steak with Gravy, Fried Chicken, stuff like that. They have quesadillas too.

On top of Anne, getting the new teacher, and news that my son was in a car accident (he’s fine), I’ve been worried about my trip to Japan. I’m having to spend a week there, which means I need a hotel. I don’t want to bust my budget on a visa run in one of the most expensive countries on Earth.

I came up with a very Japanese solution to my problem. I made a reservation at a capsule hotel.

Still, the success of this trip depends on how fast Immigration can process my papers and how fast they can be delivered to me in Osaka.

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