The Korean Tennis Association requires all players to have a work visa in order to receive prize money. Upon my arrival to the Korean Embassy in Los Angeles I was thinking of how easy it was going to be to get my work visa. I had been given an invitation letter and had all the necessary paper work. Little did I know what I was in for. I had forgotten to bring a 2×2 photo of myself to attach on my visa application (blaming that on my early arrival from Florida). So I had to leave, lose my spot, and go across the street to pay for four passport photos instead of just one. I was finally ready to get on with my application. But the lady taking care of my application didn’t seem to believe that I was American born. She insisted that I was Korean because of my last name. You would think though with a U.S. passport that there wouldn’t be any problems of nationality. I was proven wrong. The Korean Embassy wanted to make sure I wasn’t Korean so they asked that I fax them my birth certificate. After a long drive through LA traffic I made it back home in time to fax over my birth certificate. Only to be shut down again. They still did not believe my nationality and demanded that I show where my parents came from. I was on my last straw. But what could I do? I needed this visa. After waiting the weekend I brought in my parent’s passports and they finally gave in. “Sorry it’s policy.” Is what the lady told me after she gave me my visa.
If that wasn’t a great start for my Korea trip. My travel day already saw effects of the FAA spending cuts. The plane from LA to San Francisco was delayed an hour inside the aircraft. Luckily when Daniel Nguyen and I booked our flight, we chose a longer layover.
United Airlines decided that they didn’t want me to have a personal TV for the 12 hour flight. Twelve hours in a seat that was small for my 150 pound frame and no TV! Maybe I was meant to spend all that time getting in touch with myself. In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t all that bad. I made it out alive and well.
It’s always exciting to get out of the country and explore places and spaces you’ve never been to. I’m excited to be here in Korea and looking forward to see what’s in store for me these next few weeks.
Now it’s time for a 14 hour nap 🙂