About eight weeks ago I had my latest observation. This was by my real boss, the one who decides on the renewal of contracts. It went well and a week later I got feedback and the results were my best so far, probably as good as I could conceivably get. This left me in a great place regarding a possible extended stay.
I'd decided before my observation that I/we needed to stay here a little while longer. We haven't reached the amount of money I think we will need for setting up a new life back in England. There are also places we'd like to travel to in Asia, and that costs money doesn't it. However staying for one more full year has never been an option.
I came to the conclusion that staying six months (well now six months and three weeks) longer is enough for me. Staying longer has been a very big decision for us. In truth it has been me who has kept extending our stay here. We both want to go back to England but right now the job situation is bad and will be for the foreseeable future. What kind of husband would I be bringing a wife home to this uncertainty unless we had a financial cushion to support us for a while? I don't feel entirely comfortable going home as things stand.
There are many positives about finishing at the end of April. We both get a chance to save and the nearer to our departure the more we can. In February at Lunar New Year we will be able to have a five day holiday. We will have enough time to make visa plans. We could also go to Japan again in April while the weather is fantastic. Talking about weather, going back to the UK in May, the weather will be much better for my wife to settle in to. And of course, working six months means I won't have to deal with any more Korean Summer. Good reasons to stay I think. The new contract means I will have seven days holiday (plus Lunar New Year).
The only major downside about not staying for one year is financial. I won't get a raise and my bonus will only be about ⅙ of what it would be if I completed a full year. Never mind. A small bonus is better than nothing and I will have been paid three times for my air plane ticket back home by then. Of course, the material I teach is repetitive. This will not get better during my stay but I hope it won't be too big of an issue.
Today I finally got my contract in writing. I finish this contract in two months, though it had been agreed that I would be staying over two months ago. I hadn't pushed anybody on not having anything official in writing until this week because recently the visa process has changed making it more awkward. Indeed the goalposts seem to change constantly it makes you wonder if all the authorities are on the same page.
The latest is that all I need to do is bring my passport and Alien Registration card, plus 61,000won (£33ish) and that's all. I thought I'd need my degree apostilling but it (for now) it looks like I don't, just verified by 'a Korean agency'. I'm not too happy about paying to get a new visa when in previous years my company has but to be honest it's not too much and if it means there is no more hassle and it's done, then OK this time I will put up with it. Indeed it would cost more to send a degree back, get it done there and then sent to Korea again.
I have just under nine months left here and the countdown really begins when my new visa is completed. It seems like a long time but I know it will just fly by.