A bit of back story: We left our home country on February 12th at 10:30 in the morning. My mom (Kelli) drove us to the airport in Dallas and helped us get all of our bags (4 suitcases, 2 carry-ons, and 2 cats) to the ticket counter before we said our final goodbyes. We boarded our plane and began mentally preparing for out 15 hour flight across the Pacific.
The flight itself wasn’t too bad. We flew Korean Air because of the incessant advertisements that had haunted us when we watched the Travel Channel back in Stillwater as we dreamt of this adventure. We flew out of Dallas because it was a nonstop flight, which we thought would be easier for our kitties. The flight and service was excellent. We each had decent meals and awesome service. We also ended up on the Emergency Exit aisle, so my 6’6” frame could stretch out.
We arrived at the Incheon Int’l Airport 30 hours later (with time zone changes included) and promptly headed for customs and baggage claim. We ran into difficulties at the quarantine office, as our cats didn’t have the proper paperwork. Korea has changed their animal import requirements recently, and we did not have time to get one test done before departure. We had been promised that any tests not completed before bringing the cats to Korea would be administered by the quarantine office. Lies. There was apparently a discrepancy on their official requirements website. We had also discussed these policies with their representatives over the phone and cleared an initial paperwork check at DFW. Anyways, they could not administer the test that was needed, so our cats were sent to a Quarantine Facility until we could have them shipped back to the States.
Needless to say, this was all very upsetting and complicated. We don’t have phones since we have not yet been issued Alien Registration cards, so we have been at the mercy of other people who do have phones (our school and head English teacher, Brian). Things were further complicated by our apartment not having internet when we arrived, but we will go into that when we do a “Our New Home” post. So with no means of reliable communication, we felt pretty stranded and lost when it came to saving our cats and getting them home safely. Eventually, though, we were able to make enough of the right calls and found an pet exporting company that would help us get this whole ordeal figured out so Kit and Artemis could be sent back home.
Returning to the story… So, after leaving the cats at the airport we were taken in a taxi-van to our school to meet with our School Director in Anyang. We made it to the school after about an hour long ride and were promptly introduced to our Head Instructor who took us to our apartment. When we arrived there was no hot water (which means no heating), sheets, or furniture beyond a single twin-sized bed and a skanky red loveseat. The School Director came by and we were able to convince him that we needed heat and a comforter for the night. He left for about an hour before he returned to find us huddled, in our coats and all, under our single sheet and our towels on the bed. He laughed and provided two twin-sized bedding sets. One was a blue Peter Rabbit comforter that nearly matches the one Stephanie had when she was little, and a bright pink and yellow monstrosity. With comforters acquired, we were set for our first night of sleep in our new home.
We have since figured out the hot water and heating. Yesterday, our boss even supplied us with a second twin sized bed so we can now stretch out and sleep a bit more comfortably. Things are looking up.
Pictures, videos, apartment tour, neighborhood tour, and job updates to come.
Ryan and Stephanie