So, my student and I have had a rather frustrating experience and now that we know what to do, I am typing it all down to share with everyone who is importing things from any country INTO South Korea. I will now tell you exactly what we did and the emails given and everything.

My student and I made a combined purchase, with my account, from Amazon.com on September 27th, 2014. He needed to buy a specific item and it was MUCH cheaper to buy from Amazon than to buy through Gmarket. I also had some items to get, some new shoes from my favorite maker, and a book I’ve been wanting anyway. So we made a deal, I’d buy the items and we’d split the shipping cost and he’d pay me back in a few days. Nice arrangement.  I ordered, Amazon sent me the standard email saying that it had shipped, and everything looked fine, just the same as when I had bought a microphone about 6 months ago from Amazon, no problems.
Until I got this email from I-parcel:

Thank you for purchasing xxxxxxxxx from Amazon.com. i-Parcel is Amazon.com’s parcel delivery partner and we are eager to get you your delivery as soon as possible.
Due to a Korean regulation that took effect in October 2014, i-parcel is required to obtain your PIN (Personal Identification Number) for customs clearance so that we can clear your parcel appropriately. No additional fees are assessed with fulfilling this requirement and it is used for customs clearance purposes only. To input your PIN, thereby allowing us to export your shipment from the United States and affecting prompt customs clearance, please click <here>.
If you do not yet have a PIN you can register for one <here>, and then enter it using the link above.
Please be advised your shipment will not be able to export from the US until we have received the information.

Us unlucky ducks got to be the first to experience this new law first-hand, literally the SAME DAY IT WENT INTO EFFECT $(@&%(*!^%#&)#.

There were two links included, and a Korean translation below with roughly the same information (Although there may have been some extra fees involved for Koreans, as my student read the email and noted that it said that there may be extra fees. However, it is it clear in the wording on the English side that there are no fees. We were worried. The first link led to i-parcel.com, where you will see your basic shipment details (the items in your shipment)  and a little space to input a number. The other link led to http://portal.customs.go.kr, the website where I had to register for a PIN so we could get this done. Problem is, most of the site is in Korean! There’s only the tiniest amount of English, and the words don’t really make sense anyway as they are letters like m/bl. We tried inputting the Tracking Number given by Amazon into those m/bl and Cargo Management boxes, as the numbers seemed to fit perfectly. It didn’t work. We tried quite a few variations, to no avail. So, my student went home to research for us.

He ended up finding this little golden nugget of information.

Foreigners don’t need to obtain the clearance unique code, because only with the passport number, you can make an import clearance. Despite the above, if you want to obtain the clearance unique code, you can apply for the Clearance Unique Code with the Alien Registration Number issued by the Immigration Office. You can issue the code with the Public Certificate at the Internet Clearance Portal System. In case where it is hard to access internet, you can issue at Customs (with a copy of Alien Registration Certificate).
Please refer to the two types below.

1. By the Internet Clearance Portal (without sign-in): (http://portal.customs.go.kr)
(1) Click Clearance Unique Code Application for an Individual
(2) Enter you name and Alien Registration Number to check if you have issued the Code before or not
(3) Identify yourself with the Public Certification service
(2) Type in an application form

2. By Customs
Attach a copy of an application form and a copy of Alien Registration Certification by post, fax, email, or personal visit to the officer in charge at Main Customshouse in order to obtain the Clearance Unique Code within one day. (Refer to FAQ)
Ahha. So, I got out my passport and tried what the first sentence said.  I went back to the i-parcel website and input my Passport Number.
No luck.
Then I got out my Alien Registration Card and input THAT number.
A minute later, a little popup box came up and said, simply, “Thank you”. That was the correct number it needed.
So if you’re an “ARC” carrying alien in Korea and you’re importing something and get the same i-parcel email, simply input your ARC number into the box. You need to put in the numbers without spaces I believe. Make sure you don’t have an accidental space before or after your number. If it doesn’t work, try a space where our cards have one. Basically just try it a few different ways until you get the tiny “Thank You” message. One person has reported that putting a dash where the dash should be also works.
If you’re NOT a ARC-carrying alien, you must sign up with the portal.customs.go.kr website and get a PIN code clearance.
We have not yet gotten any info or our items yet as it will take another two weeks to get our items, but when they come in, or when I get more info, I will post it here so you know what worked and what didn’t.
Updated October 11th 2014: Info about spaces with ARC numbers. Keep waiting! I suspect I’ll get my items next week sometime.
LAST UPDATE:  The items are in! I received the package this morning. It was on time, within the 3 days Amazon mentioned the package would arrive. There were no problems with getting it as I have packages delivered to my school. Strangely enough, the address, and even my name, are all in Korean – I didn’t type it in Korean when I ordered  the items. No idea how or why it was translated but I guess Iparcel does that. The process works, yay! 
NEW TRICK DISCOVERED: If you don’t have your ARC number in – put in 13 random digits. No spaces. Supposedly it works, though illegal I bet, but hey. Their problem for  not having a number check in their system. hahaha!
Posted by: ruralkorealiving | May 29, 2014

Scam university “Creek View University”

Hello any potential future readers who probably were looking for info about Creek View University. I received this letter a day ago and had the best laugh out of it. You probably got the same email and are wondering if it’s a scam. Oh you bet to hell and back it is.
First – here’s the email.
___________________________________________________
Dear …

Earn an Accredited US Degree from Creek View University in just 15 Days. May 31st is the last day to avail this offer.

Get the experience based credits transferred today towards your desired Degree Program & earn 100% Verified and Accredited Creek View University Degree in just 15 days.

Click Here to Avail this Offer – DEADLINE: May 31st, 2014

Why Should I Apply?

Recognized and Accredited university degree
Receive Documents in just 15 Days
No Studies, No Classes, No Exams
Very Affordable, No Hefty Fee
No Waiting, get approval right away
Same Degree Documents as Traditional University Documents
Globally Accepted by Employers & Educational Institutions
24/7 Student Support
Click Here to Earn an Accredited US Degree from Creek View University in just 15 days.

An accredited degree can help you achieve your long-term career goals. Stop being passed over by colleagues with less experience and knowledge. Take charge of your career today.

If you have any queries or concerns, please call us at our toll free number: 1-866-445-1524 and speak to our Students Advisors anytime of the day. To have a live chat with one of our advisors, click here.

Best Regards,
James Sanders
Admission Department
Creek View University
1-866-445-1524

Creek View University, Eurolife House 4 Evrou Street,, Strovolos, Nicosia 2003, Cyprus
_______________________________________________

Let’s take a look closely.
“May 31 is the last day to avail this offer. “ – Oh come on. Does anyone say that? “To avail”? No. “To avail OF” might be more correct. But to use those words either way shows a more book-learned English than a natural English, even of more educated people. Plus that mistake shouldn’t be in a university-sent, professional email.

“Recieve documents in just 15 days”. – Oh, only 15 days, no classes, and suddenly you’re just as educated as those of us who did the whole college process, online or in real life? Sorry, world doesn’t work that way. This is called a Paper Mill. It’s a fake degree that looks professional to throw off only those who bought the degree. CEOs, managers, or HR people do things called background checks and they also check into the university. I graduated from an online-only university, something often frowned upon – and yet I still managed to get a job simply because the university is well known and at least somewhat respected. Paper mills are designed to dupe only the buyer.

“Stop being passed over by colleagues with less experience and knowledge. “ – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Yeah. A paper you bought will SURELY prove you right and more educated than everyone else. I have a hard enough time with that myself and I actually DID a full degree, classes and papers and all!

“Creek View University, Eurolife House 4 Evrou Street,, Strovolos, Nicosia 2003, Cyprus” Yep. Looks legit. University giving US degrees….oh but the university is in Cyprus. The COUNTRY Cyprus. Yep, they are surely “recognized and accredited” by respected accrediting organizations in the USA. That makes perfect sense for USA organizations to accredit non-USA schools. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

For more funny – go to the website. The English is just a little off there too.
Anyway, if you’re thinking of doing this, don’t. It’s only designed to dupe you. Only thing you’ll get is a piece of paper worth nothing to any company as company people tend to be a little smarter than you might give them credit for. You’ll be out hundreds, if not thousands, for your own stupidity in thinking that others are stupider than you.

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | February 8, 2014

So much Life…so little time.

Oh hell it’s been almost 6 months since I posted last. I doubt I’ll post very frequently, but today I feel like it. And I have an hour to kill before I go to a friend’s performance at the local coffee shop.

News. So, many months ago, I planned to go home for Christmas to see my family. The previous Christmas was Skype-only, so this time I wanted to go home. Problem is, the school year goes straight through Christmas and ends a few days later. I told my family I couldn’t come home for Christmas, but I would right after that. I told them January 5th.

I lied.

I had actually managed to get my vice principal to agree to let me go home this year before the school year ended (by a matter of days. My co-teachers understood, I prepared a lesson for them to do for me, and left.) I did tell my dad, so he could pick me up at the airport. I had a layover in Tokyo (in which I spent some of the time with my Japanese friend, Tetsuji. I always try to plan a long layover there if I can, just to go have dinner or something with him cause’s he’s pretty fun to chat with for a few hours.) I then had a layover in Los Angeles, another long one. Thankfully, I had an acquaintence there whom I’ve haven’t seen for years, who offered to pick me up, take me to the Santa Monica Pier, and we had a fun few hours there. Technically, due to the time zones, I had lunch twice that day. Coming home, I was picked up by my dad, in the same concourse of which 3 years earlier was nearly destroyed by a tornado but had since been repaired and made rather beautiful. Since I had kept up on updates to the repairs, it was nice to see in person. And it was great to see my dad, even if it was nearly midnight, nearly Christmas Eve. It was 40 hours of travel. I wasn’t exhausted per se…I was friggin loopy!

Borrowing my dad’s extra car for the duration of my vacation, I surprised the hell out of my family by sneaking up and coming in to my grandmother’s house with a “So what’s for dinner?” My grandmother looked like she was seeing a ghost. So did my mom – for about 5 seconds. Her first words: “So were you lying to me the whole time?”

Yes. Yes I was. And it was worth it.

The rest of my vacation home was spent in a frenzy of meetups with friends, a party, and being sick and snowed into 10″ (25cm) of snow.I had brought two suitcases nestled inside each other, few clothes (I bought more when I was home since I needed to anyway) and a backpack. I left with a full backpack, two at-weight-limit suitcases full of food, and even a third large slightly broken handbag my mom let me have just to transport all the stuff I bought. How all that food fit into my luggage- let alone into my apartment- is still a unbelievable feat of engineering.

I’ll finish up my second year in Korea in a week, sign a contract for my third (and, hopefully, my last)  year in Korea. My goals are to pay down my bills by whatever means necessary. If this means taking on another job, then gosh darnit, it will happen. I already want to play the stock market but there are some legalities preventing me at this moment, so until I figure that out, my dream of being a stock owner will have to wait. My credit card is nearly half paid off, my other credit card is down to a pittance to pay on it, and my college bills have recently seen some good money being put towards them. So I’m down from the 70k range of debt down to the 50k range, and my goal is to get into the 30k range by the end of THIS YEAR. Lofty…possibly doable, if I put my money where my mouth is. And stop helping out others financially quite as much as I have recently, which pains me but is necessary for my dreams. No worries though, I’ll keep supporting the people I want to help in other ways, like helping them find job/money opportunities and such.

My other New Year’s resolution? Get my butt back to learning more Japanese speaking! Jeez, I even brought back my old language CDs plus have a few other ways, I have no excuse! And, Tetsuji has shown me that if I don’t use it,  I’ll lose it. So I’m trying to speak a little around the house, to no one in particular. Wish me luck. Oh yeah, and Malena bird is doing well. Happy that I brought her a good amount of millet home from the USA.

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | August 14, 2013

Help my friend, please.

She needs to get to the other side of the country for the forseeable future. Her shot of getting out of poverty just got completely taken away due to another person’s mental illness – completely out of her control. She now needs to go live with a friend but that means money, and she’s down to .30 in her pocket.

http://www.gofundme.com/3×6130

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | April 16, 2013

Religion and Terrorism

Today I woke up, slightly in a bad mood due to a little annoying dream plus lack of sleep due to a stupid cough I still have after my last cold a few weeks ago. It limits my sleep, no matter how early I go to bed.  I was also excited because I can start my TEFL today, more info on that later.  I was going to write a post about it today but I’m too angry to see straight. 

I woke up, showered, turned on the computer and saw the bad news about the Boston Marathon potential terrorist attack. 

I was horrified. I have a friend in Boston, although he wasn’t anywhere near the scene.  The fact that people were just running for whatever personal reason, trying to be healthy, and BAM. Attacks that can leave some of them from ever running again just sickens me. Then, a group I subscribe to posted this video on twitter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW4x5COCpmo

I couldn’t even make it through the 50% part. It’s set. I am an atheist. I am a PROUD atheist who will TAKE DOWN religion in my own little way. I will use all the wits and proof I have to make sure that people realize that religion is a virus that must be eradicated.  I don’t even care who knows right now – mother, father, grandparents. Religion must be made history as fast as possible. 

Fuck Christianity. Fuck Jesus and God.

Fuck Islam. Fuck Mohammad. Fuck Allah

These two plagues are the first that need to be wiped out ASAP.  Don’t like my words? Wanna punish me?  Kill me? THAT is why your religion needs to die. 

 

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | April 15, 2013

Addiction to gaming

I haven’t updated since November. Why? Well, an addiction to gaming has kept me from doing so, plus the fact that this blog isn’t all that high on my priority list. I do it because sometimes my family reads it, sometimes it’s just to remember what has happened as my memory for the past is near nonexistent after 3 years or so.

So, this post will be about what happened over the winter, as best as I can remember it.

Christmas was nice, I got to spend it with my family over Skype.  I was a disembodied phone to them. To me, it was almost like being right back there.  I got to see them open my gifts, which had come just in time for my mother to wrap them (I wrapped hers so she didn’t know, but didn’t have enough wrapping paper or room in the box for wrapped up gifts). My niece got a Korean alphabet book, a cool pencil case, and a whole, real Hanbok. I gave my mother a small mother-of-pearl box, and my grandmother some fun slippers and hair pins.  My brothers and dad and grandfather got some interesting Korean snacks (including dried fish and squid).

January, I saved money like crazy, knowing what was coming in February. I went to New Zealand.

It was fun, and pretty relaxing as I stayed with a friend, she drove everywhere, met other friends of ours, and hung out. We went up to see Matamata (AKA Hobbiton), a white sand beach and a black sand beach,  through mountain ranges and right by a volcano. We hit Rotorua, Wellington and Weta Workshops “cave”, and we stayed with her family friends in a few places as well just outside of towns we were visiting, and we even did some couchsurfing.

I ate. Lots. Insanely lots. My friends fed me to the point where I was sick of food.  Holy cow did I find I missed really real french fries.  Meat pies. Sushi. Real fresh beef. Huge bars of chocolate. Unpasturized milk. The list went on and on. Upon coming home, I seriously didn’t eat much except chips for the day.

Upon coming home, I also met a friend who had just moved to Hamyang, she was in town for only another night or two, and we had been talking on Youtube comments for a little while before she did. She had just married a man in this town and was moving here for that. We went out, but everything was closed so we didn’t get to do too much. Just look at her new apartment and take a walk around town.  That’s it for this post. Next – start of the school year, more recent events, and more food recipies!

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | November 24, 2012

Some great days!

Admittedly, I’ve had a tough week, until yesterday which happened to be Friday, and also happened to be Thanksgiving, sorta – at least, the morning of Friday was Thursday food time in America. All of the English teachers in and around Hamyang got together into one of teacher’s apartments which happened to be a little larger than the norm. Some people brought bread, cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, mac and cheese, and even stuffing. I brought pumpkin pie and some honey turkey slices – which happened to be the only turkey at the party so it went over really well. The party lasted well beyond 11pm, when i finally left, and a great time was had by all! I also discovered a coffee shop below one of the teachers’s apartments that was owned by a Italian guy I – astoundingly – already knew about from a message I had gotten only days earlier. Italian guy in Hamyang who happened to be a Couchsurfer, whom a friend of his had found me through the site, then I happen to go to his cafe I was told about only days earlier like I said. Strange how the world works.
The next day, things got even better. I had been having an off and on minor headache/toothache that was annoying but bearable -but I hadn’t been to a dentist in almost two years. A year before coming to Korea, because i had no dental insurance and nowhere near enough money for a basic cleaning, much less the one or two cavities I knew that needed fillings. And then, being uncomfortable with finding a dentist here in Korea when I didn’t know if they could speak English, gave me more pause. So i waited until they became a problem, which in this last week had just started showing signs of doing so. So, I asked the English teachers in the area, one was recommended for me whom spoke basically decent English, and I went in today (Saturday!) and got an immediate appointment. I was concerned about money, because it was not the 25th so I had no money yet to pay. He waved it off, and said “don’t worry about it”. After a small consultation, he informed me that I had SIX cavities (Oh god. I knew about two, thought by now I’d have three, but SIX?)  Four on one side, two on the other. He said he could fix the ones on the left side first, all at once, and I said OK. He did the work and it seems to be okay (My mouth is still adjusting). I needed no numbing agent, he just had me raise my hand if I felt pain. I felt very little pain – less than I remembered from having two cavities a long time ago. I was surprised when it was done.
Then, the dentist asked, very politely, if I could help him with a personal issue. I know, you think “What….” considering the words sound rather strange in such a context and us Americans would automatically think “what does he wanna do with me” in a sexual context, but this is Korea – and people wanna study their English. Badly. So when i get asked a question such s that, I know immediately that it is because people want help with their English. I agreed, and went into his office with him, where we sat down at a computer and TV setup, and he pulled out detailed, DETAILED notes, all in English. The notes were about videos, and until the videos started, I wasn’t sure what the notes were about. Turns out, they are the English words from Discovery Health and BBC scientific shows. This man listens to those shows and writes down every single word he hears. However, there were of course bits and pieces that he couldn’t understand – but VERY few. I was amazed. So what he wanted from me was to clear up the words so he could hear them properly. I did so of course- this man had just given me the USA equivalent of $800 worth of dental services – for FREE! So if he wanted a trade of my English services for his services….uh, NO PROBLEM. * (I just need to make a little note here, that I was not paid for my service, and it was not set up prior. It was goodwill traded for goodwill only and it would have been insanely rude of me to not help the man. This note is provided for those who may say I’ve done something illegal, but in this case, I was not paid so it is not.) *
I still have two more teeth to fill, and so I intend to go back next weekend and if he needs more help, I’ll provide it.  I am really surprised that there is not much in the way of English speaking opportunities for adults in Hamyang. The hagwons are for kids here, not adults. So the adults must trade services or perhaps innocently ask questions on the street. If you’re new to Korea – be aware. People will suddenly start talking to you in English, and all they want to do, seriously ALL they want to do, is use their English. Us USA people would be very scared, and trust me, I still am (I AM from one of the two most dangerous cities in the USA) but I am slowly learning that I don’t need to automatically think that these people wanna “get with me” or distract me into a dangerous scenario.

Anyway, after making a quick stop at the Kimo mart to grab some “weekend food” (Junk food. Yeah, after the dentist. Smart, I know). Two bags of chips and a milk soda. And that’s when my favorite cashier told me that I had accumulated the points needed to get the 5000 won discount. So a 5200 won bill became 200 won. Nice! I go home, and check the normal things, facebook, etc. Then I got curious to know how much I had in my account (Which I knew was less than 13000 won) and discovered that I’ve been paid 2 days early!

This past two days has been Win.

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | October 3, 2012

Busy hasn’t described my past few weeks.

I’m not gonna say “I’ve been busy”. No. That doesn’t describe it nearly correctly. Truthfully, since I returned from Japan my life has been rather crazy, flipped around, and put back upside down. Emotionally. It’s been constrained time-wise at work, and at home I’ve spend many of my night in World of Warcraft. Then, a recent emotional upset, training that I need to do, financial worries for the third month in a row, and trying to plan for future pretty much barely describes the past weeks since my last post. So, let me update you all a little.
When I got back from Japan, I was on an emotional HIGH. Seeing the places which I had wanted to see, eating the food that I have never found to be anything less than amazing, meeting the friend I’ve known for somewhere around 10 years…to say the least, I was energized to make a big life change and finally commit to learning Japanese properly for an eventual move there.
School started again, and after the first week, everything settled again into place. I told my co-teacher that I decided to learn Japanese and wanted to move there in a few years, after Korea. She surprised the hell out of me when she said she wanted to learn Japanese too. We instantly started making plans to teach ourselves Japanese with the help of my friend in Japan. He agreed to help us, and bam, a plan was formed.
In the meantime, we had only two weeks to do four weeks worth of learning for the entire school. We all went into zoom mode, making chapter-wide lesson plans to fit within 45 minutes and a revelation hit me on how to exert better control over the kids and give the teachers the time they so desperately needed. I started the new system the next week, and all but two classes have responded quite well to it. It was a necessary change in order to teach what I needed to teach and allows me to punish in a way that I personally am comfortable with, and the other teachers are comfortable with. In the MEANTIME, I had to teach a class with the principal, vice principal, and all three English teachers there watching. I had to make up an exacting lesson plan, and do it to a T. Unfortunately, while I was OK going in, my nerves overcame me at first, but I think I rescued myself after a few minutes and got through the class okay. We shall see – the watchers and ratings they gave will determine if I have a job with EPIK next year, if I understand correctly.
The same week, the new expansion for World of Warcraft was released. I spent a week ahead of time, preparing my characters and farming for herbs and ore, not so I could play, but to put up on the auctionhouse so others could buy it. I wasn’t able to play the new part of my game myself due to the next issue.
I was completely and totally out of money. Back a few weeks ago, I ended up in the hospital 4 times in four days due to an extreme pain in my side (So bad that one of the days, I was throwing up due to the pain). While I have insurance which pays 50%, the other 50% when I only had an extra $200 in my account I had just barely started to save up, well that sure didn’t help matters. Not only did I have to pay that, but I had to pay to go to Jinju for extra testing, Xray, CT scan, Ultrasound, till they found the issue. Kidney stones. I then had to bring out my maxed credit card to pay for it since I had just spent my last $200 on the last 3 days in the hospital, and of course I have to pay all of it off Now since the card was maxed. Add that onto the $200 phone bill I had from needing it in Japan, and yeah. Out of money. I had to borrow some just to have food money. So after I got paid again, paid off the phone bill, electric, etc and borrowed money and sent the money I needed to the USA account, I then had to save $500 so I can go on a trip to Seoul later this month for mandatory training. Which means…I have a total of $46 to last me one month. That’s for food. $46. It’s October 3rd and I’ve spent $26 already. I still have to have money to get to Seoul. Yeah this isn’t gonna work. Hence financial worries. I’ll have to borrow again.
Then, to the last two days. found out an old roommate of mine committed suicide. AND I found out I had to do a lot of online training before I go to Seoul…and I’m a little behind. AND I am still trying to learn Japanese and Korean at the same time.
I’ll see you all in a month. That is when I think I’ll be able to post again, and have some interesting things to talk about from my training in Seoul.

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | August 19, 2012

First thing I do when I come home:

First thing I do when I get home from my whirlwind tour?
I help a friend try to get her car repaired so she can start college and get to her job(s). Help me help her!

http://www.gofundme.com/12bk98

Posted by: ruralkorealiving | July 26, 2012

Jirisan Park and soon to come Korea/Japan vacation!

My newest video: Jirisan Park with my co-workers. This is an unlisted video due to the people I am showing in it. http://youtu.be/pL33h-KD5AU No need to explain the video here, I explain it all at the end of the video.

As far as other things, I am planning a huge trip around Korea and Japan! My coworker from one of my last jobs, someone whom I’ve worked with for 5+ years, will be coming to Korea and Japan with me. Here’s the general layout for those who care.
Seoul 3 days
Yeosu (Expo)/ Suncheon 2.5 days
Busan 2 days
Hiroshima 2 days
Kyoto 2 days
Tokyo 2 days
—–
Then we come home, however Janet stays in my town for 5 more days total and goes home at that point. Quite the whirlwind tour of Korea and Japan, don’t you think? Obviously, I’ve been staying home, doing very little in order to save up for this trip. That’s why there’s been no posts, nothing to comment on! And there probably won’t be another post until after the vacation too. No worries, pictures galore will be posted on various sites and linked here so you can see everything. I’ll even take some practical “how to get around” pictures for all you noobs like me out there.

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