I’ve hit that point, folks. I’m at that pre-adventure breaking point, as I described to my friend Carla, “where the excitement and stress combine to make one angsty, tear-filled night.” I’ve spent the past few days trying to get things figured out–geographically, financially, emotionally–and have ignored the fact that I’m not making as much progress in any of those areas as I should be.

Until now.

With Tuesday being my last weekday off until I finish my contract, I had planned to get some of the official-document stuff out of my way. I subwayed an hour into Itaewon, where I met with my travel agent (because I’m a 60-year-old woman) to get my visa for Vietnam. She said all I needed was a picture and 80 bucks. No prob, Bob. Until I realized I didn’t have any ID-size photos left. Seoul subway stations are littered with tiny photo booths (likely just for serving all of the cheap, ill-prepared expats), so I figured I’d save money by not having to go to the Kodak store and shell out $15 for four photos that take an hour to develop.

Then I realized the Itaewon station doesn’t have a photo booth. What the hell, right?

By the time I realized this, it was too late. I’d already made plans for a goodbye lunch with my friend Alex. We settled down on the patio at Le Saint-Ex and enjoyed the lunch set (delicious and only slightly too pricey). A bottle of wine later, I spoke to a friend who told me to head to the photo booth-equipped Yaksu subway station, about 10 minutes away from Itaewon. Tipsy as hell, I agreed, but only because he told me he would pick me up from Yaksu and drive me back to Itaewon on his motorbike.

An hour later, I was back in Itaewon, chatting it up with my travel agent, Bona. She looked through my passport and told me the last thing I wanted to hear. I had run out of pages for a visa to fit on. Apparently, all of the pages in the damn thing have some sort of stamp or visa on them already, and the Vietnamese visa will take up an entire page. So before I can get my visa (which can take up to nine days), I need to go to the U.S. embassy in Jongno to get extra pages put into my passport. Of course, I haven’t got another weekday off from work, and the embassy isn’t open on weekends. Not sure how I’m going to make that one work, but I need to figure out something fast. Hoping for a break in next week’s schedule that will allow me the couple hours I need to get down to the embassy. Barring that, I may have to mail my passport and hope the Korean mail system is foolproof. (And yes, I’m realizing the absurd–but note, unintentional– bitchiness that must drip from this last paragraph. “My life is so hard because I have too many stamps in my passport.” I get it. I acknowledge it. Whatever. It remains unintentional. All joking aside, I need to figure out what to do, or else I’m pretty effed.)

Earlier today, Erin and I headed to the local bank to send money home for the first time. Yes, it’s been 11 months and I haven’t sent a single dime back to my Bank of America account. I’ve been hoarding my won, hoping for significant movement with the exchange rate. But, of course, no dice, and I lost 20 percent of what I transferred in the exchange process. Damn you, Korean won. Early on in our friendship, Lauren weighed her wealth in burritos. And I quote: “My bank account only has about 7 burritos left.” Well, suffice it to say I lost out on about 140 burritos. I repeat, damn you, Korean won.

In the midst of all this craziness (plus pre-packing, looking up flights, figuring out what I’m going to do for however many weeks in Southeast Asia, etc.), I realized I need to get my bank card situation sorted out. My Bank of America card expired in March, and I never saw the need to renew it until a couple months ago, when I realized that I would be transferring a large sum of money into my American account and needed a way to access that while traveling. The stress of activating the damn card (though not really doing it myself, what with being on the other side of the world and all), the Bank of America customer service run-around (thankfully put to an end an hour ago by Mario) and all of the other things that accumulated over the past few days–well, it took me to that breaking point I began the post with.

My voice started to crack as I finished up my first Bank of America call tonight, and I knew it was all downhill from there. A subsequent Skype argument with the parentals only led to my own self-diagnosis–a  case of the pre-adventure freakouts. Haven’t felt this way in a long time, and to have these feelings again is akin to running into that catty, bitchy girl from high school. You know exactly what’s gonna happen, you know it’s gonna be painful, but you also know that it’s a fleeting thing that you can forget about soon after.

So for now, it’s 1 a.m. here in Seoul. In eight hours, I’ll be teaching Bank class, entirely aware of the irony of the situation. But the freaking out has ceased, hopefully for a long time, and that’s about all I can ask for right now.

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