Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dogs and Deportation

Monday marked the end of my week of vacation and the return to work. Blech. It also turned into one of those days.

Just before I left for work I got a call from my mom - her dog got hit by a car and died. She lives alone and is on disability, so it's not just a dog, it's a full on member of the family. I'll miss him, he was cute, if a little "special" at times. Bye, Chance.

Then I get to work and find out I might be getting deported. Yup.

Here's what happened: I went looking for additional employment, because with the decrease pay from not wanting to teach five year olds and the exchange rate dropping like mad, I'm pulling in at most $1000 a month before bills. Sucky. So I have been told that while private lessons are always illegal, you can work a second job if your first job says it is okay.

I found a job online, sent my resume, and they called and set up an interview for that night. I went and they asked me to work the next day. I did for a couple of hours and then again the next day tutoring some kids in math who want to study in the States. I was supposed to work two days later, on Sunday, editing and helping a kid with college admission essays, but emailed them and told them I couldn't work for them anymore. The place felt really sketchy and didn't sit well with my instincts, as well as it took me an hour and a half to get there and the woman was a really demanding shrew.

I get a call from the company on Sunday out of nowhere - I worked for them mid-December - and they tell me that immigration came when they weren't there and took a bunch of documents, including the one I had filled out. They told immigration I had never worked for them, just came to see it and left, and to tell them the same or I would be deported. So when I got to work the next morning and my Korean boss told me immigration called and asked me if I've ever worked for this place and I said no. I talked to my American boss soon after that and she agreed to keep denying it since the company lied to immigration and I was paid in cash and all.

So then it turns out I had to go to immigration that day and could get deported. I went with my Korean boss, who didn't speak to me at all for the half hour drive nor for the twenty minutes we were waiting for a parking spot. Then we go in and the floor we got off on says "Investigation Unit." They lead us to this room that has a heavy metal door with a bar across it that can bolt me in, bars on the windows, and the overhead lights aren't on. (There was enough light from the windows to see, but the atmosphere was a nice set up). The translator they gave me has English about as good as my boss at best, which is not much better than my Japanese...that I studied for two years about eleven years ago. This helps the situation, of course.

They ask if I recognize the picture of the lady, and they were shifting through an inch thick pile of papers off all these other foreign teacher's paperwork. Then they asked if I had taught mathematics, and I said they wanted me to but I didn't. (Technically, true). Then I'm told that if I'm lying I will face confinement (I assumed prison) and deportation, and that the lady told them I worked for them on these two days for two hours each day. So I told them that they called me on Sunday and told me to lie to them about if I had worked for them or not and then came clean. I then had to write out a statement and was told that I would not have to leave the country but would have to pay a penalty and could not leave the country until I paid it and the investigation was over. Now, this other guy talked in Korean for a good half hour and that was the extent of what I was told, so who knows what the hell is going on. I asked my boss when we got back in the car if that meant I wasn't getting deported and she said she didn't know, and then didn't talk to me again. It would have been nice for her to tell me what was going on.

On the plus side I made my decision a week or two ago that I'm coming home early, so getting deported didn't worry me as much as it might have other people. I really hate teaching and loathe going to work everyday, and this has been a very long three months. I think I would suffer through it if I was making more, but I made more than this while a student and working part time, which is not worth staying in a job I hate. I was planning to come back at the end of March at six months, but now who knows if it'll be even sooner.

It's been an interesting experience at least, right? I'll keep you guys posted.

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