This week and next I am back home with my family, spending time with them, with others back home, packing, and taking care of errands. The most common question seems to be, "So when are you leaving?"
Let me tell you, I would LOVE to know the answer to this question. I REALLY hope to leave on September 26th, but I'm waiting on some paperwork before I can finalize my travel plans. For those of you interested in governmental hoops, here is the process.
About a month ago, I received my contract and paperwork. I signed my contract (which was printed entirely in Japanese), and filled out about five immigration applications before I completed one without any mistakes. The application had to be on A4 paper, which is a different size than the regular 8 1/2 x 11, so I had to search through about 5 stores before I found a copy center that could print in that size. In addition to the application I had to send in my original official diploma, an original official transcript, four passport pictures (in a different size than our passport pictures so I had to have them taken and cut them down), a resume, a letter of recommendation from a past professor, and copies of my passport. I then had to mail everything to my employer in Japan, who submitted the packet to the local immigration office.
The immigration office has been reviewing my information for approximately three weeks. When they are finished (I hoped this week, but since it's already Friday there, it probably won't be) they will issue me a document called a Certificate of Eligibility. This certificate is basically permission from the Japanese government to work in Japan. After it is issued, the certificate will be sent to my employer in Japan, who will send it to me, here in the states.
After I get my Certificate in my hands, I have to submit it with my passport and another application to the Japanese embassy in the US. The closest embassy is in Houston, so I have the option of mailing it (and risking losing the Certificate and my passport in the mail) or taking it to Houston. The processing time there is about three or four business days, and then they will (FINALLY) issue me my visa.
Until I receive my passport (with my visa) back from the embassy I cannot (or should not) book my flight to Japan. SO. I say all of this to say that I cannot book my flight, and therefore know when exactly I am leaving until I obtain my visa. With the length of time that it has taken and will continue to take to get my visa, I may end up receiving my visa and booking my flight for only a few days later. I will let you know as the process progresses.
Until then, please pray for my patience as I continue to make preparations and trust that everything will come together in God's timing.
またね！(Talk to you later!)