In Seoul Nobody Can Hear You Scream

When I originally flew out for Korea I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t depend on any older family friends or relatives.  I felt like there was some point to be proven about going it alone.  I guess it was kinda arbitrary since “the American way” relies no less on connections to grease the wheels (hence my joining ToastMasters), but the cultural/generational divide was one I’d rather not cross if I could help it.

Well, so much for that resolution: my mom totally had to call an old friend of hers who lives in Seoul to help me out with this Alien Registration Card thing.  Then again, things only got this complex because of what my parents did before I was even born.  Or more correctly, what they didn’t do, which was renounce their Korean citizenship at the time they were naturalized in the US.

Not that they’re at fault here – they were serving in the US army at the time so it was reasonable to expect that Uncle Sam would have guided them through the process better; either having the state department automatically notify the Korean government, or prompting my parents to perform the renunciation as a separate procedure from the swearing in.

Fast forward 35 years, and the government records still show my dad as being a Korean citizen, which means technically I’m not eligible for the ARC.  Which is to say I might become classified as illegal for not being alien enough; an inversion on the American paradigm I might find fascinating if the word deportation didn’t have such an unpleasant taste about it.

Anyway, the immigration office said they will be satisfied if I can produce proof that my dad was a US citizenship at the time of my birth, which would make things OK if we’d hadn’t tossed out all his papers in the 19 years since he passed away.

So now I gotta hit the US embassy tomorrow morning to see if they can provide some sort of verification.  I figure it’s the least they owe my dad who not only served but is technically a Vietnam vet (admittedly that was while serving in the ROK army), so they should consider themselves lucky to be dealing with as benign a form of dysfunction as some overdue paperwork.

Anyway, I really hope this saga wraps up by tomorrow (but not counting on it) cause I just hate it when an already-bloated trilogy stretches out gratuitous into a tetralogy*…

-Dave

*quadrilogy is, apparently, not the correct word – it is also the least wrong thing about the film Alien Resurrection

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