I decided that Thursday would be the day I would go for my Alien Registration Card. My co-teacher was worried about who would teach her classes, so I told her I would go by myself (because I am so tough!). I had seen this Alien Registration Card mentioned many times in the plethora of handbooks we were given. I read chapters from about 7 different books, searched the Internet for information about the Alien Registrantion Card process here in Seoul, and talked it over extensively with a couple of Guest English teachers who had, that day, just gone through the process.
I made my list of required documents and memorized (and wrote down) my way on the subway. Green Line to Purple line, exit Omokgyu. Walk straight for ten minutes and you run right into it. But then, becuase I had studied the maps for so long, I saw that a leg of the green line, also takes you really close to the Seoul Immigration Center. The center looked like it was situated directly in the middle of the two places. Because I get lost so easily though, I decided to go green to purple like everyone else did.
Thursaday morning, I dutifully grabbed all my prepared documents and my subway map, exit circled in black sharpie, and set out on my way. I have not actualy been on the subway since I arrived at this place, so my first adventure was just to walk to the subway station. My neighborly English teachers, who use the subway every day, assured me that it was just a straight walk up the main street and there it would be. So I set out and immediately felt worried. As I was walking tentatively toward the station with an air of fake self-confidence, I spotted a man wheeling a rather large suitcase, wearing a heavy-looking backpack, and carrying a bag of stuff. I knew in my gut that man was headed for the subway and decided to follow him. He was wheeling that suitacase so carefully through the messed up sidewalks that characterize this part of Seoul, I was certain that I could keep up with him easily. However, I was wrong. I had to walk pretty fast and he was still ahead of me and getting further ( I might have broken a sweat). Fortunately, the street lights were long, so every block or so, I had the chance to catch up. After about 7 minutes, we arrived at the Subway entrance. First mission complete.
I read the signs and figure out which direction to go on the green line. I am now safely on the subway and I am going the correct direction. Second mission complete. I know this subway goes all the way to the purple line, where I am going to switch and then get off on Omogkyo. I am so good. But then there is this announcement that this is the last stop on the line (what?). Everyone gets off, and I get off too (and I panic). I am at a big station, but its the blue line connection. I follow the mass of people and then realize that it isn't going to work. And here is where I make my mistake, rather than get back on another green line going the same direction, I get on the green line that I think will take me on the other side of the Seoul Immigration Office. I get on the green subway, going the right direction, and feel better. I take the proper exit, and am a little worried, but I follow the crowd and exit just fine. Third obstacle overcome.
As I exit the station, I refer to my map. I see the station and see the general direction of the Seoul Immigration Center and then I see a sign, in English! I love how they are not hiding the ball here in Seoul. So, even though I see that this arrow is pointing the opposite way from where the office is on the map, I go left. (The map was free anyway and don't they always say, you get what you pay for?) I am a little nervous about this decision, but then I see another sign with another arrow. I see some other people who look like immigrants, also confused, follow the signs and I am feeling better and better about my decision.