Yesterday, I got permission to leave work at lunch (Monday being a good day since I have no classes after lunch) and run into Gwangju to go to the immigration office and try to at least get the routine visa-extension I need to be able to stay and finish out my current contract. The situation with the visa renewal for my new job is that they've basically told us (me and my new boss) that we were trying to get the renewal too soon.
Going to the Gwangju immigration office has a similar feel to a LA Westside DMV – right down to the demographics – very roughly: Koreans, some caucasians, assorted other Asians, some random Russians and eastern Europeans, a smattering of South Asians and Middle-Easterners. All that's missing is the Latin component, although the Filipinos stand in well for that. And all mired in impenetrable bureaucracy.
For once, something went right. I stayed very friendly, and started out meticulously polite in my fractured Korean. And after about an hour, I got my extension, although they felt compelled to call the Uijeongbu office (which is the parent office to the Ilsan office), which helped them exactly zero.
But… so now I'm good until I start my new contract, at which point I can play it again at the Ilsan immigration office, I guess.