Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What? I'm actually moving to Ukraine?

I spent the day running around, trying to take care of a bunch of stuff before I leave for Ukraine. Its scary to think that I'm actually moving my life from here in the United States to way over there! Taking care of these seemingly everyday things like my bank account and phone just makes it seem more real that I'm leaving... It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm leaving for Staging in a week!

I've been trying to close my Wachovia bank account every day this week. I was actually told over the phone by a customer representative that I could not simply just transfer the funds in my account to my Wells Fargo account, they recommended that I just withdraw all the funds and deposit it into my Wells Fargo account then call them back again and try to close my account. Thats what I was hoping that they could do with a few clicks of the mouse! This bank is ridiculous. Ever since it merged with Wells Fargo, the people at the local Wells Fargo here in California cannot access my Wachovia account - simply for the fact that it has not yet been "converted" over to Wells Fargo. Apparently they started "converting" accounts in California and are gradually working their way to the east coast, but I opened my Wachovia account in North Carolina so mine won't be "converted" until December 2011 or something equally ridiculous.

I also suspended my Verizon cell phone and cell phone number today. Call me selfish, but I've had the same cell phone number for 6 years (while I've lived in 4 different states). So I really want to keep my same old number. Luckily, Verizon allowed me to just suspend it for free under their military suspension policy. The down side to this is that I have to give up using my beloved blackberry and revert back to using the ghetto old Motorola RAZR. The up side to this is that it will mentally prepare me for using the even more old school Nokia phone (no color screen) while I'm in Ukraine.  

Side note~ I can't believe such a similar Nokia phone is listed on Amazon, the online reviews of it said it was only sold in developing countries... which means I guess Singapore is a developing country? They also sold the same exact phone in China for about the same price that I bought it for in Singapore.

At least the pink case makes the old school Nokia phone look cute next to my Blackberry.
I called United Airlines today to try to see if I could weasel my way into qualifying for the checked baggage fee waiver that they give to active military personnel.That didn't go very well, the representative that I spoke to over the phone flat out told me that the Peace Corps did not qualify and that my best bet would be to email their Customer Relations department and explain my situation. Plus I'm only flying United to DC for Staging, I've heard we are on Lufthansa for the flight overseas to Ukraine (meaning I don't qualify for their "international continuance" baggage policy). So this guy made it sound like it would be highly unlikely for them to grant me the fee waiver. Other PCVs in my group have also been trying to get the fee waivers with other airlines, but I don't think anyone has been successful yet. Maybe I'll just bring my official Invitation letter and some other official-looking documents to the airport with me and plead with the agents at the check-in counter at 5:30am to give me a fee waiver.
Here is something more exciting for you: I'm featured in the September issue of the Peace Corps San Francisco regional newsletter! Hooray for being a minority PCV and representing diversity.

Check out the original article here.
And just to remind you that Americans are the only ones that don't use the metric system, here is a fun comic from :) I'll have to get used to measuring things in meters, grams, and liters... so maybe my 2 calculators will come in handy after all!

I love xkcd comics about life, love and nerdy math jokes. The original comic can be found here .


Boston said...

So jealous you're so close to going! I got a one-line email from the placement office yesterday: "Are you able to swim?" Wtf? Am I going to be sent to an island? Madagascar maybe? Or maybe a place with frequent flooding? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?!! And I know they say this is the time to practice an important quality in a Peace Corps volunteer - PATIENCE - but OMG I just want to know where I'm going!!! Did you feel like this before you got your invitation?

Jing said...

Boston - wow that seems kind of random! Yeah, my placement officer asked me weird questions like "how do you feel about living in cold weather" or "how do you feel about living in a country where women aren't treated as equals in society". I definitely felt like I waited forever before I got my invitation, and I had no clue where I was going to be placed (I was just hoping for a country in Eastern Europe that didn't end with -stan). My suggestion to you is to post your comment about being asked if you know how to swim on the PeaceCorps2 Yahoo group forum, there are a lot of RPCVs that read that forum regularly and one of them may be able to answer your question better than I can... stay excited, I'm sure your Invitation will come soon!

Anonymous said...

are you able to use your Wells Fargo atm card in Ukraine? Does it change you any fees for withdrawing or depositing?

Jing said...

Hello, yes I am able to use my Wells Fargo ATM card in Ukraine, as long as the atm has the same logos that are listed on the card. However, I have not needed to use it yet since I have enough money for the moment from my Peace Corps stipend and from exchanging some USD in cash that I brought here with me. And yes, the atms charge a small fee for withdrawals. If you have more specific questions, I suggest that you ask someone who works for Wells Fargo because I am not sure exactly what the fee is.

katya said...

Thanks Jing, I was curious b/c my parents from Cherkassy are coming over to visit me in SF this summer (i'm a ukraininan native) and they were wondering what was the best way to bring in money with them.
I love your blog, i stumbled upon it and can't stop reading, it's bookmarked now. Have fun in UA and stay warm :)

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