Sunday, July 31, 2011

Newest Residents

So last weekend, Sidnei received a phone call at the awful hour of 9 AM. (Don't judge, it was the weekend, we are waking up every weekday at 5:30, k?) Generally my husband is one who loves to wallow in the bed until about 11 or so (stop judging)...but after this phone call, he jumps up, yells at me to "put some clothes on and get in the car". Curious enough to do this, but too sleepy to ask why, I did.

We get to the downtown of Ipatinga and we are looking for someone...who, I might ask? "A friend." Helpful.

We finally find this friend. He has a bag. With a box in it. When I open the bag, I discover the box also has holes, which I find alarming. So of course my immediate question is, "is there something alive in here"??? I guess I should have been asking, "was" ....Thankfully, despite our smart friend, no harm done. Everyone made it out alive.

Let me introduce you:

Here in Minas, we call them Chapinha. They are also known as CanĂ¡rio da terra . (At the top left of that page, you can switch it to English)
I'm not really a bird fan. I like to look at their natural habitat. They are beautiful. But in all honesty, I don't love them in cages. I feel really bad for them. At first they were really nervous. They seem to have adjusted. I have not...I don't know why birds make me nervous but they do. But when I call them now, they chirp at me, which I think is cute. And Sidnei loves his birds. He goes to them before he leaves for work and it's the first thing he comes to see when he gets home (because Im not home of course ;)). I've known for a while that he's been wanting birds, he's always liked them. I just didn't want to have to clean up after anything else. Of course he swears that will be his job. But ha. Just ha.

I want to name them. I can't think of any good names Any suggestions?

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's a LONG one.

So it's been a the better part of a year.


Let's start slowly okay? There's so much I need to tell you!

1. I started teaching kids at school and I LOVE IT. But it has kept me super, super busy (hence the lack of posting). I will do an entire separate post on that.

2. Sidnei started working with a company called Delta! It is a construction company that works all over Minas Gerais. Right now they are working here in Ipatinga at the steel company, Usiminas. His construction company did really well in the beginning, but towards the end of last year, things had started to slow down. Work wasn't coming in as quickly as before, creating a shortage of cash flow. So we started job searching (for him).
It took a while, but thank goodness we waited! It was really an answer to our prayers! He is a supervisor, which means no more heavy physical labor for him. That took some getting used to for him since now he stands around watching everyone else do it, but he seems to be adjusting just fine! Also he works from 7-5. Another blessing since the other jobs we were looking at had around the clock shifts. Meaning one shift from 7am-3pm, another from 3pm-11pm, and the over night shift from 11pm-7am.
He has already started receiving great feedback from his managers. Last Friday, they pulled him aside and congratulated him on what a great job he is doing. The safety employees from Usiminas told his bosses at Delta, that in his areas (he has more than one) they are the most well kept and without safety violations. He was so proud of himself, it was so cute! And I was proud of him too! Of course, he humbly told his bosses, that it was the men who worked for him (which he absolutely means, but you could totally see the pride beaming out of him).

3. Why in the world haven't I come home yet??
Can I just say, what a nightmare the process for receiving my permanent residency has been? *sigh* The first thing is that, when you come here, all American documents have to first be sent to the Brazilian consulate, so they can put a (very expensive) sticker on it, saying that it is, in fact, a legal document.
To apply for residency one must have an FBI record stating that you are not a criminal. I forgot to get it stickered. It only lasts for 90 days and therefore expired. The process to ask for an FBI record is fairly simple. You need to get fingerprinted and send it in. However, the police here did NOT want to fingerprint me. The FBI form for some reason scared them, no matter how much I tried to reassure. So Sidnei and I did it at home. Let me tell you, it is REALLY hard to fingerprint someone. Who knew? The prints got rejected twice and finally accepted a third time. (all those tries took almost a year! The FBI waits at least 12 weeks before they give you a response, not to mention, postal time...the mail here is S L O W)

So that was the first thing. After finally getting the FBI thing straight, I went to the Federal Police (they are the ones you register with). Everything went really great! I got my temporary documents and I was waiting for them to come visit my home. You have to have a home interview to prove that you are living together and are in a real relationship (since my request for permanent residency is based on Sidnei). While waiting, I received a letter stating my documents had a name discrepancy. So the very long short version is...the marriage certificate here in Brazil is used as a type of identification for lots of different, banks, opening accounts, etc. When you receive a marriage certificate here, it comes with your married name. In South Carolina, my marriage certificate had my maiden name, and then I used the certificate to change my name. Which means, now, all my documents except my marriage certificate had my married name.

I tried explaining why. They didn't care. They told me to call the US and have them change my marriage certificate (I laughed). Then they told me to have the catorio (the place where you get married, register children, register marriage, etc) change it, except they don't really have the authority to change documents. So you can see what a trial this has been. I have been running around for the better part of a month (I had a 30 day deadline to resolve this) explaining this situation to sooooo many people (the catorio, the Brazilian consulate in the US, the American consulate in Brazil, the Federal Police, anybody who will listen, etc etc). When I told the Federal Police that I was a foreigner and my documents were different, they told me that it didn't matter, I was asking for Brazilian documents and it needed to be what they wanted. I was miffed. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth (poor Sidnei). In the end, the catorio finally helped me (after long hours spent in their office...and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth). They sent a letter to the judge asking permission to change my Brazilian marriage certificate (just the translated version) based on a bunch of other documents proving I am who I say I am. They then gave me a declaration telling the Federal Police what they were doing (since my deadline was 2 days away and the response from the judge would take a couple of weeks).

Well so I went to the Federal Police on Wednesday. The girl that I normally work with (whom I am so very fond of...) was sick or on vacation or just didn't want to talk to me, who knows. So I was dealing with a different guy. So I once again explained my long, drawn out explanation. And do you know what? He said, "no problem". Let's take a copy of your original, of your old and new social security cards (thank goodness I had them), and that should be enough for Brasilia (the nation's capital). After picking my jaw up off the floor, I asked if my process would continue without a problem. He said yes! The only thing is the Federal Police would need to come back to my house to do my interview again (they came last Thursday)since I wasn't home. I needed to be there (they spoke with my sister in law and Sidnei). For real? All that drama? For nothing. The biggest problem here is that depending on who you speak to, is how your process goes. It's really very frustrating. But thankfully now, things are moving forward! Let's hope they come to visit me sooner rather than later. The first visit took a little over two I hope they come back soon!

So basically I was on vacation this week, but really I wasn't since I spent all week in government offices trying to get this taken care of. I'm sad my week is gone, but glad things are going to be okay. I start school again on Monday. I had a LONG meeting yesterday for school and got my slam packed schedule! So I will be spending the weekend planning classes!

Oh, and I am trying to come home in February. I am planning to go back to the Federal Police to ask for special permission to travel, depending on where my documents are. Let's hope they are sympathetic! Pray for open hearts, this girl misses you all so much!

I promise I have lots of posts coming up for you! Sorry I disappeared! Anyone still out there??