Um dia de inverno em Brasilia

It’s winter break for the whole month of July. As usual, it seems, I didn’t know when would the children be off school, and for how long. Parents were not given a calendar at the beginning of school year, you understand, that would be too simple, too organized. What would be the point of it, anyway, if everyone in town (except the lone foreigner -me-)  knows everything about everyone?

On other news, we finally drove the whole family to Brasilia one day before the winter break. We all need to have our Canadian passports renewed before our other (Canadian) supporting documents expire too. Sigh. My Ontario driver’s license is about to expire in September and that stresses me out to no end because I’ve been REFUSED the exchange to the Brazilian driver’s license. Their reason? I don’t have the EXACT same last name on all my supporting documents; in some documents I have my maiden name, in some others I have my married name, and in others yet I have a combination of both. Apparently it’s all very confusing and showing the marriage certificate is not enough. I was told to show my Canadian passport with the stamp of entry into Brazil. Considering that I entered the country with my French passport and that have my permanent visa on that same passport, and that I have already shown all these documents (original and copies), the document they are asking for now DOES NOT EXIST. So yes, I am a little stressed about all this. If we stay in Brazil I will probably need to go through driving instruction all over again, but if we move back to Canada, could we please do that before SEPTEMBER??? Ha ha (?). Uh. (Frankly, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. It’s quite ridiculous.)

The two hours drive to Brasilia was uneventful. The countryside and the city are quite beautiful, but unfortunately, since it was our first time driving there ourselves, the beauty of our surroundings was a bit lost on us. Brazilians have had the genius idea (sarcasm) of not naming any avenue of their capital (except one, I think). So we were looking for the L4 bypass and the 234 entry and the C3 block. Nothing was clearly indicated anywhere, or when it was, oops we just missed it! We had planned our trip to the consulate thinking that if we didn’t succeed with the paperwork at least we’d know where to go for the next time… because I indeed foresee many more trips in the near future.

Our first order of business was to find a photographer to have our passport pictures taken (because there is no such thing as a photographer in our town) (middle of nowhere, I’m telling you.) Seeing on the map that there is a shopping mall right across the embassy district in Brasilia, I thought, well, there probably would be a photographer there, right!? (RIGHT!?!) Wrong! Who am I kidding, I’ve been living in Brazil for four years, I should know better. In all the Brazilian logic (or lack thereof), there was (obviously?) no photographer in that shopping mall. So we drove across the avenue to ask directions at the Canadian embassy (thankfully the guards were all very kind), then drove some more across the city center, got lost a bit, found another (bigger) mall, had our pictures taken, did some much needed “retail therapy”, had lunch (the kids were overjoyed with their very first Happy Meal, sigh, don’t judge ‘k?), and finally headed back to the embassy.

Got lost some more on our way there.

Somehow found our way again.

And then, we waited for the lunch break to be over in front of the embassy. The time stood still for a little while, we were in a bubble of happiness because the place was quiet, stress free, and the weather just perfect.

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ô Canada!
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across the street we can see the Paranoá lake
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the artificial lake and the useless shopping mall
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beautiful trees (and my favorite one) 😉
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the embassy is over there (electronics were not allowed inside)
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trees, shades and the lake

The rest of the affair, paperwork, payment (sh*tload of cash) and all, went quite smoothly. The person in charge of the consulate services at the embassy seemed quite efficient and was remarkably trilingual (English, French and Portuguese). It’s so rare to find in this country that I had to point that out.

So after all was done, we drove back home. And now we wait.

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6 comentários sobre “Um dia de inverno em Brasilia

  1. So in new news, I won’t be getting my license here any time soon either. Why? Because on my carteiro de estrangeiros, they listed my maiden name. I pointed that out to them when they ordered the card and they said, “no problem!” (typical). I even said, as I signed the card with my married name, “Don’t you think that will be a problem?” I was told to just return with my marriage certificate and they would issue a new card. And when I did that, they instead provided me a huge list of things I had to do (including pay almost R$300 in taxes and fees) AND I needed to register my marriage here, which would cost around R$800. It turns out they issued my permanent visa on the basis of having Brazilian children, rather than my marriage to a Brazilian. Yet on all OTHER Brazilian documents, they list my married name. It’s all coming up pizza or something right? OH BRAZIL, YOU SILLY GOOSE. *daily exasperated sigh*

    • This situation stinks on all sides. I don’t like to throw conspiracy theories around but your experience and mine sound like there is a big problem about granting driver’s license to foreigners. Do they want to extract as much money as possible from us (because we must be rich?)? Or do they think that their superior driving skills will have us feel intimidated? Or is it the wonderful state of their roads that is just too (ahem, *cough*) magnificent for us, mere foreigners, to use? 😉 (Not to mention that I’m driving illegally anyway, and I’m not the only one, foreign or not).

      • I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory at all. We also had to pay over R$300 to get birth certificates issued in Brazil for the kids. They already had birth certificates that we received from the embassy in NYC, but we were told those aren’t valid in country. Uh….what? They can get passports with them but not IDs? Yep. We had to get the new birth certificates for them to get any type of ID, SUS card, register for school, etc.

  2. Wow, the boys are so tall! Cute too 😉

    I was laughing all the way through the article, it sounded so much like what I, the ignorant foreigner, called “Brazilian nonsense”! Of course, it makes perfect sense for locals. Just not outsiders. Strange. Brazil to me is a weird mix of efficiency yet complete “what the&&?%” moments.

Oi! Tudo bom?

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