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.
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.