We'd had a tough start. The first time around I'd asked Valmir to call thinking that I'd need Portuguese help. After he started to speak in Portuguese, he said, "Yes I do speak English." He was given the Consulate Officer's specific phone number to call. We tried but had no answer.
For days I'd call and call and he wouldn't answer his phone.
I tried calling the main Embassy number. The one time I did get through, the secretary answered the phone in English and told me to call back after 9 a.m. I had called around 8:45 (they open at 8:30). Then I continued to call and get a busy signal over and over and over. Their officer is open from 8:30 - 1 and then 2 - 4:00. The Consulate division is open 9 - 11:30 daily. Um...so if you're phone's busy all morning and afternoon, how can I get through? Especially when my job, teaching, doesn't quite lend iteself to random interruptions and I don't have a phone in my classroom?
I wondered...was the officer in town? Was he traveling or visiting one of the consulates in Sao Paulo or Rio? Had he died and his bones were being picked away by vultures on the roof of the Embassy?
Besides trying on the phone, I emailed the officer, taking another EAB teacher's advice who's also moving to India and who already got her visa without problem, hoping to make a connection. Email worked! I heard from him on Thursday.
On Tuesday at 11 a.m. I'll taxi to Lago Sul (South Lake - about a 20 minute cab ride from EAB) to drop off...
- my passport,
- my contract, a school registration and letter of introduction from ASB to the Embassy on my behalf,
- a copy of my yellow fever vaccination card (thank you Peru),
- a copy of my Brazilian residency card and also Brazilian Social Security card,
- two passport photos,
- a copy of my resume,
- a copy of my birth certificate and
- R$545 (which is about $USD 335).
Soooo much easier than Brazil! I don't have to get anything legalized, translated or promise anyone my first-born. The EAB teacher told me she got her visa within a couple of days. Hopefully the hardest part of all of this was getting a hold of the officer and the rest will be easy.