So I am becoming increasingly worse at blogging and for those of you who are looking for updates I apologize. Given that I haven't written in about 2 months, a lot has happened since I last posted. In late June, I went to California to obtain my Permanent Visa from the San Francisco consulate. I have learned from other bloggers, forums, and other expats here in Brazil that the process to receive a permanent visa, work permit, RNE number and card (the Brazilian equivalent of an Alien number and green card) takes upwards of two years if done here in Brazil. But because Fernando and I have been married for five years (yeah I can't believe it either!) and I started the process in the U.S., it took me about 2 weeks to receive my Permanent Visa from the SF consulate, then a trip to the Policia Federal and the Ministério de Trabalho here in Brazil for me to receive all of the documents that I need to live and work here in Brazil. So now all I need to do is grow some balls to get my driver's license here too! My actual green card will not arrive for another 4 months or so, but I already have a temporary ID and RNE number, so it's not too important.
About a week after I arrived back from California, we moved to Blumenau, where Fernando's parents have an apartment. We have been living in their apartment for about 3 weeks now and I absolutely love it! Blumenau is a city of about 300,000 people with a few universities, lots of big companies, and a pretty lively downtown area. It is the German city of Brazil and has old German style architecture, a beautiful river running through the city, and the second biggest Oktoberfest in the world. There is a lot going on and it is nice to see a little bit of life and people of all ages. The very best part of Blumenau is the bus system. Although it is a bit more expensive than busses anywhere else in the world, it goes everywhere and gives me a freedom that I haven't had since I've moved here. I don't have any pictures to include in this blog, but I will be adding some soon and hopefully a video or two as well but I'll do my best to describe it a little bit. The apartment we are living in is part of a condominium so we have a public pool, churrasco (BBQ area), clubhouse, playground, soccer field, tennis court, basketball court, and area where we can make our own garden. We are living without furniture, but the apartment is comfortable and we have everything we need day-to-day. The furniture will come with time and for now we have a "couch" made of a small foam mattress, comforter rolled up to be a back rest, and a couple of pillows, and a blow up mattress for a bed. Our blow up mattress is starting to deform a little from being slept on for almost a month straight, but it is actually pretty comfortable and works perfect for now.
I started looking for jobs with English schools in Blumenau before leaving for the U.S. and only received interest from one school, but since returning, I have been in contact with about six schools and am starting to teach conversation classes this coming Tuesday. I have a meeting with another school on Monday and hope to add a few classes to my schedule. I attended two conversation classes last Wednesday and absolutely loved it. It is really a different experience being in a class with students who are interested and eager to learn something that I know so well. I can see why teachers do what they do even though it is a lot of work. I feel that I will get a lot of energy from the students and am excited to experience their culture as well as the English language through foreign eyes.
On top of teaching English, I will also be attending Portuguese (PSL) courses at a private university in Blumenau. I attended the first class this past Friday and ended up being the only student there. The instructor is a couple of years younger than me and is interested in practicing her English with me, so we have decided to do an exchange where we spend an hour working on Portuguese and then an hour of English conversation. I really look forward getting to know her better and having a girl to talk to in Brazil! Four months of talking solely with Fernando has made a girl conversation so exciting that I have to control my enthusiasm in order to not seem like a lunatic...
So for the first time in about 6 months, I actually have a full schedule and could not be more excited about it! Fernando finally got his first interview last week at a company in Rio Grande do Sul, which is one state south of us, so we're crossing our fingers. As we get to know people here in Brazil, opportunities will begin to come because as we all know, it isn't what you know, it is who you know.
I will do my best to update more often now that things are starting to happen here!