Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy There, Happy Here: The "Well-Adjusted" Immigrant

K has an uncle who immigrated to the U.S. a couple of years before we came here to study (with his help). This uncle tells everyone who will hear that once you emigrate the only place you're happy again in your life is in the airplane, when coming and going, since, according to him, when you're in the new country you will always miss the home country and vice-versa.

That is not what I feel like at all!

And my friend Ci couldn't believe me when I told her that I loved being in Brazil and really enjoyed living here and that I didn't mind going back and forth.

There's a caveat to this whole discussion, though! And I realized it a couple of weeks after I had talked about this with Ci: I am fully happy with the way my life is now. I live here for good and I visit Brazil and spend extended periods of time there (1-2 months).

This afternoon, when we were driving home (summary of our slightly complicated return home later in this post), my husband "hit the nail on the head" when he concluded that the reason why he enjoyed this visit to Brazil and why he wasn't constantly comparing both countries during the visit*  is that now we know we're staying for good, we're finally "settled." I couldn't agree more, although I think I had been in this frame of mine a bit longer than him, even before the final "settlement." (I think that becoming a resident kind of settled the matter for me, back in 2008).
*I haven't done that in years now.

So... when I posted a rare (for me) facebook update tonight, I decided to write jokingly that maybe I am a "well-adjusted" immigrant, and I think I am! This thought makes me very happy. I've come a long way since "blogging changed my life" back in 2006 and my feelings of being an "accidental immigrant" (we still are, only more adjusted) from 2009.

P.S. Our trip almost too a turn to the disastrous on Sunday morning, when K decided to call the airline to ask for a vegetarian meal. He was returning the same night as us (Monday), only on a different airline, arriving at a different airport about 1.5h later than the boys and I. However, AA had changed his flight without notifying him and now he was going to arrive at after 4 pm yesterday afternoon.

After that discovery, chaos ensued! K found out from them that the earliest he could arrive would be at 1:30 pm and I started getting frantic at the possibility of being stuck for about 4 hours at the airport having just sooooo much to do. He asked them to make the change, but then he realized that he could fly on that same night (Sunday)! K called AA again and they said that this would be a possibility.

However, there was a serious impediment to that great solution! :( Brazilian law requires that when a child travels abroad with only one parent, the other parent needs to provide a written and notarized authorization for that child to travel and we hadn't done that for the boys because we were supposed to go through Brazilian immigration together in the airport.

After lots of back and forth calling notaries in the area (all unavailable since it was a Sunday) and the federal police (responsible for immigration in Brazil), we figured out that his signature could be notarized by "similarity" rather than signing in the presence of the notary. What a relief!!

But we still had to go and pack his suitcases and make sure he had everything he needed to travel. We managed to do that on time and K3 (his younger brother who was visiting with his family) was able to drive him to the airport. PHEW!!!

The poor guy traveled all night Sunday and all day yesterday and arrived at his brother's house at 5 pm, but this morning he got to the airport just in time to pick us up so we could do some shopping and drive back home. Saved by a signature! (he already had his signature "registered" at this particular notary (cartório), so they notarized the signed paper even without him on Monday morning).

OK, this is a really long post already, so I'll stop!

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