Here we go!
Still haven't made it to Brazil yet, but the adventures have already started. I'm currently waiting in the Charlotte, NC, airport to get on my flight to Rio de Janeiro. Apparently the air conditioning isn't working, and the plane is "quite warm," so we've been delayed at least two hours. Considering my flight was originally slated to leave at 10:30 PM, this may end up being a late night. On the plus side, this airport is filled with hilarious white rocking chairs. Southern hospitality, love it.
Though my departure date has been set since April, the fact that I was able to leave today was a feat in itself. Since I'm studying in Brazil, I needed to procure a student visa. Those who have had the fortune of personally asking me how my preparation for my trip has been going this past month have already heard about the frustrating battle with my visa service. As Brazilian consulate jurisdictions go, Montana lies within the Los Angeles district. Convenient, right? Since I wasn't planning on applying in person, I used a service to whom I sent a whole packet of documents including my passport and birth certificate, in addition to a bunch of random papers notarized in Brazil.
Instead of making things easier, there was just mass confusion in terms of what things I needed to send this service. This initially resulted in ordering new papers from Brazil and sending personal letters pleading with the Consulate to help me out. You're literally not allowed to call this place, and so I remained at the mercy of delayed, nameless emails, this whole time. The whole situation came to a head when the Consulate finally told me, exactly one week ago, that the only way I was going to get my visa on time was to personally go to LA myself.
Thankfully, my mom got me on a plane that afternoon, and the next day I was able to get my visa. Apparently, the service had intentionally made-up a travel itinerary that didn't belong to me to buy themselves more time, which the Consulate had picked up on. Thanks Travisa, you rock! Hopefully the rest of my trip includes less clumsily executed bureaucratic scams. Fingers crossed....
So, needless to say, I'm looking forward to getting to this country! Stay tuned for the actual arrival.