We have good news about the visa...Maybe!
Well, my lawyer student never called. So Alexandre went back to the "Ministero do Trabalho" (like... employment department, the part of the govt that deals with social security and unemployment and all that, as well as visas) just to be a pest. (The last time 2 times we went, they weren't very helpful.) Finally, someone gave him the name of a guy at the Policia Federal (immigration office) that we should talk to. We've been to there a million times, but they rarely know anything.
So we went there this morning. The door guard guy told us we were at the wrong place, that this was the office for BRAZILIANS to get visas and passports, not foreigners. We assured him we weren't at the wrong place, and told him the name of the guy we were referred to. So he told us we could go talk to that guy, but that the guy probably wouldn't be able to help.
So we went to that guy's office, and his dumb-as-chalk secretaries were like, "people with tourists visas can't change them to other visas. Our boss can't help you." And Alexandre was like "ok, maybe they can't 'convert' a visa, but can they get OTHER visas?" The secretary was like "oh, I don't know. You'll have to talk to my boss." LKJFKLJSKHKGLH That's what we wanted in the first place, dumb-ass. So she calls to her boss, who it turns out is just in the next cubicle behind hers and can probably hear everything we're saying. He comes out, and he's this short aging man with tight jeans and a limp and a gold tooth. Alexandre explains again that he's trying to get me a permanent visa and that he wants to know what our options are.
The guy says, "your only option is to get married." Alexandre lies and says, "ok, but so-and-so at the Ministero do Trabalho said that we could also get a civil union contract. Would that work?" and the guy says, "oh yeah, that would work. It just takes a lot of paperwork, though. It's easier to just get married." I'd like to point out here that divorce in Brazil is VERY expensive, which is one of the reasons we're avoiding marriage, aside from the obvious reasons.
So Alexandre says, "ok, we can do paperwork. How do we find out what the paperwork is?" The guy insists again that we should just get married (I start to think this is because of his laziness to process paperwork combined with his Catholicism or Evangelicalism), but tells us we have to go to this other office that can help us collect all the paperwork we need, and he gives Alexandre the directions. The only thing he could tell us about the paperwork was that I have to prove that I'm not married in the US. He told us that this visa can take some time to approve, but that once we were officially "processing" my new visa with the contract, I was allowed to stay, even if my other visa expires. That's really good news because it means we don't have to finish everything in 30 days-- we just have to get to some certain as-yet-unknown point.
So yeah. Our schedules don't match well tomorrow, so Alexandre's gonna go to this new office tomorrow afternoon while I'm at work and see what he can find out. Hopefully it's a continuation of the good news. Although it's annoying that the people in this office so far away from big cities don't know anything (no one immigrates to this small hick town!), it also works to our advantage. This guy we talked to is the one who has the authority to physically GIVE me the visa. He may give me the visa, even if I don't necessarily "deserve" it; i.e., he may be wrong, but once they stamp my passport, and file away my papers, it doesn't matter. The benefits of a country without strong infastructure and intercommunication. In a way, it's kind of like, "what happens in this city stays in this city." :o)
I was going to write some reflections upon work stuff and learning languages and all that, but I'll have to do it later. I've been working so much this week. I have 8 hours of class today, spread out from 7:30am - 8:30pm. It's a bit tiring, but still easier than my American life of being an employed student. I don't have to spend an hour on the bus each way, or write any essays, as an example. I'm also going to be RICH come October. Hopefully by then, I'll know what's going on with the visa stuff, and when I can go home to visit. :o)