Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brazilian Visa Success and Shopping

So yesterday I made the journey up to New York to pick up my Brazilian visa. I could only pick it up between 2:30 and 4:00, but I headed up early to be on the safe side.

I have never really been up to New York before a month or so ago. It's interesting walking through the streets, seeing the people, and all of the sights and sounds around me. I stopped for lunch at a place called Corner Cafe, which had some really delicious pasta. Afterwards I realized I walked ten blocks in the wrong direction, which gave me some good exercise and lifted weight from my conscience for not eating as healthy as I could have.

I arrived at the Brazilian Consulate around 2:00 anticipating a long wait in line. I was right, but they ended up going through the line and giving everyone picking up a visa a number and we were able to go inside and sit down. Nothing was happening at the windows, and it seems like they simply did not serve anyone until 2:30. I brought a book to pass the time, and glanced at my watch. 2:32, and no sign of movement from the employees there. 2:33, 2:34, 2:35, nothing.

Finally at 2:41 the signs lit up, and they took their postions at the windows. A woman carried out two huge tubs filled with passports, and the first person went up. She handed him his passport, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was the next person. (The ticket I was given V717 made me realize how many people come through there on a daily basis)

I went up to the window, and the woman located my passport quickly and passed it under the window to me. I checked to be sure my visa was inside, and it was. My face glowed as I told the woman "Thank you!" as a wave of relief came over me. As I walked away, then I remembered the phrase in Portuguese "Muito obrigado".

I took a picture of me holding my visa and put it on Facebook. I called my dad to tell him the good news. I called up my program and they were ecstatic. I was just feeling awesome.

Today I did some obligatory shopping for the trip. Since I've been losing weight (20 pounds since November so far) my pants have been getting loose, so I got some new pants at Sears. I also got a Dreamie (a soft sleeping bag type thing) as well as space saver bags that I can use with a vacuum cleaner to save space in my luggage.

I've started packing a bit, and it doesn't look like it will be as bad this time around. When I was going to Germany I had to leave a good amount of space for gifts for my host families, but this time around I only need gifts for the program directors and maybe a few teachers at the school. I have a better idea of what and how much clothing I'll need and what things I'll want to bring with me.

Countdown to departure: 28 days

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