Since moving here in December 2008, I have been on the long road to gaining permanent residence here, i.e. a legal alien. I made my first visit to the 'Policia Federal' in Maringa, in April of last year and was told to await a home visit, which sounded to me like they were going to approve where I lived and deem it suitable 'alien accommodation'.
A couple of weeks ago after returning to Brazil from my honeymoon, I finally had a visit from the PF representative. Of course she came on the day when I was still in my PJs, with honking morning breath, gossiping with my mother-in-law, yes she is that nice.
I had slept in, left my bed unmaid. It's always good to make a great first impression when your future is at stake. Or maybe it's better that it was messy, more realistic, who knows.
Simone, a tall blonde, came through the door and introduced herself. "Hi", I said hoping that my Portuguese would see me through all the answers I was about to give. She asked me all these questions about how I'd met my husband Paulo, and it began to feel like a scene from Green Card, remember that awful 90s movie with Andie McDowell and Gerard Depardieu?
Soon enough I had turned it into a scene from MTV's Cribs when she asked to see our bedroom. I apologised for the unmade bed. "Don't worry, it's the fifth one I've seen today", she said slightly miffed.
Unfazed I proceeded to show her through my entire wardrobe, explaining how I categorised our clothes, which were my favourites and which ones I couldn't wear here as I thought they were too chic. I realised almost immediately that my capsule collection of Issa, McQueen, Basso & Brooke and Vivienne were hardly going to see the light of day in this small town, where popular brands are Guess and Tommy Hilfiger, but at least I could look after them!
Aside from giving a lesson in British fashion I managed to learn a bit about the other foreigners living in Maringa. Apparently we are some 3,000 strong and consist mainly of students who attend the University of Maringa, where my brother-in-law works as a physical education teacher. Also working there is an Englishman called Peter who has lived here for about 20 years and is married to a Brazilian woman. I know that there are several other English and some American citizens living here, but as yet I have yet to meet any of them.
All in all it was an interview that I will never forget. I now have to wait up to six months to know whether my apllication has been successful.
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