So it’s a rainy Sunday in Miami. We just watched England beat Ecuador (sad… I was hoping that Ecuador could squeeze by, but they just couldn’t quite pull it off). And speaking of sad things…
On Friday I made my next-to-last trip to the Brazilian Consulate to drop off my visa application and paperwork. Everything was in order – everything notarized and legalized and “perfection-ized”. The first snag came when I found out the money orders I had were the wrong kind – Western Union money orders, which are clearly inferior to the US Postal Service money orders that are the only thing the Brazilian Consulate of Miami accepts. No problem. I left my paperwork there for the cute girl at the counter to review while I ran off to switch out the money orders.
Half an hour later, I was back at the Consulate. The cute girl called me back up to the counter, and then, ever so sweetly, pointed out that because I have technically been a resident of Illinois for the past year (my driver’s license is from there), and my home address is in Illinois, and my background check was done in Illinois, they can no longer accept or process my application for a missionary visa. Due to a rule change of a couple months ago, they now only accept applications for missionary visas from people who have been residents of their consular jurisdiction (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi…) for the past year… I gently asked her if she was sure there was nothing they could do for me – she replied, “No, there’s nothing we can do here. You can always go back to Chicago and re-apply…”
Great. My best option is to go back to the consulate that already denied giving me the missionary visa because of my “insufficient qualifications.” To get a missionary visa from the Chicago Consulate, you have to have at least a Masters, or preferably a Ph.D. in some type of theological studies. Or (and this is the loophole) you can be a member of a “qualified religious order.” (To get this type of visa all I would have to do is become some type of “priest, nun, monk, or rabbi.” Hmmm… let me think about it for a sec…)
So what does this mean? In the short run, I don’t really know. In the long run… I still don’t really know… =) Fun, huh? It does mean that I won’t be returning to Rio on my missionary visa on Tuesday as I had hoped. It’s enough to make me want to cheer against Brazil in their upcoming World Cup games… A few of the many options open to me (ranging from possible to extrememly unlikely) would include the following (in no particular order) –
1 – Going back to Brazil anyway on my tourist visa… I could stay there until about January or February… This just postpones the whole visa ordeal, as I would then have to leave Brazil again and try another type of visa.
2 – Somehow enrolling in a course of study in Brazil, going back to Chicago, applying for a student visa, and then returning to Brazil – this is complicated, but might work. It also might get expensive.
3 – Marry a Brazilian citizen. (Anyone know of any cute, available, fun, Christian Brazilian girls? Send me their info, please!)
4 – Have a child in Brazil. (I’m a little behind the game on this one… and would need lots of help… and prayer… and probably sympathy too…)
5 – Go to some other country w/ WMF (Sierra Leonne, Bolivia, Peru, Nepal, Argentina, etc.)
6 – Stay in the US and try and figure out what next (and do so in one of the following place – Breckenridge, Chicago, Rockford, Miami, LA, Seattle, Austin, El Paso, Texarkana, or somewhere else…)
7 – Move to Antarctica and become a ferocious penguin hunter.
8 – Live in my family’s basement in Rockford and work on a book.
9 – Join the CIA and learn all kinds of amazing cool skills that I then couldn’t tell you about.
10 – (This is your chance to give me some crazy option that YOU think I should try… No suggestion – well, almost none – is too far out for me to take into consideration…)
To sum it all up, this basically leaves me pretty (and by pretty, I mean extremely) frustrated. I will keep you posted on what happens – but would love your prayers – and any encouragment, funny stories, or reasons to keep on living would be much appreciated. =)