I flew into L.A. on a Sunday night and was at the front door of the Consulado Geral do Brasil on the 7th floor of the Larry Flynt Building in Beverly Hills by 8:45AM. Doors opened at 9AM, and in I went, palms sweaty and a million dreams in my head. I was called up to the window and started the application process. Talk about being Nervous Ned…I knew these people behind the window determined my fate! As friendly as Brasilians are, the people at the consulate looked stone-faced, and very serious. Even my português teacher warned me that these are tough people. I spoke a little português and tried to make them smile…it worked. The first lady got me started then sent me to another window, the “legal” department. I submitted my documents for approval and had to come back Wednesday for the next step. You realize I live in Arizona, right? But it was all worth it.
I sped back to LAX to make my 11:50AM flight that would get me back to Tucson by 2:20, just in time for my 3PM afternoon radio show. We were in the Fall ratings “sweeps” and I could NOT miss a show. You can’t take ANY time off during the sweeps, and I was playing it dangerously close. I got to the gate just before takeoff, and was back on the mic at 3, with no one knowing of this secret journey! I booked a ticket that afternoon to come back to L.A. the next night, for my Wednesday appointment back at the consulate.
Same drill…flew in Tuesday night and I was back at the Flynt Building the next morning at 8:45, even more nervous than before. I picked up some documents at the window that I had left for “legalization,” had to make a million copies, then give the documents to another person in another department there. I was done. The only thing left to do was wait, and I knew the suspense would kill me!
I jumped back in my rental and broke more L.A. traffic laws to make it to the airport and back home unnoticed again. I kinda felt like James Bond, on a secret mission. I think I hummed the Mission Impossible theme song while darting through traffic on the 405.
Would I get the visa? One simple yes or no could change my life forever.