It was always great to visit with Mrs. Houston (she ordered me to start calling her “Pat,” but that was hard for me!) She always had great stories and I felt she was one of the few people I knew who could truly appreciate mine–especially the stories having to do with anything “Latin.” We met at our favorite taqueria for carne asada and talked about Brasil for hours. I told her that my last hurdle was the immigration issue, when she suggested a loophole she found that could grant me a temporary residence visa good for up to four years.
I spent the next month researching every possible avenue. From student visas, to internship/training visas, to sneaking in illegally (although I would’ve never done that), I spent hours each night on the computer figuring out a way to live in Brasil. After talking to a handful of very knowlegable people, including a Brasil-immigation specialist, I finally picked the immigration-route that I would try.
Fast forward one month and TONS of paperwork, I was now ready to go and apply at the Brasilian Consulate in Los Angeles. I had to provide the consulate with a load of stuff, from police arrest records (I’m clean!), applications, photos, a letter outlining exactly what it is I would be doing in Brasil, and letters from my employer! The employer letter was kind of unconventional, because I WAS the employer–Sunday Nite Slow Jams is MY company. So basically, the letter said I was sending “myself.” My company wasn’t a big-dog like NBC, CNN, or The New York Times…just lil’ ol’ Sunday Nite Slow Jams Inc. I printed up special business cards and stationary just to look that much more official. This was my only chance. I couldn’t afford one mistake.