Porque Voltei - Porque Meu Visto Sumiu!

By 08:00

Hey kids!

So my surprise guest post is today \o/ I've discovered through this blog that I'm certainly, "not the only one," when it comes to interesting stories about living in the US and then returning to Brazil. So I've decided to ask a couple of the readers who have told me their stories to write a little bit about their Porque Voltei, stories and I'm going to develop a little bit of a series of these posts!

Today's is from Marília, who lived just outside Philly and is now... well, just outside São Paulo! I've asked her to monitor comments, so if any of you have any questions, please leave them here and Marília's said she's more than willing to answer! I'll let her do the talking now:

Hi everyone!

To write a post saying "Porque eu voltei", I need to tell you my story briefly so you all can be situated.

I went to the USA in 2005 when I was 21 yo. I got a J1 (au pair) visa. Stayed there for my 1st year, enjoyed it a lot so I decided to extend it for the 2nd year.

At the end of the 2nd year, around July, 2007, I applied to change my status for a tourist. I didn't want to come back to Brasil yet and was trying to decide if I was going to apply for college or just ESL (English as a Second Language). Without getting a lawyer's, opinion I filled out the forms by myself, wrote a letter explaining why I wanted to stay longer and sent it out, knowing that the longest I could ask for was 6 months.

In the meantime, while I waited, I moved to a new house, so, the week I moved I sent out a Change of address application. Just to find out that my acceptance was already sent to the old address. It was a matter of 2 days and it got all messed up. I wasn't at the house, so the letter went back to the immigration office and I started to worry about it.

Long story short, I had to fill out yet another form and paid $300 to have a copy of it sent to me. When I got it, in october of 2008, it said I had to leave the country on the 3rd of april of 2008, and the date I would have gotten it (had I been at the house), was april 1st. So I had basically 48 hours to pack my 2+ years of life and get the hell out of there. Even had I gotten it, it would be hard to make it happen.

A year later, I decided to move back. Reasons why I came back: (Porque voltei)

- I wanted to study, couldn't do it;
- I wanted a "real" job, I didn't plan on being a babysitter for the rest of my life;
- I turned 25 years old and was afraid of getting too old without having a profession;
- Difficulty of access to health care (If I had a problem, only God knows how I would pay for it)
- I didn't want to feel stuck in the country and I hadn't seen my family for over 4 years, and couldn't go on trips out of the country that my friends went on;
- Fear, yes fear of for any reason if I did something I could get kicked out;
- Last but not least, I got tired of being an immigrant, of trying to find a way to get a driver's license, find a way to get a car registered, find a way to get a job, having to lie, and plus my situation was a major point of ruining a relationship I had with an American guy (His family initially thought I was an opportunist, I had to prove I actually liked him and didn't just want a green card, he didn't want to marry me just to give me a green card, and I thought if he liked me he would have helped and so on...)

I guess what made (and still does make) me angry the most is the fact that I wasn't there with 5 kids trying to take advantage of the schools, or doing anything illegal. I was just trying to go to school the correct way. It's not my fault the system is f*cked up and they send things late. I was told by a lawyer that even had I not gotten anything, I was supposed to leave before the 6 months were over. Why did they approve it for 9 months then?

Had I known this, I would have left earlier. I never planned on being there "out of status..."

To be continued, amanhã...

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