Sunday, December 03, 2006

How a baby can help you with bureaucracy. I recently read an article written by a British Policeman who gave up his job to teach English in Rio. He commented that for Brazilians: "Family is the most important thing of all, kids do everything and go everywhere with their parents, and are well loved, well treated, even by strangers, and encouraged to expend energy and make noise. Thus they are confident and positive. Vivacious. Yes, the people are vivacious".

We've certainly seen this to be true with Nelson. Apart from the immediate and extended family, Nelson delights all who encounter him - most often old ladies at the supermarket.
I guess I never expected the same from government officials...

After a lot of shenanigans trying to get me a Brazilian ID card things were made much easier when I returned to the Federal Police with Rachel and Nelson on Thursday. With a baby one can go far in Brazil. First of all we were given a parking space in the police station when there wasn´t any spare (the porter suggested we park in front of some other parked cars). Everybody was very obliging and we were we even ushered into an office (ahead of a line of waiting civilians) just so the other staff could coo at Nelsinho. At one point I had to go and get my fingerprints taken. We found some disgruntled chaps in a back office complaining about not being paid for a week. Their demenaour was transformed once they saw Nelson. Which also goes to show - it is not just women who warm to babies in Brazil. Men seem much more adept at enjoying/coping with little children. The whole day passed off without incident and all the paperwork was done. So, if I were ever to write a guide book on how to move to Brazil I'd put as Lesson #1: take a baby.

Church. This morning Rachel and I went to our local Anglican church. We enjoyed a great service not unlike what I would imagine St. Mikes in York would be like if it were taken over by Brazilians for a day. As first time guests we were asked to stand and greet the congregation. A nice steward then brought us a Rick Warren tract each and lots of the people near us came to shake our hands. The band (who seemed to have a song for every eventuality) performed with gusto a song aimed at us visitors with the lyrics: "We would like you to come back again! We hope you visit next week!". With that sort of welcome, I suspect we probably will.

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