Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Expat Experience: Brazil - Jim and Luiz, Niterói
Who are you?
My name is Jim. I was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA, but after college I moved to San Francisco, California where I lived for 24 years, prior to moving to Brazil. While in San Francisco I was the Executive Director of various non-profit organizations over the years and most recently the Director of the San Francisco office of the American Cancer Society. Long hours, lots of fundraising.
I have been with my partner Luiz for nearly 12 years. Luiz was born in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and lived in the US for 23 years, working as a fine dining waiter, before our return to Brazil in 2008. We met in San Francisco.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
There were a number of factors that went into our decision to relocate to Brazil. First and foremost is the fact that Luiz is an only child and his parents are aging. It is absolutely expected that a good son will take care of his aging parents (assuming there has not been a dramatic event which has broken up the family). Also, one of Luiz’s worst nightmares was to pick up the phone in the middle of the night and be told a parent had died (heaven forbid).
Luiz had been living in the USA for more than 20 years; it was time to think about going home.
Add to that my “been there, done that” attitude toward my work life, plus a painful impatience with the political and economic state of affairs in the US, and I was pretty open to the idea of moving.
Luiz and I had traveled to Brazil on 5 separate occasions, each for a minimum of three months, and traveled extensively throughout the country. Not only did I fall in love with Luiz, I fell in love with Brazil as well.
In 2003 we laid out a five year plan to make the move. I would keep working a job I disliked, but which paid well, so we could save as much money as possible. Luiz would work out a few details with his parents so that when we arrived we would live in separate residences, but still own our home/apartment.
We stuck to the plan and five years later we packed up and moved.
What challenges did you face during the move?
There were not many difficulties, just the desire to earn as much money as possible before cutting off our income. We connected with a good moving company and shipped about 1/3 of a container of stuff. We knew the realities of Brazilian products (quality and price) so we brought many items we felt it was worth shipping. In particular, ALL THINGS KITCHEN and a quality mattress and box springs. We are SO glad we did that!
We had to figure out how I was going to secure a permanent resident visa and then get that paperwork in order prior to our departure. Brazil will allow the...
Read more about life in Brazil