Question: My name is Sass, I am American and I am living in Brazil--my contact with Brazilians in the US and Brazilian culture is vast but over a year ago I fell hard for a guy, in a similar situation as you, unexepectedly and at a bar. I had to leave the country in order to graduate and everything, and we swore to each other we would wait for each other. He's from Rio Grande do Sul. I moved back to Brazil on my toursit visa, but am living in São Paulo--we have decided that we do want to be together more than anything else, and are trying to resolve how to do this--we want to be married.
I'm sure you know how hard it is for a foreigner to get married in Brazil, but we have 90 days to figure this out. I am 23, and although I always said I would wait for a while to get married, I'm sure this is right-- I wanted to know: do you feel like you got married young? You said your family was very supportive-- I'm sure mine will not be, they have high expectations of my and my career etc'--but how is it between you and your family, you being here in Brazil and them being in the States--how often do you see them, what sort of compromises are to be made. and perhaps any other opinions, advice you could give me...
Have a wonderful day in the marvelous city, I dream of being on a beach right now.
Answer:This is a hard one, I will say. I did marry Mr. Rant at 23 years old and only knowing him 5 months (physically being with him for about 2.5 of those months). My family was supportive. I don't know if they thought it would last but at least they didn't say they didn't. My husband's family was also supportive. That I find crazy seeing that they had never met me and knew that I didn't speak a word of their language. Talk about having faith in the decisions of their son!
In the end, this is your life. You make the decisions and you live with the consequences. Of course the beauty of a family is that they have a tendency to absorb a bit of the responsibility if they are supportive. It is a bitch to get married in Brazil. If you did not get your US documents certified at the Brazilian consulate before you came, you have to get them translated and made official here. That takes time and money. I know that you at least need your birth certificate and a document with your parents' names on it. Then you'll need to go to the US consulate and get a little paper that says you are able to get married, ie. aren't already in the US. They give it to you the same day, which is nice. Once you get all your documents and manage to put them in to be processed at the Catorio (the government place that does this kind of thing), you have to wait 30 days with your name in this national paper. This is so anyone who knows something on you or is married to you can check and come tell on you. Like anyone reads it! Anyway, you may or may not have to pick up a copy of this paper and bring it to get married. I'm not sure, it's been 7 years since I did the whole process.
Since you are young, and if you go back, you could get your University degree certified at the consulate and use that to try to get into a program in Brazil. Or, if you don't manage to get married in 90 days and your family freaks out, you could compromise by signing up for a study abroad in Brazil.
I do not recommend doing what I did and coming down and teaching English right away. It's more likely you'll stick to that and not look into other options. Have a frank talk with your family, tell them you are getting married regardless, but ask for their support. With a little money you can get a great Portuguese tutor and work on your language skills. There are wonderful masters and PhD programs down her and I know many foreigners who have gone this route and now have successful careers.
As for visits from my family, that only started when I had children. I went up there before that, partially because we could fly for cheap due to Mr. Rant's Aunt working for Varig. Now we try to go every year to 1.5 years. I doubt it'll happen this next year but that's ok. My parents also come once a year so we see each other quite often considering. Grandkids are great ways to get Grandparents to travel. FYI - I recommend waiting AT LEAST 3 years before babies. Get the rhythm of marriage first.
As for me, I do feel I married young. I compromised a part of youth. But if this is right, and he is a good partner, it is not a bad compromise. Just because you are married doesn't mean you become old. On the other hand, it does mean that you have another person who's opinion you have to take into account when making your decisions. It stops being about what is right for you and becomes what is right for us. That in and of itself does make you grow up a bit. Marriage takes a lot of patience, and one in which you haven't been dating in the tradition sense needs even more. Marrying and moving in together means you'll be really getting to know each other quickly. And I know you know him but until you live with someone, do you ever really know them? So there will be some arguing but that is ok. It happens in relationships. And there will be miscommunication. Mr. Rant was fluent when we met and we still had some issues. Some things in Portuguese are not that offensive but they sure are when you translate them to English and vice versa! We'd have to stop and explain what the phrase the other person said meant to us and see if that was really what they were going for. Tough thing to do mid-battle.
Overall, love is a powerful thing. Can get you through everything. Just be prepared, especially if you are going down this path sans the family, that there will be tough moments. But if life is just better with him in it, it'll never be that bad.
Personally, I am very happy with my decision! I could not imagine my life ever being this full if I hadn't taken a jump into the unknown at such a young age. Nay sayers will be there regardless of the decisions you make. So put on some thick skin and choose what's best for you. Isn't that what growing up is all about?