Today, February 3rd, 2012, a historical event has occurred. I finally received the shipment of my belongings from the USA. It took 3 months of delays, 2 months of waiting, 1 month of hoping and numerous hours of stress and endless follow ups. Welcome to Brazil, my awesome personal belongings!
Two anecdotes from the last few weeks that illustrate how much adaptation to the local way of thinking I’ve undergone.
1. Despite being promised that my container will be done with customs clearance 7 days after its arrival in mid December, two weeks later I was advised that it has not even started the process. Learning from the way things works, I accepted this with a smile and endless patience (“tanto faz”, or “whatever” in Portuguese” and worried myself with bigger problems in my life. Then last week I got a very interesting phone call from the customs clearance adviser. The girl told me that she didn’t want to bother me and tried to resolve issues related to the release of my container without worrying me (this NEVER happens here). After further investigation she found out that the shipping company headquarters doesn’t want to transfer money to the local branch in Rio to pay for some port fees to release my container, and are trying to stall the process so that they don’t have to pay for a while. All at my expense, of course. I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry.. anyways, this brilliant woman, came up with a creative solution despite the fact that she really didn’t have to. She asked me to write her a furious letter complaining about the shipping company and the whole process and saying how upset and angry I am, so that she forwards it to the shipping company contact who will get scared of losing my company as a client and will take care of the issue. This exactly how it happened. 2 days after my angry e-mail, the delivery of my shipment was scheduled. The amazing part of this whole story is that this is the first time since I’ve arrived here that the company which is supposed to help me, is actually doing their job, and at a professional manner, without me having to worry about things and spend sleepless nights. It’s a very good example of how scarce is good quality of service is in Brazil.
2. I was told that the container will arrive to my house at 9 to 11 this morning. Since I am already a seasoned carioca, I knew that 9-11 is definitely not going to happen and so I went to work and asked them to call me half an hour before they are arriving. I was right, of course. Around 11am, I received an e-mail that they are now planning arrive at 1pm. The 1pm then stretched to 2:30, and then to 3:00pm (final answer). Of course, when I arrived home, the only person who was there was Paulo, the assistant from the customs company who has been waiting for the movers since 8am. By the time they finally arrived around 4:30pm, me and Paulo were already sharing our life stories and he was giving me some useful dating advice (“Don’t trust men here, since you’re so beautiful, they will all go after you and tell you stories. But don’t believe them. Once they get what they want, they will not call you again”,…. this sounded familiar from somewhere….).
Thankfully, I finally have my stuff. My first actions were to get all my beautiful magnets from my travels and put them on my Fridge, and change my crappy temp bed sheets to my nice ones from the Land of Dreams. Ahh… the small things in life..
Today I was toying with the idea of really documenting the process of what it takes to prepare for the move and actually go through all the hurdles of setting one’s life here. I think that there are so many things that people are not aware of.