ANGEL ANA PAULA
Why is she an angel? She guided me step-by-step through the labyrinth Brazilian bureaucracy to the final outcome of attaining full resident status in Brazil (the equivalent of getting a "green card" in the US).
Full disclosure: I have been living in Brazil for 3 years beyond the expiration date of my visa. Then, in June, came the miracle that I had been waiting for -- the Lula Administration passed a general amnesty law that gave all "illegals" the right to a 2-year resident visa with full rights and during the final months of the term it can be converted into a permanent resident visa with no further renewal requirements. Not only that but it's design is actually "user-friendly" and client oriented which is most unusual in Brazil.
Nevertheless, getting through the bureaucracy in Rio Branco where few folks speak any English is quite a challenge. It took a week of traveling long bus rides to agency after agency and often being stopped by a Catch-22. That's when Ana Paula, who works in the "foreigner office" of the Federal Police, would be there for me every time with a creative solution. So I'm acknowledging her here with a deep bow of gratitude.
Beyond that, all I can say is, "Eu sou brasileiro."