Since we moved here (almost exactly a year ago!), we've been thinking about having Sebastian play futsal (like soccer, but with a smaller ball, fewer players, and some different rules). He fell in love with soccer pretty quickly, he's actually quite athletically talented, and heck, this is Brazil! Our school has an after school team that meets two days a week, but our kids are so dang tired by 6:30 pm that we just couldn't make the girls wait around that long. Our downstairs neighbor has been playing soccer with Sebastian, and a few weeks ago invited him to "experimentar" a futsal class, and his Dad even offered to drop him off and pick him up. Sebastian loved it, of course! So we decided to enroll him. Seems like an easy enough thing, right?
Not for an expatriate. Not in Brazil.
The dad happened to go on a trip out of town after the class, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him about the process. So I decided to go to the Club and get information. I got a nice pamphlet with the prices, and was told that I had to get a note from the instructor to allow Sebastian in the class (to verify that he was tall enough, the right age, and at the same level as the other kids) and he had to get a "testado medico" from a pediatrician. Unfortunately, I've still not found a pediatrician yet. I've been asking around for recommendations (yet again, I've got to do a post on the importance of recommendations), and either the pediatricians are not taking new patients, not accepting our insurance, or a 30 minute drive away. Thank goodness our children are healthy! My husband thought that maybe he could get this evaluation at the hospital, and ended up walking there with Sebastian to try to get it, but it turns out that they don't do the tests there. So, it was time to buckle down and find me a pediatrician. I called everybody I could think of, but didn't get any leads. Finally, I decided to just go the a clinic within walking distance, figuring it couldn't be so bad.
I successfully called them and even though I couldn't get in before Sebastian's next practice, the Club said that it was okay for him to go one more time without the doctor's note, and I was able to schedule an appointment for right after his practice, at 10:15 am on Thursday. We booked it from the Club, and made it right at 10:15. There are 3 other people in the waiting room, and it looked like they had been there awhile. At 11 am, someone who looked like a doctor walked in, and I realized, that there was no way I was going to get in before it was time for Sebastian to go to school! I went to the receptionist, who said, "Oh, the doctor is just running little behind." I told her I had other commitments, and she said that I'd have to wait until after the other 3 patients! Ahhh! I told her I couldn't wait, and all I needed was a signed piece of paper so Sebastian could enroll. She said she would get the doctor to sign the paper. Huh? I had to ask her 3 times if I understood her correctly. She said to come back at 2 pm, and she would have the paper for me. This made no sense to me at all, but I got my hopes up that there might be an end in sight. Unfortunately, at about 2:00 pm I got a call from the receptionist, saying that I would have to bring Sebastian in the next day for the exam and to get the paperwork. I told her I only had a limited amount of time, and if I came at 8:30 am, would I be able to be seen and get what I needed? "Of course, of course!"
So, Sebastian and I went back the next day, waited almost 15 minutes, and finally got into see the doctor. He didn't even say hello, and started barking orders at Sebastian. He weighed him, poked him, and measured him, and then gave us a piece of paper with Sebastian's named misspelled, the wrong name of the soccer club, and the wrong age. But I had the paper! I asked the doctor what had happened yesterday, and he just shooed me out of his office and told me not to worry about it. So, if you are looking for a recommendation for a pediatrician, I would say DO NOT go to Dr. Adjar Mendes da Silva .
And what about the note from the instructor? Well, I had to call the club 4 times to try to reach the instructor (one of the times, I got hung up on because who ever answered the phone didn't have the patience to deal with my accent and mangled Portuguese). Finally, I got his personal cell phone number, and he said that Sebastian should just come back. My husband took him that next day to practice, and was told that he could be a part of this team for a few more weeks, but he might get bumped down to the younger group (he's only 6, but he's been playing with the 8 to 10 year olds) because he needs to work on some of the basics. And he did get a note from the instructor, but he couldn't buy Sebastian's uniform until he actually had the doctor's note.
So, yesterday! We finally got the doctor's note, the uniform, and Sebastian was "matriculated." But of course, we have to go back to the secretary at the Club on Tuesday before practice so Sebastian can get his ID card and his code, and then Matt and I have to get our cards and codes so we can accompany him. I would say that this whole process probably took me about 8 hours, with appointments, phone calls, waiting, writing notes, and plenty of wasted time.
But it's all worth it when I see Sebastian in his uniform, and watch him practicing his drills.
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