Packing It Up: Moving from Brazil

Last month, Gustavo and I celebrated him being approved for his CR1 (Conditional Resident, or “green card”) in the United States. When we first started dating, our original plan was to stay in Brazil for a few years to save up some money and, for me, to experience life elsewhere for a bit. Afterward, we’d move to the US.

Of course, we sped up that process quite a bit. At least, as much as you can speed up any process that involves visa applications and government approval. After my first year with Gustavo in Rio, I realized that I wasn’t adapting well to the culture and didn’t want to wait so long for us to move back home.

Waiting, waiting, waiting

By the time we decided to set up base camp in the US, I wanted it to have been done yesterday. I packed up all of my things that were in Brazil a few months ago to bring them with me to our storage unit in the US while I primarily waited out the application process stateside. In spite of that, our apartment didn’t look too different.

Of course, it’s often the case that nothing changes until everything changes at the same time. Once Gustavo’s visa was approved, we finally got to book that one-way ticket we’ve been waiting for. In doing so, we initiated the cascade of tasks involved with moving.

Of course, moving in and of itself is difficult. Moving to another country? Oof.

Getting things in order

Packing for us has been interesting. We don’t intend to bring anything extra large with us to the US, like furniture. The bulk of what we’re carrying is clothes, some kitchen items, pictures, and books. All of which are things you can fit in a suitcase, most of the time.

While I was in Brazil, Gustavo and I went through our apartment, room by room, to see what could come with me. I was bringing back two large bags, so we wanted to make the most of my trip. Gustavo also happens to be a packing prodigy – or he’s figured out how to use the Undetectable Extension Charm.

Our plan with these things has been to pack them as well as possible, and according to what needs to be used in the near future. The bulk of our bags are in my storage unit in the US, so when it comes time for us to move them to our new apartment, they’ll all be ready to go. It also means that I don’t need to drag things in and out to have access to items that are already packed – we planned for that.

Everything else

The larger ticket items – furniture, beds, TVs – have been more time-consuming, but easier to deal with in the long run. Gustavo and I have created a “Moving” task list in our shared Asana account so we can coordinate what needs to be done before he hands the keys over.

Fortunately for us, we were able to sell most of our furniture to friends and family. For the few items remaining, Gustavo has shared them on Whatsapp with different groups he’s in (namely, our Crossfit Whatsapp groups) to let people know he’s selling things. Otherwise, he’s listed the items on Facebook Marketplace and OLX, which I usually call “Brazilian eBay.”

We’ve also begun the process of canceling any services we’ll no longer need. Canceling things in Brazil generally involves a more hands-on approach than in the US and, often, it’s not possible to cancel when you’re already out of the country. For that reason we’ve listed out what needs to go so we can start ticking the boxes while we still have time to correct any issues. Gustavo’s is also going to get a “procuração” (Power of Attorney) set up so his cousin has the authority to cancel things for him while we’re away if there are any other hiccups.


When we first started planning, we talked about getting an international moving company. For the price and the amount of stuff we have, it didn’t seem to make sense to book a moving company so we opted to do it ourselves.

It’s a big process but made of a series of small tasks (like any big process). After everything we’ve been through over the past few years, it’s not a big deal. We’re working on things step by step and looking forward to what comes next.


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