Well--I hope that's not true because if the experiential half is no better than this half, we are in BIG trouble! Who would have thought that planning for a simple year could be so annoyingly complicated. And then--the ugly spector of incompetence rears its head when my cyberfriend gets every thing done--from the initial lightbulb thought about "why not live in Italy" all the way through the settling into a Firenze apartment--in the space of three months. I used to be like that--a snap of the fingers and the dream was the reality. I guess fingers get weak as the years progress. Now I am a little old gramma with a shriveling mind, leaking memory and a body that is hard to unfurl in the morning when a seven year-old jumps on the bed--ready for another day of exploring the mysteries of life. Actually, the truth is that upon finally reaching that time known as retirement, with the plan to fulfill a 40 year fantasy of "sleeping in", what really happened is that my body clock reset itself so that I am awake and ready to go at ungodly hours of the morning. Ken, on the other hand, is reverting to teen years when sleep is an occupation--or so he wishes.Enough of the rambles--on to Italy. The easiest way to approach this is to organize into topics, subtopics, detours and sidebars--so here goes:
Paperwork, the Los Angeles Italian Consulate and the Courts:
My latest attempt to penetrate the dark and mysterious recesses of the Italian Consulate appear to be as futile as earlier attempts. I am told that there is a building at 12400 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90025 which houses this entity in suite #300. However, I won't believe it until the lettering on the door says Consolato Generale d'Italia a Los Angeles and we actually stand in the presence of a rarified being holding the key to our visas.
Because phone calls are difficult and faxes and e-mails remain unanswered, I finally wrote a real letter and included a self-addressed stamped envelop. In the letter I sweetly, nicely, hat-in-hand, sent a copy of the order from the Superior Court of the State of California which states unequivocally that we can take Casey to the EU, including Italy (in case there is confusion) for the calendar years 2006-2007. I told them/her/whomever that I was having this and the guardianship orders translated and certified. I then asked if this would be sufficient or if there something else they would need like an apostille--for which the translator in New York is going to charge a lot of money as she needs to go to court, stand in line or whatever to get verification that she is whom she says she is and that the translation certification is legtimate. If I can avoid that cost it would be nice. But--surprise--I wasted two 37¢ stamps as there has been no reply. So-- we will get the apostille just to be on the safe side.
Sidebar: In case you wonder what an apostille is--as I did--when you present a document as being certified and notarized, the notary could be forged. The apostille is a seal from the state that the notary's seal and signature are on record and that the certification is legitimate. In other words, an apostille certifies the certifier. How many of you knew about this? We're not sure yet but believe that we may need to have our marriage and birth certificates translated and apostilled. Of course none of this runs cheap! Just to have the letters of guardianship and the travel order translated, notorized and apostilled will run about $200. Now--doesn't this all sound like fun?
Passports: It is time to renew Casey's--which is sad as he has so many stamps in his that it's hard to trade it in. The law says that as court appointed guardians, we can get his passport. All we need is to take in his old passport, a copy of the court papers and $. This should go easily (she said.) We have an appointment at the post office in a couple of weeks but we don't expect a problem. However, we are applying for renewal early just in case.
FBI Check: Yes--we need FBI clearance stating that we are not criminals and that we are upstanding, honorable citizens. First we need to get full sets of finger prints and then send off to the FBI for a report. Heaven help us if there is a problem with that. I have visions of Bush having put all Democrats on a "hold" list.
Of course, there is more paperwork but some of that will be put off for a while.
We need a copy of a rental contract for the period of time we will be there. The bizarre, catch 22 is that this must be arranged prior to applying for the visa--which we then hope will be approved. And--we must assure the powers that we are planning to leave the country in a timely fashion. S0--we need our in and out plane reservation--which is an interesting thing to accomplish since airlines only write tickets 330 days out. Oh well-will cross this bridge some other time. As others have gone before us, there are solutions--probably quite circuitous and creative.
This Post is a Two Parter in Order to Accommodate Attention Spans--Mine, Not Yours
Location, Schooling and Housing--the Big Three!
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.