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.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Buone Notizie

For those who are pathetically monolingual, buone notizie means good news (truthfully, I just now looked this up in the dictionary--honesty is important between us, isn't it?)

Thursday was a piece of cake! Our long awaited and much dreaded experience at the consulate ended up being in direct contrast to stories shared by others and belied the dismal record of communication we have had with them over the last few months. The staff who worked with us--Patrizia, Stefano and an unnamed receptionist--were warm, friendly, helpful, understanding and just plain pleasant people. The reception was a nice "sorpresa" because getting these visas is such a major hurdle in realizing our ”live in Italia” dream--having this step go well heightened our excitement and anticipation. God was good to us and the encouraging thoughts and wishes of friends accompanied us.

If you live anywhere in Southern California you know what the rest of the world doesn’t—morning commute traffic is preparation for life in the underworld. Because of this, we (including Casey) were up early, leaving at 7 am, hoping for one of those small windows of less congestion caused by variation in work start times. And—it worked! Thanks to car pool lanes, we sailed along, passing thousands of cars occupied by solo drivers—another SoCal phenomenon--treasuring the right to vehicular independence so much that we accept hours of sitting on congested freeways. We are strange people—those of us who live in the sun. Quite seriously, using the carpool lane—which was wide open with minimal usage—saved at least an hour and probably more. As it was, it took two and a half hours from our door to the consulate door.

Within 5 minutes of arriving, we were called for our “interview.” This consisted of speaking to our interviewer Patrizia through the type of window used by ticket takers at the movie theater. At the bottom of the window was an opening to slide papers back and forth between us.

Patrizia began by asking if we had a list of the visa requirements. I found this question to be hysterically funny and had to fight myself not to give the answer that first came to mind. Of course we didn’t have a list because their website does not provide such information and in my repeated contacts with the consulate we had never been told that such a list exists. It sure would have been nice to have had that information rather than having to guess and hope that we covered all the bases. If you have read earlier posts, you know that each of the 11 consulates in the US has separate requirements for a visa so what we did was to scour each website and then prepare every document that was mentioned on each site. This process resulted in our having some things that were not necessary for the LA consulate but, more importantly, it did mean that we did have everything they required.

I felt like shouting and dancing when Patrizia told us that our applications were complete—all was accepted just as we had prepared them. What a sense of relief and relaxation settled over me at that time! Have you ever felt stress melt? It feels sooo good!

We are still left with one concern—one that we anticipated—the guardianship issue. Approval of this was not in the scope of Patrizia’s authority. The papers need to be scrutinized by a higher authority in the consulate. That person will decide if she/he has the authority to accept the court orders, translated and apostilled, or if they need to be sent to Rome. Since the papers are abundantly clear and come from the Superior Court of California, specifically authorizing us to take Casey to live in Italy, we have high hopes that the question will be easily resolved. We will know this in about two weeks and we fully expect a positive decision—ultimately. It’s just that sooner would be nicer than later—particularly since we need our passports back for a March 4 trip.

Fortunately, they will send us our pasports by then, even if the decision has not been made. We will just need to send them back when we return in mid-March. Of course, if that happens then the whole point of going for the visa at this time fades away. We need the visa in March so that we can do the paperwork to get our Permesso di Soggiorno (PdiS) which is a permit to stay in Italia. A visa simply gets us into the country for long term; the PdiS lets us live there. The impetus to apply for the PdiS in March is that it will then be ready for us when we get there in August. This will allow us to begin to establish residency immediately which will speed up the process of buying a car. Are you getting the idea that the logistics of this simple little one year jaunt to Italy quickly become complex?

Anyway, right now we can focus on other things until such time as we hear from the embassy. Such things as learning italiano--molto dificile! Reading Vanilla Beans and Brodo. And---downloading all our CDs onto our new IPOD. Yep--we have joined the younger generation but, never fear, we don't walk around with little strings hanging from our ears. We do maintain the dignity of our age.

Post Script: I apologize to readers from Italy who already know about all these wonderful and delightful elements, but, you see, to my US friends, this is a whole new world. So, sometimes I cover these less than exciting details because I labor under the illusion that they might be curious.

1 comment:

Judith in Umbria said...

DON'T count on the Italian in that book, as it is so incorrect I almost threw the book at the wall! I couldn't believe that someone involved wouldn't have had someone check the many Italian phrases and words. It spoiled the book for me.