Friday, November 27, 2009

Faith in the Universe--Moving to Italy from the USA



The Visa, Dog, Permesso, Carta d'identita, Drivers License, just to name a few of the visions dancing in my head when I really want 
to be thinking about what plants I'd like on my terrace. Before I go on, I'd like to say that I know our biggest audience so far are 
Brits...and you folks, believe me, have it easier when it comes to The Process. What follows would only translate perfectly for 
Americans, and I fear, for Americans from Oregon who are retiring with a pension
or are independently wealthy enough not to have to work while living in Italy.

Now why do I say that?  Well, for one thing I have read what others have needed to get their Visa for an Elective Residence from the Italian Consulate.  It appears that some consulates are easier to deal with than others.  We are assigned the one in San Francisco.  Apparently they are known for being helpful and friendly.
In addition, we can apply from Portland at our vice-counsel's office rather than having to make a trip to
the Golden Gate. So here is what we know about the first step in the process of moving to Italy permanently as a pensioners:

1) You need a Visa to enter, but that's just to enter. You do the rest in Italy. However you DO need the Visa for an Elective Residence.  
Here is the website where you begin your fun: 
List of Italian Consulates in US This is our list of documents we have included in our package.  
Be aware that they ask for more than they list on the Visa Application:
Finished but unsigned (you sign it at the consulate) Visa Application. Married? Still two applications (and fees).
Passport
Self-addressed pre-paid envelope from USPS Express Mail to return your passport with the Visa stamped therein. Cashier's Check for the FEE (103.50 right now--it changes with the value of the Euro so you have to check on the consulate web-page.)
Detailed financial statement letter from your bank or financial institution explaining your solvency and complete lack of need of work while in Italy.
An equally confident letter stating where you will live. We have the purchase papers for our Italian home as proof.
You could also include a letter from a friend or landlord stating that you have a home with them.  There is a special form for that.
An FBI background check. You get fingerprints forms at the local police station and send them to the FBI. They are good about getting back when you need it.  I have to edit this--we used the old background check to renew the visa because if we didn't have a record for 50 years, it seems unlikely we will become criminals in our old age---BUT we did reapply for the background check in case it's not acceptable and it seems to be taking the full 10 weeks regardless of our request for expedition...so much for kindness and efficiency.
An official Itinerary for plane tickets showing when you are planning to enter--(what you get off of the website when you pay for tickets).
I also have copies of our health insurance cards and copies of our codice fiscale (but I have never been clear that we really need these).

We did manage to get a visa a year ago with this information. Unfortunately, it expired and you can't extend them. They must be redone 
AFTER they expire.

I don't like posts without photos--so the only photos that seem appropriate for this post are our passports photos:


I know this information will be of value for someone out there.  It took us an ungodly amount of time to compile for us.  Our appointment is December 16 so I can't tell you anymore until it happens (trusting in the Universe that it will). Update: the Visas arrived on January 12, 2010 to our great happiness and relief.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Santa Domenica Talao

Perhaps you, like me, dream of a far away place in Italy where you would like to be.  Since I can't be there for a couple months, I look at the pictures from our trips and feel closer.  I thought I'd share the photos from our adopted Italian hometown, Santa Domencia Talao, on the west coast of Calabria:



It started as a place on the map near both the Mountains and the Sea.  Santa Domenica is a short climb from the sea.

Santa Domenica Talao is perched above the sea just like many Italian hill towns.  Its location away from the hoards of Italian tourists who come to be near the sea would have been impressive enough.  The unbelievable views alone would have been enough for us...



But the real story is the people.  It's the folks who smiled at us Americani without making us feel like the stranieri that we are.  I didn't expect the hospitality we found there.

Here I am talking with some neighbors.  Doesn't it look natural?  Keep in mind that according to my next door neighbor "I have NO Italian".   I thought I had some!


                          
                                   Our beloved next door neighbors Francesco and Giuseppina



    Elections Italian Style



    Around Every corner is another vignette, another picture of life lived Italian:











                              This is our roof





Below is our friends'
alimentari--one of at least 5 in town.









Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Last Thanksgiving Dinner


We usually spend Thanksgiving at a good friends home.  She loves to cook and is a great chef so she invites folks like us whose families live far away.  It generally looks like this:



Last Thanksgiving, that is November 2008, Doug went to Italy to meet our furniture.  It had a leisurely trip across the Atlantic but had the bad taste to land just when my family was due for T day.      

I spent a good part of the day (besides trying to remember how to cook the dinner) on-line with Doug. He arrived safely (after I tracked his plane across the Atlantic) at our house in Santa Domenica.  It was cold.   He couldn't keep the gas stove going.  He locked himself out late at night and was saved by the neighbors.  The next day the furniture came and it started to rain.  Did I mention the steps?  Some very intrepid Italian movers were carrying our American furniture down 58 steps to our house:



And this is how the house looked when we returned in December to move in for Christmas:



We had paid for unpacking but there was no way that Doug was going to mention this to the damp guys who were already late for their next job.  According to Doug, they were good enough sports.

This year we had to turn down my family for a "last" Thanksgiving before our move to Italy.  It was a hard decision.  I understand why they wouldn't want to come way out here again for a dinner cooked by a distracted and rusty cook.   So it's off to our friends house for the last one with them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moving our Dog Vince to Italy


It's a good thing my husband Doug is an honest man.  I was surfing the net looking for all I needed to know in order to take our dog Vince with us to Calabria via the airlines.  I just happened to find out that it would be far easier (due to the Americans with Disabilities Act) to get him a nice harness and ID tag and bring him on our plane as a "Service Dog".

Apparently, the airlines can't ask for verification that either you or your dog are "real".  Considering all the rules and regulations I read about bringing him as baggage (or Cargo--completely different and a completely different building in Rome)....it sounded downright simple and as easy as getting into my part--which I decided would be a highly nervous person who uses a service dog for its "calming" influence, or maybe just a victim of seizures.  You never know....

Well,  Doug (knowing that once I get an idea, I'm pretty determined) surprised me by not liking the plan based on personal integrity.  I would  have guessed more like fear of getting caught somehow.

So Ok, due to personal integrity issues,  I am abandoning my brilliant plan....I think.  Isn't this like saving a child?  He would be so scared in the hold...no, lots of dogs have done it.  See the dilemma?

What would you do (if, like me, you really thought you could pull it off?)



Does he look like he could do it?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why Calabria

Good Morning.   I'm sitting here (NOT in Italy) half drowsy with my coffee wondering---since this thing doesn't come up in Google who the heck is out there and how would you find my new blog? Would you care about a couple of people in Oregon who decided to move to Italy for what is referred to in the US as "retirement". I like the Italian word better---I am a "pensionata"--it gets to the point, we have some money and don't need to go someplace (good or bad) every day to earn our living.

Well, that will be in February. In February, Doug--Guido in Italy, and Di will be taking the last in a series of steps to leave the country of our birth and live in a small town on the west coast of Italy. We have a casa in Calabria, the name of the region, Santa Domenica Talao, the name of the town.

Here is a short video that may answer your question as to "why Calabria?" (If you are back at "why Italy?", I don't think I can help you):Heart of Calabria

So... let us know if you are out there and tell us what you would like to learn about our move, our life, our destination.  One more link: Restoration of Casa Rita --This is a post showing the progress of the restoration of our casa (in case you are interested in that sort of thing) on a great expat forum.  You have to sign up to see the pictures, -- it's a great forum for learning about the area so might be worth it for you.

Our Favorite Beach--i Gabbiani near Praia a Mare

I'll probably post just once a week or so until we move.

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