Thursday, May 20, 2010

Surf's Up

It's important for the sea to release its pent up energy on shore during storms, so I'm guessing it's natural for us humans to struggle with balance too. We had quite a week.  If you read last week's post, you will see a calm acceptance portrayed.  This week you will see a struggle to return to that. In order to understand what I'm blathering about you need to know some mundane facts:

1) We were going to wait until our Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit to Stay, Italian "green card") was concluded to include here all the rational steps that you (a future soggiorner) might take to claim for yourselves the great success that we have had.  I now know that I'll never remember it all and there is no way that you will want to recreate these steps!

2) We did everything correctly.  We filled out the forms and had every document needed neatly copied and in order.  We went to the Post Office and got our appointment to get our fingerprints taken in Cosenza right then.  That's when rationality ended and mystery took its place.  I honestly have no idea what is going on now and can only put trust in place of my linear rationality.

3) We showed up for our appointment on March 18.  We brought a local with us who spoke Italian and joked with the bureaucrats and police.  We thought it went well and easy.

4) We got a letter two weeks later. When local Italians read it, even they could not figure out what the problem was.  It said we had to go to Cosenza.  Having just returned, our advice from locals was to ignore it.  But since the letter said come or be denied the Permesso, my American mind could not ignore.  Like the surf, it was looking for release from tension built up by the winds of confusion:

5) I wrote a letter to the Immigration Office and got a phone call I couldn't understand (for the most part) in return (even though I had asked for a letter).  The part that was clear was that we had to come back because we didn't get our fingerprints when we were there.  But we did...No use trying to explain.  We went back and only got another appointment in May as the fruit of our trip.

6) We returned for our appointment day in May and handed in our appointment papers to the gate-keeper  lady as we waited in line with other lost souls outside of the building.  We were allowed into the building and took our (now familiar) seats to wait.  We waited for two hours while my linear rational self realized that they weren't going to call our names.  We weren't on their list nor did anyone care that we were still sitting there.  My frustrations overpowering my shyness due to lack of language ability, I stormed the glass windows and asked the officer on the end who mistakenly left the door open why I was there and what the heck was going on.  He looked at my appointment letter and said only that there was a problem.  He didn't seem to know what the problem was, however.

7) I wasn't told to take my seat or anything rational like that.  He simply started to work on my case as if they had called my name.  I signaled Doug to come over.  Then they took a 15 minute break.  All of them.  We were alone with the glass windows.

8) The end (?) of the story is that our fingerprints were re-taken there at the window (we had been sent to the police station the last time) and he took MY copy of my application and passport and told me that the original had not made it to their office from the Post Office.  This is impossible because, if you remember, we were there on March 18 when they took pictures from us and stapled them onto said application.  No use trying to explain...My rational American mind now thinks that my application is on the desk of whoever called me in answer to my use trying to find out.  The epiphany I had for my post last week is weakly telling me that it will all eventually work out.  We just wait two months for the next development--meanwhile summer will come and the surf will flatten to a placid coolness as our Italian improves and is honed for the next round.


  1. Great pictures of the surf! Where's your surfboard?

  2. While the photos are stunning, I felt your frustration across the globe here in NJ! Good luck. It's worth the wait.

  3. Great post which of course made me laugh after our recent experiences! Having moved house last year we needed a new residency certificate and our Identity Cards updated. This has been ongoing since last November and the residency certificate will not be ready until July! Sounds familiar, doesn't it, maybe you have already read my posts on the subject.
    I have learnt to be much more patient and relaxed about bureaucracy since coming to live in Italy.

  4. Gil,
    I'd love to learn to surf. If I could find someone to teach a vecchia dog new tricks.
    Rose, I think so too.
    LindyLM, I know, it's a sutra dealing with bureaucracy here.



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