ORIGINALLY POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2011
I have a job in Italy working with Southern Visions Travel. Lately though it feels like I have two jobs, the other being battling the Italian bureaucracy in order to live here legally. But the good news is after a couple knock downs its seems that I am winning. As it stands today I have Italian residency and the subsequent Carta D’Identita (quite useful) a renewable permesso di soggiorno (green card) a doctor that I can see at no charge (imagine that!), an Italian driver’s permit (just need to pass that test) and am supposedly just mere steeps away from being a full fledged Italian citizen. And it’s only taken one year to accomplish all of this.
Everyone who knows a thing or two about this country knows that the bureaucracy here can be a real beast. It is time consuming and infuriating at times. There are rules that make no sense, fees that seem absurd and the amount of steps involved to get from point a to point b seems downright insane. Plus, when the person granted you permission to move forward towards point b. goes on vacation or retires your future then lies entirely in the hands of the person who takes their place. They could have a different opinion about you, about their job, about their lunch, their mother and could either move your process along quicker, or in my case of citizenship, block it entirely. But with swift lawyers and rules that can be bent and twisted…..there is always a way. And you just have to find it.
There is a little sweet victory in each of these moments….when I get just one step closer however small that step might be. Every time I wait and wait and wait for my number to be called or wait the 4 months for my next green card appointment and then end speaking to someone, getting some very important document, most often a highly destructible 8 x 11 piece of printer paper, signed and stamped (oh how they love to stamp things) I feel like I won. Yes! Another victory. Surprisingly though, despite one particularly rude individual at the post office, the guy in Termoli who put a stop to my citizenship application an some totally bent out of shape man at the Italian embassy in Boston, I can say that most every person at every sportello, I’ve visited, down to they guy who gave me my eye exam at driving school, has been kind to me. They have taken at least a little bit of interest in why I am here and how I am finding their town. And yes I do have to go to driving school….me and twenty 16 year old, cigarette smoking Italians…until I pass.
People ask my why I’m doing this all. Wouldn’t you just give up? No way….I am too close and I am going to win this one.