Well, the meeting didn’t go so well today. We are slowly realizing that Teresa just wants us to go away. Fortunately, or rather, as we are beginning to think, unfortunately, she knows when our tourist Permesso runs out. In approximately three weeks. Today, we had put the binder all back together with only the necessary documents, suitably translated, signed, stamped, and marca di bolloed. Thinking it would be helpful, I had also consolidated the five long declarations of non-renunciation of Italian citizenship into one page listing which consulates needed to be contacted regarding which people. I did it because when she saw the original declarations, she seemed overwhelmed by the amount of work it would be, especially considering that she would have to contact the Embassy in Indonesia.
To Tony’s great dismay, the new document confused her even more. As she had been going through all the translated certificates, she was making notes about which consulates she would need to contact, just based on where the birth, marriage and death certificates were from. It makes sense, I guess. In Italy, people really do just live in the same town from birth to death. Our bizarre family, with moves every year or two, just looks even more bizarre. If I had it to do over again, I would leave out the declarations all together. I just got them off the consulate’s website, but they are of no use in Italy. In fact, they complicate the issue further.
We’re running out of options here. If Teresa doesn’t grant our Permesso di Soggiorno we’ll be needing to exit Schengen territory in three weeks. Besides the fact that tickets to the U.S. would be ridiculously expensive at this point, we don’t want to go. So we’re racking our brains frantically. We’ve already decided to talk to Luigi, our apartment rental agent. He might be able to pull a few strings with Teresa, or alternately, get us out of our contract.
We do have friends from Church. Carla and Giorgio come to mind. She’s French and he’s Italian, and they live in a little town south of Cuneo where he builds houses with his father’s company. We had dinner with them on Sunday. It’s beautiful out there. And it’s more rural. We could have our goats and chickens, and our garden. And if Giorgio went with us to the Comune to explain everything, and with our new, improved binder and all the things we’ve learned here about how NOT to apply for jure sanguinis in Italy, it just might work.
It’s a little extreme to switch comunes over this, but we’re not sure what else to do. Even wilder schemes include somehow getting a long-stay visa in France (much easier than in Italy) and living there while we apply for Italian citizenship at the Embassy in Paris or one of the consulates in France. Not sure if it’s easier or harder there than in the U.S. to get approved for jure sanguinis. We also happen to have plane tickets to London in two weeks (which we bought as a precaution in case they wanted to see our tickets out of Schengen territory when we entered Italy). We’ve planned a trip to the Temple, but I guess we could just somehow stay in Great Britain and apply from there. I’m not sure what sort of visa options they have.
The bottom line is, we’re not going back to the U.S. Providence has shifted. Problems arise, but we’ll figure out a way to make it all work out.
We had an interesting experience yesterday with the Branch President. When we first arrived in Italy, and showed up at Church, he said the Branch had prayed us there. And he made us a sort of strange little promise that “everything you have tried and not been able to do before will be possible here.”
Yesterday, as Tony was working on his laptop, he saw an email from Presidente Pepe. It said he wanted to meet with Tony at 17:00, which was in about five hours. We hopped right on the bus and went down there to meet with him. He extended a calling to Tony as Branch Secretary of Records (well, actually, secretary of everything. It’s a small branch, and they don’t have a secretary at all right now). And when he asked us, he said he wanted us to live there for at least 2-3 years. We’d been thinking of moving to a quaint little village in France when our housing contract is up here (hey, it’s us. We can’t resist thinking of moving out the moment we move in. We have serious stability issues). But Tony said we’d be here at least a year. Presidente said, “A year works for me. But no shorter.” Tony and I looked at each other and nodded, realizing that it was a sort of contract we were committing to. There’s something important about that. It is not coincidence that the very next day we realize that we’ve either made a severe miscalculation, or we need some definite Divine aid. So were we promising we’d been in the Cuneo Branch for a year or was he? Maybe we both were.