Friends don’t let friends invade Russia with winter approaching

Last night, I dreamed that I saved Vittorio Emmanuele from assassination. That’s right, the first King of Italy. And then I was so happy that he was safe, I kissed his hand. I realized when I woke up that in my dream I’d had that feeling. The feeling Tolstoy gave Andre when he was sent as a messenger to the Tsar. The feeling Ann had in Hardy’s The Trumpet-Major when she met King George in the street by happenstance. It’s a sort of intense overall sensation of patriotism wrapped up into the adoration of a certain royal person. It resembles a combination of religious fervor, filial piety, and romantic ardor, all rolled into one.… Read more

Homeschooling with the Romans

Once again, with moving and other things, my grand ideas for homeschooling have fallen a little by the wayside. Luckily, Axa spends lots of time every day practicing writing, and they both roam the yard studying the plants and animals in it with as much detail as little scientists. Charlotte would be happy that I’m not put together enough to do all the academics I would like to do with my two little under-sixes.

They’re also beginning to use quite a few Italian words. I don’t even know where they’ve heard some of these words. One of their favorite activities in the car is to quiz each other about Italian vocabulary.… Read more

Questura Tales – Part 4

Well, one can’t expect to have a good experience at the Questura more often than once in a lifetime. Things were bad again yesterday. I arrived at 8:00 as usual, but it didn’t open until nearly 9:00. There seemed to be more people than usual. I had an appointment, but there was only a date, not an hour. They only had two windows open, and things went very slowly. The man who calls numbers seemed to be in a particularly bad mood. He kept opening the door a crack and telling everyone to stand back from the door. Unfortunately, he was always ignored, because nobody believed him that he was going to call them in.Read more

Questura Tales – Part 3

I think we broke some kind of record today. We went to three different Italian government offices and actually accomplished our purpose at each one! Stop number one was the Questura. You’ll recall that last time I went I was afraid of violence, so I did have a few feelings about going (for the fourth time). We had everything all planned out, as usual. We had a slight hiccup when Tony’s alarm went off at 1:40 in the morning. Why, you may ask, would someone set his cell phone alarm to go off at such a time? (Believe me, I asked too).Read more

Questura Tales – Part 2

Next morning we awoke at 6:00 in the middle of a thunderstorm. Nevertheless, we quickly dressed and packed our sleeping children into the car (thank goodness we have a car now) along with breakfast, clothes for them, and our passports and documents. Amusingly enough, nobody showed up at the Questura until after 8:00. But it still wasn’t open yet. Considering the fact that we had been there since before 7:00, the four of us stood right in the doorway, which was probably the reason that my smiles and greetings were moodily received by everyone else arriving to try their luck. This time, I triumphantly received the very first number.Read more

Questura Tales – Part 1

This time moving to Italy seems different from last time. Last time it was one huge adventure, moving here not speaking a word of Italian, with no reason but that we felt like it. Now Tony has a job with an Italian company, and that makes everything different. We have a reason to be here, and even more, a reason to not just move off somewhere else when the idea pops into our heads.

Of course, I’ve always been very serious about keeping our status legal, even in the face of bizarre odds. So of course I’ve already spent a fair number of hours in Italian government offices.Read more

Perseus fails

Sure enough, it’s Thursday, and I have been unable to obtain Medusa’s head. So sometime within the next few weeks, after the Vigili come by to verify that we really live here, I shall be able to return to the Questura and hopefully get my paperwork started, even though it’s not within the eight-day window. And I just have to be O.K. with that. After all, I believe I was really supposed to get a visa before we came, although they’re not too strict about these things in Italy. (In Florence, weirdly enough, Tony didn’t even have residence, and they were going to give me a residency permit.Read more

Back in Italy

We’ve made it home to Italy. That’s really how it feels. I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was as we saw familiar landscapes unfolding themselves outside. The journey, unfortunately, was fairly miserable, although we only had one actual meltdown, in the train station at Nice. Axa and Raj had a large meltdown, and Tony and I had a smaller, more socially acceptable one. And then we all had some fabulous French pastries and felt better.

The reason the trip was so bad (at least from my point of view) was that I’d been sick in bed for a week previous to it.Read more

More Fun at the Questura

Today I arrived at 7:30. They were already giving out numbers, and my promptness was rewarded with the number 172. This time I brought a book. But I slipped out for a quick breakfast, and only ended up waiting till a little after 9:00. At the information desk this time they gave me another number, and I waited another half hour or so. When I got up to the window, I presented my documents. I was prepared for some discussion, since I’d heard so much about problems with documents (and I’ve experienced so many problems with documents), but the man there just took them, sat down, and began scribbling, stapling, and stamping.… Read more

Fun at the Questura

I arose from my sick bed again this morning to take an early bus to the Questura. It didn’t end up being so very early after all, and I arrived around 8:45. The whole world, of course, was there before me. It was like a mini-United Nations. After gazing around at the milling crowd for a moment, I snagged someone who looked nice and asked him what I needed to do to get my carta di soggiorno. He led me over to a policeman, who was handing out numbers. I gave the policeman my carefully prepared speech: “I am from the United States, but my husband is Italian.… Read more