“The computer broke. We lost internet for three months. All of our computer stuff was packed in a box we couldn’t find. We got terribly sick.” Oh, and of course, the ever popular, “We were super busy.”
Hello, everyone. I bet by now, most of you think we crawled into a cave, blocked the entrance with a big rock, and stayed. Close. We have been out of contact for exactly five months, one week, and three days. Way too long, we know. We did find ourselves in a cave of sorts, in the way that it was dark, scary, cold, full of strange noises, and left our minds to wander into the abyss, worrying about what our future had in store for us. All of the excuses listed above did, in fact, happen. But truthfully, we just broke. We took a left hook from Mike Tyson and got knocked the @#$% out.
Throughout all this chaos, in an effort to keep up with our blog, we had written the one below, dated September 25th. As you will soon read, it wasn’t a pleasant entry. As we were about to hit “send”, I had a wave of paranoia. “Wait!” I yelled at Maya, just as she was about to fire it off. “What if this is too offensive? What if the wrong person reads this and is insulted? We’re in the process of trying to become residents of Italy. Maybe we are being too harsh.” We were being harsh, but not about Italy, a place we love and feel honored to be a part of, but about one single experience, a bad day, if you will. Chalk it up to venting. After all, we were under incredible amounts of stress. This undertaking that we have embarked upon isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence.
Nobody Said It Would Be Easy (September 25, 2014)
Yet, as Chris Martin from Coldplay sings, nobody said it would be this hard. We have been struggling these past couple of weeks, mainly due to Italian Bureaucracy.
I have been trying to get some answers to questions regarding immigration, getting the equivalent of a Social Security Number (called the codice fiscale), etc. from the Italian Consulate in San Francisco (our closest consulate or embassy) for quite some time. I emailed them quite a few times to no avail, and they certainly never pick up a phone. Finally, I felt the need for answers was becoming urgent, so I said to Adam: We’ve got to fly to San Francisco. He looked at me like I was nuts. After I explained the situation, he was onboard and I made the reservations for the following Sunday (because the bloody consulate is only open from (9:00am to Noon, Monday thru Friday).
We arrive on the doorstep of the consulate at 8:30am because we had no idea if there would be a line forming in the morning. Upon arriving, we noticed there were just two people ahead of us, making us optimistic that there was plenty of time to get all of our questions answered.
9:00am sharp, the doors swing open and out walks:
“You four, come in come in!” She was very abrupt and little did we know we were about to see The Wicked Witch of West’s twin.
“You,” pointing to the man on our left, “you here for visa?” “Yes,” the man replied. “Do you have an appointment?!” “Yes,” the man repeated. She told the man to wait, steering her witchy stare to the next person in line. After going through the same the next person, she again said, “Wait.”
Our turn. “You here for Visa?” “No,” we replied. “We are moving to Italy and we have some questions regarding immigration.” “Questions?!” she barked, seemingly already irritated. “You have to email!” She did an about face, grabbed a tiny slip of paper, whirled around and headed in Adam’s direction. I started to reach for the paper because I was closer to her than Adam. Immediately, she withdrew her hand and the paper, scowling at me, until I put my arm down. Then, and only then, did she proceed to hand the slip to Adam. She then marched back to the desk, grabbed another slip of paper and whipped it in my direction. “That is all. You must email.” At which point, she opened the door and told us to go. We were quite literally ejected. We were stunned. It was 9:05am and we were back outside, standing in the sunshine, where we were just minutes ago, on the sidewalk in front of consulate, speechless.
It took us a couple of minutes to gather our thoughts. We traveled all this way, spent money and time, both of which are in short supply, to go there seeking help and answers (at the very least manners), and we left angry, confused, and disheartened.
We walked arm-in-arm (as we always do) for several blocks, neither of us saying a word (which is highly unusual for the both of us!). “Breakfast!” Adam blurted out. “I need breakfast to calm me down. Being hungry is not helping my attitude about what just happened.”
So, we walked a few more blocks, found a nice cafe, sat down, and by the end of breakfast we were both feeling a bit better, and started talking about Plan B. After all, there should always be a Plan B.
We returned to our hotel and I immediately wrote to the email listed on the slip of paper with my 5 questions. Within the hour, I received an answer to one question. So, I wrote back, thanking them for their prompt response, feeling a brief moment of relief that we were finally going to get the answers we were so desperately seeking. I inquired again about the remaining 4 questions. The next email I receive is this:
please contact the following email address for any further information:
Yet again, we found ourselves stunned. Momentary relief… gone.
I have since written them repeatedly, with no response, of course. Ah, Italian bureaucracy. Something we have to get used to, and truthfully I should not have been surprised.
Oh well. A small price to pay to be able to call ourselves Venetians. We’ll press on.
Excuses, excuses… (continued)
Fast forward to today. We have now been living in Venezia for 2 1/2 months. We are rested, much more relaxed, and of sound (well, sort of) mind. Our apartment, and our neighborhood far surpassed our expectations. We spent 3 months and a week literally sleeping on an air mattress and living out of suitcases.
We had no appliances, so this was the refrigerator for 2 weeks!
Now, we have our bed (hallelujah!), our furniture, and a kitchen…
and most of our sanity back. Now, we realize that in putting off blogging for so long, it defeats the purpose of sharing the play by play experience with all of our readers, and for that, we are truly sorry. It takes strength to write. Strength that, until now, we just didn’t have.
In the coming days and weeks, with each new blog, we will slowly catch you up to speed, writing not only about our current state of affairs and goings on, but also adding in pieces of what we went through during our five month hiatus. We will spare no bloody detail, until at last, we are all in effect, again on the same page.
Thank you all for your patience.
Until next time,