Sunday, March 05, 2006

Renewing our Permesso (and biting our fingernails!) 3.05.06

It’s the same sleepless night I wrote about earlier and one of the other things I’m worrying about is our Permessi di Soggiorno. When we arrived in Italy almost a year ago in April, the first thing we did was to apply for our Permesso di Soggiorno, our permit of stay. We had our long-stay Visa from the Italian Consulate in Los Angeles, which allowed us to stay in the country for a year. But we had to also have a permit of stay and you must apply for this within the first 8 days of arriving in Italy. We wrote extensively about this process in the early days, so I won’t bore you now with those details. (If you are interested, you can go back to our Archives of April and May of 2005 to read about this process.) We also applied for and received our Codice Fiscale, a tax number that allows us to make large purchases like buying a car or a house, and finally the Carta d’Identita, the Italian identity card that all Italian residents must have. Read “Big Sigh of Relief” because we had accomplished all of this and felt very proud of ourselves. If we had stayed permanently in Perugia, the rest would have been relatively simple. But we didn’t. We moved to Sicily. Our plan is to live 6 months in each area of the country to experience life in the various parts of Italy, to gain a more rounded view of the place and its people.

So, once arriving in Sicily, it was necessary to officially change our address, since all of our documents have the Perugia address on them. We applied for an official change of address when we arrived in Marina di Ragusa and filed all the necessary paperwork. We were told that, like in Perugia, someone from the Police Dept or the city would be visiting us at our apartment, to verify that we actually lived there. Unfortunately, the first time he came to visit us he couldn’t find the number for our building, or was looking at the wrong building and so did not find our name and concluded that we did not live there. After a few weeks not hearing anything, we went back to Ragusa to the Anagrafe office to see what was going on. When we discovered what had happened we were able to explain to the officer exactly where we lived and he said he would come back again to check us out. The other complication at this time was that our doorbell was not working (It’s all fixed now.) Anyway, he finally came, found us, and submitted the proper paperwork, telling us that they would have to receive confirmation from Perugia to make this change of address official and that we should hear back from them by the first of March. We haven’t.

It’s now the 5th of March (albeit Sunday) and we still do not have our Certificate of Residency for this city. We’re starting to panic really because our Permessi expire on the 1st of April, now only a few weeks away. The woman in the city office here in Marina di Ragusa seemed calm about it and told us not to worry. Easy for her to say! We tried to call Perugia to see what the hold up was but were not able to reach anyone on Saturday morning. They gave us another number to call on Monday and we will try to do that. Elio, bless his heart, told us he will help us if he can. Bob hates to impose on people and doesn’t want Elio to think we are a big pain in the butt, always needing his help. Truth is, we probably will need it, especially if the people in Perugia only speak Italian and we are not able to understand what they tell us. But we’ll try.

Once we receive this Certificato di Residenza, we will have to apply for a renewal of our Permessi di Soggiorno and of course I am panicked about what happens if they refuse us for some reason (like we move too much!). We have been told that you receive a permit for a year but that the renewal is for two years, after that I think 5 and so on. But this is from people who have purchased homes and established themselves in one place. I am a bit anxious about how this process is going to go and worried that they will turn us down and we will have to leave. This would be a bad thing, with my family coming here to visit at the end of April. We have promised Andrea, our “German daughter” that we will come to her wedding in July. We have rented an apartment in Verona for the summer complete with a 500-euro deposit. My sister and the girls want to come and visit us there in July. We plan to visit friends, like Helena in Switzerland, this summer. Friends from Phoenix are coming to Italy and we were hoping to get together with all of them. I know I am getting completely ahead of myself and that everything will probably work out fine. But for the moment I am biting my fingernails and losing sleep.

It’s 6am now and the revelers down below are finally going home. The aftermath doesn’t look as bad as I had expected. The sun is coming up and the sky is pinkish purple, the sea silver blue below. Little streaks of indigo clouds are visible. It’s quiet now as the last of the cars drives away. Birds are chirping and a slight breeze is stirring the palm fronds. The streetlights are still on but the peace and tranquility has returned at last. I wonder if they will be able to sleep when they get home?

Still writing,

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