Sunday, May 14, 2006

Renewed Permesso di Soggiorno 5.14.06

Today is Mother's Day. I am celebrating Mother's Day by resting here with my foot on ice. Not a traditional way to celebrate Mother's Day you say? No, not traditional. Essential at the moment because on Friday, as I excitedly walked away from the Comune offices in Ragusa with my brand new identity card, I twisted my ankle. At first I thought I had broken something but x-rays at the Emergency Room showed no sign of a break maybe a tear but probably just a sprain. They recommended I stay off of it for a few days, apply ice and elevate it. So that's what I'm doing. A bit frustrating though because we only have a few short weeks before we are scheduled to leave Sicily and there were still a few things we wanted to do. Oh well. We'll just have to see how it goes. In the meantime, here I sit, on ice. Thankfully, this did not happen while my family was here (actually they had taken a flight to Rome that very morning!) so it did not interfere with their time here. Which, by the way, was wonderful! We enjoyed having them here so very much and I'll write about that in a separate posting.

But, back to the Permesso. We had an appointment to return to the Questura on 4 May to pick it up. When we arrived, there was a short line of people waiting to receive documents. It was not the madhouse Perugia had been and we just waited our turn. The office here in Ragusa is smaller than in Perugia and it didn't take long for us to get to the front of the line. We were aware, however, that many people were being turned away, their papers not ready yet so it didn't surprise us to be told that we had to return next week to pick up ours. Which also meant that I couldn't request a new identity card until then either. Apparently, Bob's is good until 2011. We thought since our Identity cards had our old Perugia address that we would need to get new ones but that was not the case. As it turned out however, and we didn't realize it, my birthdate was incorrect on both the original Permesso and the identity card! My birthday is the 25th of May and it was written as the 26th. The efficient woman at the Comune office insisted that we correct it on the Permesso before she would issue a new identity card.

On the afternoon of May 11, we returned to the Questura and took our place in line. This time the line was out the door and we waited about an hour to reach the sportello (the window). As it was a nice day, we really didn't mind the wait, except for the people who thought they didn't have to wait in line and tried to just go right up to the front or the two guys who somehow managed to end up in front of us. We were pleased when the man behind the window insisted people get in line and not just walk up to the window expecting to be helped.

When our turn came, our documents were ready. We signed our names and off we went! Permission granted to stay another year!! Yeah!! For all our worrying, it went smoothly and we are all set to begin the next part of our adventure. We never dreamed it would take so long for all of this to happen. But we are grateful to Elio and Giovanna and their friend Romolo who helped get everything going.

The next day we went to the Comune office to request a new identity card with the correct birthdate on it. In Perugia the cards we received were the latest technology, more like a credit card and everyone we know was surprised to see it and didn't really recognize it as a "Carta d'Identita." The woman behind the counter remembered me and took my Permesso, with the new (corrected) birthdate, my passport, a fee of 10.80 euros and the passport photos and asked me to return within the hour to pick it up. After a celebratory cappuccino we walked back to the office and Bob stopped to take photos while I went into the office to pick it up. It's so lovely! This looks so much more like the cards the locals have, it makes me feel more Italian!! Seriously, it's a little folded ivory-colored card and the design seems more like a passport-type document. I bought one of those little plastic sleeves everyone has to protect it and limped back to our car.

So now we are all up to date with our Permissions and Identity cards. Elio wants Bob to apply for an Italian driver's license. We had been told that you have to take a big test (all in Italian) and so he was worried about that. His language skills are good, but not that good! Elio thinks all you have to do is have it changed to an Italian one but we aren't really sure. Bob found out that in Verona, you can take a test online in English at their Drivers' License offices. So I guess that's what he wants to do.

In the meantime, there are only 17 more days for us in Sicily. We are very sad to leave here but know also that once summer gets in full swing it will be very hot and very crowded here and that is not something we would enjoy. So the time is right for us to go and we have so much to look forward to in Verona and the Veneto, we are getting excited about what this next part of our adventure holds.

Happy Mother's Day!
Rosemary e Robert

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