Moving across the world takes a lot of planning and lists. The first thing on my list is to secure an Italian Elective Residence Visa that will allow me to stay in Italy for longer than 3 months. When I arrive in Cortona, I must then scurry down to the local Questura (Police Department ) with this Elective Residence Visa and obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno ( Declaration of Stay ) This will be my formal legal document telling everyone I am allowed to be there.
So off I go to the Italian Embassy in Los Angeles to obtain this first Visa, which is no easy feat at 9 in the morning in rush hour traffic from Orange County. My GPS took me to the other side of LA before I noticed I had entered the wrong address. Running late, I enter the Visa Office in a frenzy and notice 5 women already waiting. I catch a few remnants of their conversations. One has been here 3 times, the other just has questions. The woman sitting next to me has a plastic file box with all her documents neatly organized. I am feeling unprepared. The Visa Officer is sitting behind a thick glass window and reviewing the first applicant's documents. She is told she does not have a letter stating why she wants to live in Italy.
I don't have that either. I quickly turn my shopping list upside down and start writing out my reasons for wanting to move to Italy. This is what I wrote.
' I would like to move to Italy to learn your beautiful language, eat large amounts of pasta and drink your wonderful wine. I love your country and look forward to living there.'
I am just being honest here. I can't work, I can't vote, I can't run for office. What the hell do you think I am going to do there ?
I am soon callled up and pass my papers through the slit in the glass. She asks where my list is.
What list ?
She says I don't have all the documents on the list. She didn't even look at them. I told her they are all there ( didn't know she needed the list too )
She took my papers and said they'd call me, there was probably things missing. But wait, can't we just wrap this up today ? I don't want to come back to LA.
Feeling discouraged...I left. I realized that dealing with Italian bureacracy is going to take a lot of patience and wine.
On my way home, I start thinking maybe I should have responded differently for my reasons for moving to Italy. Maybe they want to see that I will contribute to society and do something more worthwhile than just eating and drinking lots of wine. Perhaps, I should have said I plan on volunteering at a womens shelter or planting more olive trees on my property. Or if they were looking for a more creative answer, I should have turned it into a poem, or at the very least, a haiku.
I envision a group of Italians sitting around discussing all the Visa applicants and their reasons for moving to Italy. One applicant has farming skills, another has a construction background and then they get to mine. I eat well.
Maybe I can get a do-over.
I receive an email from Alison, my realtor in Cortona, telling me I have a mole problem at my home . What the hell are moles ?
After doing some research I discover they are similar to a gopher. I was wondering what those little dirt mounds were in the recent pictures she had sent. I assumed they were doing some lawn sprinkler work on my property. It's going to be difficult to set up my bocci court over those bumps.
So now I have my own version of Caddyshack going on in Cortona. I ask Alison if her husband, Mario could go over with his gun and shoot those suckers up. She recommends ultra sound. Now that seems a little too tame and civilized for this situation. Why don't we ask them politely to leave ?
I'm not sure how big these Italian moles are and hope they don't cause a concern for my little Stella or think she's lunch.
I had a nightmare last night that they were in my home with me. This is clearly effecting me and I haven't even gotten there yet.
Ultrasound emitting hi-frequency rap music to ward off the moles.